where the reading got it wrong (imho)

I admit I do not know a lot about Islamic fundamentalism and Al-Quaida to say I am truly knowledgable but what I do know is that Khatib in her chapter “Communicating Islamic Fundamentalism” is wrong in putting Hamas and Al-Quaida in one category. She writes, “Al-Quaida is a network of movements operating worldwide … While the movements agree in opposing Israel, for example, not all of them engage in anti-Israeli missions (such missions seem to be conducted mainly by by the Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Palestine)” (Khatib in International Communication: A Reader, Thussu D. (Ed.) pg. 283). She implies that Hamas is a movement under the umbrella of Al-Quaida yet both share opposing roots and goals. In the case of Hamas the fight is concentrated on a national goal which is the independence of Palestine.

Just to be clear, I do not sympathize with either movement and am not making a political statement. But to put all movements in one box because they carry the label of fundamentalism with them is imho wrong. [This is also not to say that there is no Al-Quaida movement in the areas controlled by Hamas. I do not know if there is or not.]

Franzi

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2 thoughts on “where the reading got it wrong (imho)

  1. Franzi, this is an interesting post and you bring up an interesting perspective. To say that Hamas is a wing of a terrorist organization doesn’t give credit to the legitimacy of Hamas. Hamas was independently elected in a democratic process and to say that they are a terrorist wing of Al-Qaeda brings the democratic electoral process into question. Although both Israel and the United states government has officially condemned Hamas as a terrorist organization, by labeling them as terrorists and having a stringent policy of not negotiating with terrorists, it brings to question whether the US or Israel really wants to find a peaceful solution to the the territorial conflict. With that being said I do not condone violence and the recent attacks by Hamas and their blatant gratitude of Iran for providing arms and finances to their cause places the intentions of Hamas into question and plays into the hands of the Israeli and US labeling of them as a terrorist organization. This is a very complicated issue and I am glad you decided to tackle it and understand the breadth and complexity of it.

    • Thanks Alex. I was wondering if I should bring it up or not (I am German and “defending” an anti-israel position is a difficult topic in itself) but like you said, the legitimacy of Hamas was questioned by this label and I feel that in her article Hamas really did not fit in.
      You raise an interesting point though about wanting a peace process to succeed when at the same time labeling one side of the table as terrorist. If the US as a mediator steps in shouldn’t it do so on neutral grounds? By applying this label, the US uses its power in framing the issue and both opponents so that for the ordinary citizens the “two corners of the box ring” are already clearly labeled as “inherently bad” and “these must be the good guys then”. In the case of scholarly research I find it dangerous to just copy this vision of a group without questioning how the label “al-quaeda” came about for a group that upon further investigation does not have ties to that network at all.

      Franzi at intlsmalltalk

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