February 19, 2004 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 163

Dr. 'Azzam Al-Tamimi: A Political-Ideological Brief

February 19, 2004 | By A. Pashut*
Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 163

Dr. 'Azzam Al-Tamimi was born in Hebron in 1955, and his family immigrated to Kuwait in 1965. He studied in London and completed a Ph.D. in Political Theory from Westminster University in London in 1998. From 1980-1985, Al-Tamimi worked as a media monitor and news analyst at the U.S. government's Foreign Broadcast Information Service. Al-Tamimi directed the Parliamentary Office of the Islamic Movement in Jordan from 1990-1991.

Between 1992-1999 Al-Tamimi headed the Liberty for the Muslim World Institute in London, and was also a researcher for The Center for the Study of Democracy at Westminster University. Since 1999, Dr. Al-Tamimi has headed The Institute of Islamic Political Thought in London. Al-Tamimi has been a senior lecturer at Markfield Institute of Higher Education since 2000, and is an executive member of the Muslims Association of Britain. Dr. Al-Tamimi has published several books and articles on Islamic political thought.

Al-Tamimi is frequently invited to lecture by Muslim communities in South Africa, the U.S., andBritain, where he resides. In April 2003, Al-Tamimi lectured in Sweden on Islamic issues at a conference organized by Sweden's Young Muslims, and in November 2003 Al-Tamimi delivered a lecture called "Understanding Islam" to diplomats in Stockholm at the Stockholm Mosque.

I t should be mentioned that the board of advisors of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought includes Dr. Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi, [1] who in July 2003 spoke in favor of suicide terror attacks in the Stockholm Mosque at the 11th Convention of the European Council for Fatwa and Research. [2]

Al-Tamimi told the Guardian Unlimited (December 2003) that he "was a friend of Mr. [Khaled] Meshal, the chief political officer of Hamas... There is a personal relationship with some of them," he added, "because of that I am sometimes asked to advise them.

"I have been asked, 'What do you think of how we present ourselves to the world?' I can be of use both to Hamas and people in the West who know nothing of what Hamas is about."

Al-Tamimi describes himself as a "sympathiser and supporter" of Hamas. "I know some of the senior figures in Hamas," he said. "Some were my friends, my classmates..." [3]

Palestinian political scientist Muhammad Muslih, however, defines Al-Tamimi in a study on Hamas's foreign policy as "a Hamas member." [4]

The following report reviews Al-Tamimi's views on contemporary Middle Eastern and Islamic issues.

On Jihad and Suicide/Martyrdom Operations

In an article titled 'A Stroll in Hell ' published in early 1997, Al-Tamimi called upon the Arabs to open "the locked gates of Jihad:"

"... Don't they [the Arabs] understand that no might is more powerful than the might of Allah... ? Open the locked gates of Jihad to those who want to act for the sake of Allah, and unite the bridle of those who yearn for the gardens of eternity [i.e. Paradise]... Then they will see that the Jews who came from the corners of the earth dreaming of the promised paradise will go back to where they came from..." [5]

In an article titled 'Hizbullah's Gift to Palestine' published in mid-2000, Al-Tamimi explained the religious roots of suicide/martyrdom operations:

"A person that chooses, and comes forward willingly, to die by exploding himself in the face of his oppressors is neither desperate nor hopeless. Almost in every case... the Israelis are dealing with individuals who are most hopeful. They are aspiring to what they alone seem to have known with certainty to be the truth. To them, the eventual destiny of their short trip to Tel Aviv, Netanya, or other Zionist-infested Palestinian towns is eternal life in a world of divine bliss..." [6]

In an Internet chat forum in early 2003, Al-Tamimi expanded on the roots of suicide/martyrdom operations:

"... For us Muslims, martyrdom is not the end of things, but the beginning of the most wonderful of things. In the next life one is in an everlasting bliss, while in this life those after him continue to receive inspiration from him... The blood of martyrs provides nourishment and sustenance for those who continue the struggle. The cause will always be stronger when more sacrifices are offered. This is what the Israelis do not understand and will probably never understand...

"Every martyr that the Palestinians offer is a gain and not a loss, for he or she is alive and their blood provides constant inspiration for many generations to come. Eventually, it is the Israelis who will lose, for they did not come from Europe and other places around the world to die in Palestine. They came to live, and what sort of a life are they living…? Allah tells us in the Qur'an very clearly that if we suffer, they suffer too, but the difference is that we have something to hope for from our Lord and they have not..." [7]

Asked his opinion regarding Islamic scholars, especially from Saudi Arabia, who say that Palestinians are not allowed to blow themselves up because it is suicide, Al-Tamimi replied:

"This is their opinion, which happens to contradict the opinions of all the other scholars around the Muslim world. If we assume that their intentions are good, their understanding of what these operations are about is definitely skewed. Some people suspected that their fatwas [sic] are tailored to suit the political circumstances of the country in which they live. Allah knows best." [8]

In his article 'Hizbullah's Gift to Palestine'in mid-2000, Al-Tamimi draws upon the early Islamic ethos of martyrdom and refers to its religious roots, explaining why the Palestinians will be victorious like Hizbullah, Hamas, and the Islamic Jihad. He refers to the early Islamic traditions regarding the Battle of Al-Qadisiya (637), in which the Muslim commander Khaled Ibn Al-Walid faced the vastly greater Persian army commanded by Persian leader Kisra (Khusro). Khaled Ibn Al-Walid sent the Persian commander a letter on behalf of his leader, the First Caliph Abu Bakr telling him, "I have come to you with a people who love death as much as you love life." This message is one of the main tenets of the Islamist terrorist organizations, and is used frequently on various fronts of Jihad. [9]

"Like the Lebanese, the Palestinians were prepared to continue the struggle despite the clear imbalance of power. Like Hizbullah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad had the ability to recruit fighters whose love for death in the cause of regaining their people's rights exceeded the Israelis' love for a life of security, safety and comfort..." [10]

In an article titled 'Palestinian Islamist Azzam Al-Tamimi Defines Hamas, PLO Differences and Calls for Dialogue With Both' published in late 1998, Al-Tamimi explained that suicide/martyrdom operations are the cheapest weapon the Palestinians can use:

"As far as the military effort is concerned, it does not require much funding. What do you need, really? What sort of weapons does Hamas use? It's the human being. The courage of one man. It is the most valuable of resources. As for some of the operations, the suicidal operations, they require volunteers but the cost in money is near zero. The bomb-making technique is available to everybody. It's on the Internet and the material is available in any corner shop that sells fertilizers. Therefore there's no big deal, really. If you want to do something, you do it. Israel has no defense against Hamas..." [11]

In an article titled 'The Nature and Rationale of Hamas' published in mid-2000. Al-Tamimi explained that Hamas perceives its struggle as an 'act of worship' to be rewarded by Allah: "Islam is Hamas' ideological frame of reference... Such an outlook renders struggle a religious duty, not a nationalist or patriotic one. In other words, defending the land and honor of the Muslims is an act of worship for which God rewards a struggler in the form of victory in this life and eternity in Gardens of Eden in the life after death..." [12]

In an interview titled 'David versus Goliath' on Al-Jazeera television in October 2003, Al-Tamimi described the Hamas tactic of using human bombs:

"Don't forget, in the long-term the outcome of this conflict isn't about how many Palestinians die, it is about how many Israelis die. The Israelis can't fight or match the willingness of the Palestinian people to sacrifice their lives." [13]

On September 11 and the Taliban Regime

In an interview with the Spanish daily La Vanguardia titled 'I Admire the Taliban, They Are Courageous' in late 2001, Al-Tamimi claimed that the September 11 attacks brought joy to the Arab world. He begins by assuring the interviewer that "everyone" in the Arab world cheered upon seeing the Twin Towers fall. "Excuse me," says the interviewer, "did you understand my question?" Al-Tamimi: "In the Arab and Muslim countries, everyone jumped for joy. That's what you asked me, isn't it?" [14]

In an article titled "America's 'Crusade,'" published in late 2001, Al-Tamimi said that U.S. foreign policy was responsible to some extent for the September 11 attacks:

"The United States of America and some of its allies in Europe are not liked in many parts of the Muslim world because of their foreign policies and what is seen as their imperialist attitude... It is undeniable that the calamity that struck the United States on September 11 may have been a source of joy for some Muslims whose hatred for America prevents them from recognizing the savagery and inhumanity of this attack.

"U.S. policy makers may not be oblivious to this fact. They probably know, only too well, that if Muslims were actually responsible for the catastrophe, it is U.S. foreign policy that breeds and provokes such elements that are willing to go as far as killing themselves to inflict pain and humiliation on the United States. The leader of world democracy and protector of international law and human rights is seen by many Muslims in the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa as supporting dictatorships and military junta that resist political reform..." [15]

On Democracy and Human Rights in The U.S. and Iran

In an article titled 'The Seculars and Despotism' published in late 1997, Al-Tamimi alleges that Iran and Sudan have the greatest civil liberties in the Arab world:

"Even if the regimes in Iran and Sudan have failed until now to observe the aspirations of many among the Muslims in presenting an accepted model for the Islamic regime, they still hold a much higher level of liberties, which surpasses those which are allowed in societies that are ruled by the desiccation regimes such as Tunis and Algiers.

"For instance, the women in these two countries [i.e. Iran and Sudan] enjoy liberties that the Tunisian woman does not enjoy, for the [Tunisian woman might] be arrested and brought to trial under the accusation of covering her head in public places, not to mention her deprivation of education and work if she only reveals signs of piety or if she is affiliated to a family that is known to have Islamic activists.

"Freedom in Tunis and other countries that are ruled by the democracy advocates is allowed only to those who display loyalty towards the regime even though this regime is imposed upon the people with iron and fire, and whoever propounds something... that is contradicted to the regime's positions... his fate is removal, expulsion, imprisonment or assassination... The Iranian regime has... advanced in great strides in its transition towards democracy … even though such a transition is not simple in a country that most of its inhabitants embrace [a religious] school [of faith], which is not prone... to openness and condescension of political authorities to the people... [This regime] is more inclined towards the transition into democracy and displays a greater measure of respect for the people's will than those secular elites that do not care of anything besides the peel-like imitation of the West..." [16]

In an article titled 'The U.S. – A New Member in the Club of the Backward [Peoples]' published in early 1997, Al-Tamimi claims that the U.S. has become backward in its approach to human rights:

"The U.S. has become a country very backward in human rights and in ensuring civil liberties... The U.S. boasts, with unprecedented impudence, that it is a pioneer of human rights and fertile ground for the growth of democracy, as it strikes with a sword [of democracy and human rights] at anyone it wants to educate, such as Libya, Iraq, Sudan, and Iran." [17]

On the War on Iraq

While participating in a panel discussion on Al-Jazeera television in early 2002, Al-Tamimi identified 'clear signs' that Bush will "drown" as Pharaoh "drowned:"

To the question: "Could we infer from this analysis [of the situation in Afghanistan] that it is the beginning of the end of a superpower like the U.S....?" Al-Tamimi replied:

"There is an American blackout on whatever happens in Afghanistan. I think that had not the U.S. been in such a plight it would not have prepared its apparatus to invade Iraq... Concerning the end and the beginning of the end – there are many clear signs. From the religious perspective I can tell that whoever claims to be Lord of all the Lords of the universe is about to [drown] the same way Pharaoh drowned in the sea. Pharaoh said: 'I am your Lord' and drowned and now George Bush says: 'I am your Lord' and he is going to drown and drown his country with him..." [18]

On Non-Muslims' Status Under Islamic Rule

In an article titled 'Wishful Thinking' published in late 1997, Al-Tamimi explains Hamas' doctrine on the status of non-Muslims under Islamic rule:

"The Muslims' stand in relation to the Jews does not differ from their [the Muslims'] stand in relation to the Christians... They deserve their rights and [have] their duties, if they want to live under the Muslims' protection." [19]

In an article titled 'Jews and Muslims in the Post-Israel Era' published in mid-1999, Al-Tamimi says that under Muslim rule, Jews will live in accordance with Qur'anic precepts:

"But, what about the Jews? How will they be perceived by the Arabs and the Muslims? How are they going to be treated? How will the Qur'anic text referring to them be interpreted? Will they, after all, have a place in our region and in our culture, or are we going to annul their right to the Covenant guaranteed to them by God and His Messenger?

"Preparation for the post-Israel era should now begin. This would have to include a revision and elimination of false concepts that make no distinction between Jews and Zionists. The first is a bearer of Jewish faith and if not involved in aggression against the Muslims is entitled to the right of Covenant. The second is a bearer of a settler colonial enterprise, an aggressor that should be resisted and deterred." [20]

In an article titled 'Reflection in Memory of the 50th Anniversary of the Ravishing of Palestine' published in early 1998, Al-Tamimi suggested that Germany or the U.S. should grant the Jews a state within their own territories:

"If the Westerners as a whole – and the Germans in particular – are immersed in feelings of guilt because of what they have perpetrated against the Jews, isn't it a just thing that they will act together to expiate for their sins by granting the Jews a national homeland in central Europe, for instance, within one of the German states? Or, why will not the U.S., the Zionist father through adoption, grant [the Jews] one out of its more than fifty states..?" [21]

On the Middle East Peace Process

In a late 1998 interview with The Washington Reporttitled 'Palestinian Islamist Azzam Al-Tamimi Defines Hamas-PLO Differences and Calls for Dialogue With Both,' Al-Tamimi defined armed resistance as the norm and the Oslo peace agreement as the aberration:

"Until now, Hamas has not felt the time has come to wage a full-scale war against Israel. It will take place when the Muslims and Arabs join forces... We have the right to resist... The same justification for resistance had - prior to the emergence of Hamas in December 1987 - been endorsed by the Arab League, the Islamic Conference Organization, the Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations. Armed resistance is not an aberration from the norm. The Oslo agreement between the PLO and Israel is the aberration. Hamas … is a constant reminder to the Palestinian people that the Zionist project is doomed." [22]

In his 1997 article titled 'Wishful Thinking' Al-Tamimi claimed that peace negotiations with Israel should focus on dismantling it, and said that otherwise, the flag of Jihad will keep flying:

"The same way in past days the Muslims have distinguished between the Arab Christians who were living in the [Middle East] region... and those who came from the West carrying with them the Cross [i.e. the Crusaders]... so they distinguish between the Jews who used to live in the Muslim countries, and still do, and the Zionist invaders who came from the West carrying with them the Hexagon as their flag to carry out a new colonial scheme...

"This thing distinguishes the Islamic plan of treating with the Zionist entity: It is totally unacceptable to coexist with this entity and to acknowledge its legitimate right to exist. If it is inescapable, and negotiations with [the Zionist entity] must take place, then the negotiations with its authorities [should focus on] the measures to dismantle and eliminate [this Zionist entity].

"Either they [i.e. the Israelis] accept the disappearance of their project in a peaceful way... or the flag of the Jihad in sake of Allah will remain fluttering on high until Allah permits the change of the balance of power in favor of the Muslims and then the Zionist entity will disappear the same way the Crusader entity was eliminated before..." [23]

In his article 'Hizbullah's Gift to Palestine' published in mid-2000, Al-Tamimi described the Oslo agreements as backstabbing for the Palestinian struggle:

"... Unlike the case of Lebanon, the Palestinian struggle was stabbed in the back and betrayed from within. Israel was presented with a golden opportunity by the ailing, corrupt, and bankrupt PLO leadership. As a result of the 1993 Oslo agreement between the PLO and Israel, the task of securing Israel against Palestinian reprisals has been undertaken by the forty thousand or so policemen and security agents recruited by the Israeli-sponsored Palestinian Authority (PA). The PA deserves credit, and has indeed been credited by the Israelis, for doing an excellent job hunting down resistance members of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad, murdering them, incarcerating them, or handing them over to Israel. It is also credited for opening the doors wide open before Israel to establish relations with other Arab countries and with so many nations around the world...

"The PA has turned to be nothing but a new Israeli agency of collaborators little different from the disintegrating South Lebanese Lahd's army of collaborators... In the fate of Lahd's army, Arafat and some of his lieutenants may have seen the end of their unholy enterprise..." [24]

In his article 'Booming Insanity' published in mid-2001, Al-Tamimi claimed that the Palestinians see the light at the end of the tunnel through sacrifice, not peace:

"It is definitely true that the majority of the Palestinians, irrespective of their factional affiliation, are fed up with the peace process. They can now see light in the tunnel not through peace-making but through the sacrifices of the intifada." [25]

In an article titled 'Winning the Battle of Arguments' published in late 2002, Al-Tamimi defined the two-state solution and one-state solution as equally inadvisable:

"It does not help the Palestinians or their cause to propose a final solution. What really matters is to convince the world of the sinister nature of Zionism and of the right of the Palestinians to resist. How it will all end depends on the generation that will witness the end and on the circumstances in which the end is reached. The recent "Justice for Palestine" conference in Johannesburg showed beyond doubt that an increasing number of politicians and journalists have come to the conclusion that Zionism, by its very nature, is unviable in the long term.

"Some of those who professed such an opinion had, for a long time, been supporters of a two-state solution. They now affirm that they had been deluded but have now been disillusioned about the true nature of Israel, a Zionist, racist, and fascist State. It is equally inadvisable to speak of a one-state solution, even a Palestinian state solution. What the discourse should focus on is that occupation must end and that Zionism is evil and should, just as apartheid was, be dismantled..." [26]

In an interview with The Jakarta Post titled 'Palestine's Suffering and the Misery of Yasser Arafat,' published in mid-2001, Al-Tamimi claimed that Israel's withdrawal to the 1967 borders will quell the conflict only temporarily:

"In the short term, only full Israeli withdrawal from all the areas occupied in 1967 and total evacuation of all Jewish settlements built in this area, may bring some peace – for a while – to the region. However, in the long term, Israel has no future, and the Jews who support Israel and Zionism, and especially those who have chosen to migrate to Palestine to occupy the lands and homes of the Palestinians, should reconsider their positions. Eventually, Palestine will return to the Muslims as it did after more than a century of occupation by the Crusaders about 10 centuries ago."

When during the interview Al-Tamimi was asked about other Muslim communities' contribution to the Palestinian struggle, he replied:

"The Zionist project is an imperialist project directed against Islam and the Muslims in the first place. Palestine is holy to all Muslims and does not belong to the Palestinians nor to the Arabs. Therefore, Muslims around the world have a religious duty to stand up to aggression and oppression and to do all they can to liberate this dear Muslim land. Until it is possible for Muslims to participate directly in the Jihad of liberation, they can pray for their brothers and sisters in Palestine so that Allah may provide them with courage and steadfastness and the willingness to sacrifice more and more." [27]

In his article titled 'The Dream (Nightmare) of Zionism in Palestine,' published in late 2003, Al-Tamimi stated his belief that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be solved through territorial compromise:

"Uninformed individuals may be tempted to believe that the problem in the Middle East... is the result of a religious conflict between Muslims and Jews. Those influenced by... the media will also be under the illusion that this problem is of a territorial nature and can best be resolved by the two conflicting parties agreeing to share everything and anything: land, water, peace and security. Both assumptions are wrong..." [28]

In his article titled 'The Nature and Rationale of Hamas' published in mid-2000, Al-Tamimi claimed that the suggestion that Hamas' armed struggle undermines the peace process is erroneous:

"The Oslo agreement between the PLO and Israel represents an aberration, or deviation, from what hitherto had been a unified Palestinian position vis-à-vis the Israeli occupation of Palestine... Hamas exercised armed struggle long before the Madrid Conference and the Oslo Agreement. Therefore, it would be erroneous to suggest that the continuation of such resistance be aimed at undermining or derailing the peace process..." [29]

In the same article, Al-Tamimi said the Hamas will continue to communicate with Israel through weapons until the entire land of Palestine is liberated:

"[According to] the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas)... founder and leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin … the prospect of the movement initiating, or accepting, dialogue with Israel is non-existent at present... In Sheikh Yassin's own words: There can be no dialogue between a party that is strong and oppressive and another that is weak and oppressed. There can be no dialogue except after the elimination of oppression. We will continue to communicate with Israel using the same weapon it has been using against us, the rifle... We shall continue to communicate with it using the same method until the entire land of Palestine, and not only a part of it, is liberated..." [30]

In his article titled 'No Peace, More Blood' published in late 2003, Al-Tamimi glorifies Fatah's military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades:

"Mahmoud Abbas [Abu Mazen] did not take long to realize the impossibility of his mission: in as much as Arafat was 'un-marginable' [i.e. 'unmarginalizable'] – Hamas was 'un-dismantlable,' so the Road Map was bound to fail...

"... Palestine is part of the Arab and Islamic land that fell to colonial control following the liquidation of the Ottoman caliphate, and Israel is a colonial military outpost that sought to solve Europe's own Jewish problem and perpetuate colonial authority in the heart of the Muslim homeland. The Palestinians who are victims of the game of the powerful have every legitimate right to struggle through all legitimate means available to them in order to regain their freedom and homeland.

"In this sense, the frame of reference of Hamas is no different from what the Vietnamese freedom fighters, the African National Congress strugglers against apartheid, or the French resistance against the Nazi occupation of France would have taken to be their frame of reference.

"However, for quite some time, Hamas could not express its frame of reference in a language that the world could identify with. Its own charter, which had long been forgotten by its own members and leaders, continues to be quoted by its detractors within Zionist circles to associate it with antisemitism, a charge that is a contradiction in terms since most Palestinians are Arabs and therefore confirmed Semites." [31]

In an article titled 'Nine Hundred Years and Two Crusades' published in late 1999, Al-Tamimi predicts that the Zionist enterprise will last 88 years, just like the Crusader invasion:

"On the morning of Friday, 23 Sha'ban 492 H (July 15, 1099 C.E.), Jerusalem was raped by an estimated 1 million Crusaders who came all the way from Europe to allegedly liberate local Christians from Islamic oppression. Jerusalem was consequently turned into a blood pool. Between 60,000 and 70,000 Muslims and Jews were butchered. This was the ultimate conquest of a trail of blood that extended for thousands of miles. Nine hundred years later, Jerusalem finds itself once again in bondage. The invading crusade this time does not hoist the cross but rather the Star of David. The similarities are striking.

"Both campaigns originated in Europe, both used religion to justify aggression and butchery, and both were in essence motivated by purely mundane (secular) rather than religious considerations. In both cases, too, it was the weakness and disunity of the Muslims that contributed to the success of the invaders...

"In some ways, the 12th century awakening resembles today's Islamic awakening. In some other ways, the liberation of Jerusalem after 88 years of European occupation promises an imminent end to modern-day Zionist occupation of the first Qiblah [direction of prayer – i.e. Jerusalem]. In less than 40 years from now, this vision may just prove to be true." [32]

In his article 'Wishful Thinking' published in late 1997, Al-Tamimi claimed that coexistence with the Zionist entity is totally unacceptable:

"Ever since Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, the founder of Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas – was released [from the Israeli prison] there are statements that are published on his behalf that say that he has accepted the Oslo Agreements...

In his 1998 Washington Report interview, Al-Tamimi defined Hamas as the most democratic movement in the Arab World:

"[Hamas] is more democratic than any of the secular movements in the Arab world. Our leadership is elected. The executive bodies - those who lead the movement and are in charge of the various institutions – are all chosen democratically... "

During a speech at an October 2000 conference of solidarity with the Intifada, held in Vienna, Tamimi "attacked the European solution to the Jewish problem and the [encouragement] of Jewish immigration to Palestine." Tamimi mused: "Why shouldn't they give the Jews half of Austria or part of Germany, or perhaps cast them into one of the far-flung corners of the U.S.?" He also stated, "There is no other way than for the Jews to leave our land."

In response to an article in the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonotthat stated, "We [the Israelis] are defending our existence with all our might, and behind us is only the sea..." Tamimi told the conference: "Yes, behind them is only the sea, and either they get on boats to return from whence they came, or they will drown in the sea. This is Israel's bitter end..." [33]

On Islamic Shari'a Law and Disciplining Wives

In a report on a Cambridge University panel discussion titled 'Is Islam a Threat to the West?' Al-Tamimi described how Muslim women ask their husbands to beat them:

"On Thursday, January 23, 2003 the Cambridge Union (Cambridge University, England) was packed with several hundred students for a controversial event entitled 'Is Islam a Threat to the West?'... Things got more interesting when the issue of Shari'ah law came up... Even Dr. Al-Tamimi spoke of the need to adapt and contextualise. Those in the audience who had studied Islam wondered if this kind of smokescreen would distract the audience from seeing the real issues — but then the most amazing thing happened.

"A member of the audience asked a question concerning the rights of women under Islam. Under Shari'ah, of course, they are treated as inferiors – morally, physically, spiritually and legally. She connected this issue with Surah 4:34 which speaks of the right of husbands to beat their wives, and asked the panel to discuss the implications of this... Dr. Al-Tamimi gave the most incredible answer, an answer that swung the whole mood of the house... Engaging in an impromptu exegesis of 4:34, Dr. Al-Tamimi firstly said that beating was the last in a series of three steps that husbands could use to 'discipline' errant wives (a ripple of concern swept the audience at this point), so to concentrate on beating alone was to miss that. But Dr. Al-Tamimi also said that he was regularly surprised why this verse was such a concern to Westerners since he knew of many Arab women who regularly asked their husbands to beat them…!" [34]

* Adam Pashut is a Research Fellow at MEMRI.

[1] Institute of Islamic Political Thought,

[2] See Al-Qaradhawi Speaks In Favor of Suicide Operations at an Islamic Conference in Sweden, July 24, 2003, 'Al-Qaradhawi Speaks In Favor of Suicide Operations at an Islamic Conference in Sweden.'

[3] The Guardian (London), December 21, 2002. Jeevan Vasagar, 'Palestinian Radical was Guest of U.S. Ambassador.'

[4] Council on Foreign Relations, Muhammad Muslih, 'The Foreign Policy of the Hamas,'

'A Weblog of Asides, Commentary, and Analysis from Martin Kramer,'

[5] Institute of Islamic Political Thought, February 1997, Dr. 'Azzam Al-Tamimi, 'A Stroll in Hell.'

[6] Palestine Times, June 2000, Dr. 'Azzam Al-Tamimi, 'Hizbullah's Gift to Palestine.'

[7] Islam Online, March 11, 2003, 'The Future of Intifada: Did Military Action Have Positive/Negative Impact on the Palestinian Cause?'

[8] Ibid.

[9] For example, the Chechen commander reiterated it when his group took over the theater in Moscow in 2002.

[10] Palestine Times, June 2000, Dr. 'Azzam Al-Tamimi, 'Hizbullah's Gift to Palestine.'

[11] Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 1998, Grace Halsell, 'Palestinian Islamist Azzam Al-Tamimi Defines Hamas, PLO Differences and Calls for Dialogue With Both,' pp. 23-24.

[12] Dawn (Pakistan), April 30, 2000, Dr. 'Azzam Al-Tamimi, 'The Nature and Rationale of Hamas.'

[13] Al-Jazeera (Qatar), October 2, 2003, 'David versus Goliath.'

[14] La Vanguardia (Spain), November 11, 2001, 'I Admire the Taliban, They Are Courageous'.

[15] Palestine Times, October, 2001, Dr. 'Azzam Al-Tamimi, 'America's Crusade.'

[16] Institute of Islamic Political Thought, October 1997, Dr. 'Azzam Al-Tamimi, 'The Seculars and Despotism.'

[17] Institute of Islamic Political Thought, February 1997, Dr. 'Azzam Al-Tamimi, 'The United States – a New Member in the Club of the Backward [Peoples].'

[18] Al-Jazeera Television, February 22, 2002, '[Osama] bin Laden's Last Message.'

[19] Institute of Islamic Political Thought, October 1997, Dr. 'Azzam Al-Tamimi, 'Wishful Thinking.'

[20] Palestine Times, July 1999, Dr. 'Azzam Al-Tamimi, 'Jews and Muslims in the Post-Israel Era.'

[21] Institute of Islamic Political Thought, March 1998, Dr. 'Azzam Al-Tamimi, 'Reflection in Memory of the 50th Anniversary of the Ravishing of Palestine.'

[22] Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 1998, Grace Halsell, 'Palestinian Islamist Azzam Al-Tamimi Defines Hamas, PLO Differences and Calls for Dialogue With Both,' pp. 23-24.

[23] Institute of Islamic Political Thought, October 1997, Dr. 'Azzam Al-Tamimi, 'Wishful Thinking.'

[24] Palestine Times, June 2000, Dr. 'Azzam Al-Tamimi, 'Hizbullah's Gift to Palestine.'

[25] Palestine Times, July 2001, Dr. 'Azzam Al-Tamimi, 'Booming Insanity.'

[26] Palestine Times, October 2002, Dr. 'Azzam Al-Tamimi, 'Winning the Battle of Arguments.'

[27] Jakarta Post (Indonesia), June 7, 2001, 'Palestine's Suffering and the Misery of Yasser Arafat.'

[28] The Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka), November 30, 2003, Dr. Azzam Al-Tamimi, 'The Dream (Nightmare) of Zionism in Palestine.'

[29] Dawn (Pakistan), April 30, 2000, Dr. 'Azzam Al-Tamimi, 'The Nature and Rationale of Hamas.'

[30] Ibid.

[31] The New Nation (Bangladesh), November 29, 2003, Dr. Azzam Al-Tamimi, 'No Peace, More Blood.'

[32] Palestine Times, August 1999, Dr. 'Azzam Al-Tamimi, 'Nine Hundred Years and Two Crusades.'

[33] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), October 30, 2000.

[34] Andy Bannister, 'Is Islam a threat to the West?'

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