The conflict in Gaza escalates by the minute as Hamas continues to fire rockets from within civilian populations, triggering Israel to respond with aggressive military action targeting the terrorist group as well as its rockets and tunnels. The loss of civilian life is a tragedy, undoubtedly scarring families and communities. But who is responsible for perpetuating the bloodshed?
As supporters of individual liberty and self-determination, we at AIFD stand in support of all legitimate movements for freedom, modernity, and human rights. As such, we absolutely support those Palestinians who resist violence and seek to live in peace with Israel. Indeed, these individuals themselves are also targets of Hamas, a group with no regard for human life and which seeks the complete destruction of Israel. Its charter calls for the genocide of Jews, while its behavior endangers the Palestinian civilian populations within which they hide like the cowards they are. Muslims who reject their Islamism and war mongering are also victims of their wrath. As of Sunday afternoon, July 20, nearly 2,000 rockets had been fired from Gaza. While Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) compete in their efforts to destroy the state of Israel, they endanger civilians by hiding weapons in homes, schools, mosques and ambulances.
Hamas, the offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood, is no “freedom fighter” whether in times of war or relative peace. When Hamas isn’t firing rockets and digging tunnels to target Israelis and ignite wars, it is restricting the rights of women through prohibitions on gender-mixing, harassment of female journalists and citizens who appear in public without a headscarf, inaction and even participation in proceedings wherein women are killed for “honor” and their murderers go unpunished; and more. Religious minorities and dissidents have been targeted, churches torched and many innocents killed as Hamas tries to enforce its Taliban-style interpretation of Islamic law on a desperate and disempowered population. And now, Hamas stokes its base by endangering civilians – particularly women and children – and churning out propaganda to gain sympathizers.
Ultimately, Hamas has no chance at survival if does not make itself out to be a victim – and it does so by starting wars and sacrificing innocent lives.
Even if the current conflict were to calm down soon, Hamas will remain a terroristic regime, tormenting the very civilians they claim to be protecting from Israel. Sadly, too many in the West fail to recognize this aspect of the conflict, and support Hamas and its sympathizers rather than agents of real peace.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which regularly and loudly proclaims itself to represent the voices and interests of American Muslims (despite polls revealing this is not even remotely true), was founded and continues to be led by individuals who have expressed support for Hamas. Despite their insistence that they protect the civil rights of American Muslims, their regular abuses of reformists and their toxic connections should raise concerns for all who wish to see peace not just in the Middle East, but between faith traditions.
Until all people – American Muslims, the broader Muslim community and our non-Muslim allies and friends – recognize that Hamas is a cancer to all people, there will never be peace.