Muslim Fatwa against Hamas by Iraq’s Islamic Council


The history of Hamas’ repression is extensive.

Iraq’s Islamic Fatwa Council has issued a verdict last week against Hamas, by calling it as a terrorist organization that is oppressing Palestinians in Gaza, and urged them to make peace with Israel.

According to the Islamic Fatwa Council, a non-governmental clerical organization with its headquarters in Najaf—Iraq, Hamas is responsible for kidnapping, extortion, using children as troops, and falsely charging Palestinians of treason. Muslims are forbidden from “pray[ing], supporting, funding, or fighting on behalf of Hamas”, according to the fatwa.

An animated series of videos released in January detailing harsh living conditions in Gaza under Hamas rule — produced by the U.S.-based Center for Peace Communications and titled “Whispered in Gaza” — spurred the religious ruling.

Grand Ayatollah Shaikh Fadhil al-Budairi is the head of the Islamic Fatwa Council, a court with expertise in Islamic law that represents both Sunnis and Shiites. The council lists “reclaiming the Islamic legal system from extremists, Islamists, and supporters of terrorism” as one of its primary mission goals. The fatwa is the first issued by a recognized Islamic legal organization against Hamas.

“Since taking over the Gaza Strip in a ruthless manner, Hamas has trained child soldiers, imprisoned activists who dared to criticize its corrupt leadership, and stolen humanitarian money to finance its military operations. The fatwa is good news because it shows that more Muslims in the area are acknowledging that Hamas’ extremism and repression are major factors in the Palestinian struggle with Israel.

Muhammed Ali al-Maqdisi, the council’s spokesperson, said that according to the wisdom of our faith, we should oppose the oppressor and support the oppressed. “For this reason, a fatwa was delivered against Hamas”.

Al-Maqdisi noted the uproar following the release of “Whispered in Gaza”, and he continued, “Almost everyone who follows Palestinian politics saw these tapes in which many Gazans, men, women, and children, detailed what they had been subjected to by Hamas’ corruption. They gave public testimony on the many sorts of extortion and intimidation they had experienced”.

The history of Hamas’ repression is extensive. The U.S. State Department notes in a report on human rights practice in Gaza in 2021 that there have been “credible reports of unlawful or arbitrary killings by Hamas personnel, torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by Hamas personnel, unjust detention, political prisoners or detainees, serious problems with the independence of the judiciary, arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, serious restrictions on freedom of expression”.

In one well-known instance, on November 1, 2021, Hamas detained peace campaigner Rami Aman for speaking with Israelis on a Zoom call. Iyad al-Bozom, a Hamas spokesman, described the terrorist group’s criticism of Aman for “conducting a normalisation activity” as a crime.

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