March 2, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10512

Gaza Conference Attended By Senior Hamas Officials Glorifies 'Abdullah 'Azzam, Mentor Of Al-Qaeda Founder Osama Bin Laden, Urges Teaching His Ideology And Writings

March 2, 2023
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 10512

On November 24, 2022, the Palestinian Clerics Association, which is identified with Hamas, held a conference in Gaza to mark the 33rd anniversary of the death of Palestinian terrorist 'Abdullah 'Azzam. A member of the Muslim Brotherhood, 'Azzam started his military career in Jordan in the late 1960s as the commander of armed groups that carried out terror against Israel. Subsequently he became a major ideologue of global jihad and the mentor of Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.

The opening session of the conference was attended by Hamas officials, among them Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, a member of Hamas' political bureau. In addition, Hamas political bureau chief Ismai'l Haniya addressed the conference in a recorded speech that was aired on Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV and was shown at the conference. In his speech Haniya glorified 'Abdullah 'Azzam, describing him as "a knight of jihad and resistance against the enemies of Allah," whom Allah had honored with martyrdom, the "the greatest goal that a man seeks." Haniya also noted that, in its early days, the Hamas military wing, the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, was known as the 'Abdullah 'Azzam Brigades.[1] 'Abdullah 'Azzam's son Huthaifa, who resides in Jordan, also addressed the conference, praising his father's commitment to jihad.[2]

At the conclusion of the conference the participants released a closing statement which recognizes Azzam's great influence on the founding of Hamas. The statement stresses his love of jihad fighting and quotes him as saying, "Jihad is the path of shari'a [i.e. the path prescribed by Islamic law], which the Islamic nation must adopt and adhere to in order to liberate the lands that were stolen by the enemies and especially [the lands of] Palestine." The statement also includes a list of recommendations for commemorating 'Azzam, instilling his ideology in the younger generation and teaching his writings.

This is not the first time that senior Hamas officials and others identified with Hamas have praised senior members of Al-Qaeda. [3]

The conference in memory of 'Abdullah 'Azzam (image:, November 24, 2022)

This report reviews the conference in memory of 'Abdullah 'Azzam held by the Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Clerics Association.

Hamas Political Bureau Chief Isma'il Haniya: 'Abdullah 'Azzam Was "The Knight Of Jihad"

As mentioned, Hamas political bureau head Isma'il Haniya addressed the conference, glorifying 'Azzam and calling him "a knight of jihad and resistance against the enemies of Allah" whom Allah had honored with martyrdom, the "the greatest goal that a man seeks."

He said: "The name of the martyr Dr. 'Abdallah 'Azzam speaks for itself – he was determined ['azzam in Arabic]. His name speaks for itself through his history and his shining path. He was very merciful, may Allah have mercy on his soul. He was a man of da'wa. He had devotion. He was a knight of Jihad and resistance against the enemies of Allah…

"Secondly, he was a symbol of Jihad. He wasn't only an Islamic jurisprudent, scholar, intellectual, and educator, with all of the virtues associated with these great titles. In addition to all these things, he was also a mujahid. He would bear arms, and he fought for the sake of Allah. Even when he was beleaguered, when the borders were closed, and when he and the men of the Islamic nation and of Palestine were prevented from fighting their Zionist enemy on the land of Palestine – he exerted himself to be on [a different] Jihadi battlefield for the Islamic nation…

"Thirdly, Allah honored the imam Dr. 'Abdallah 'Azzam by granting him martyrdom, which is the greatest goal that a man seeks. He always said: 'If I have to die, let it be for the sake of Allah'…

"We always shout: 'Death for the sake of Allah is our loftiest aspiration!' Just like life for the sake of Allah is our loftiest aspiration, death for the sake of Allah is also our loftiest aspiration…"

To embed:

Quotes from Haniyeh's speech on a Twitter account identified with Hamas (image:, November 25, 2022)

The Palestinian Clerics Union: Future Generations Should Be Educated According To The Teachings Of 'Abdullah 'Azzam

The statement published at the conclusion of the conference praises 'Azzam and jihad, saying that "the character of the martyr Dr. 'Abdullah 'Azzam was shaped by Islamic da'wa [preaching] and by the jihadi reality which he experienced in Palestine, Jordan and Afghanistan… In his writings and statements about jihad, Dr. 'Abdullah 'Azzam clarified that jihad is the path of shari'a, which the Islamic nation must adopt and adhere to in order to liberate the lands that were stolen by the enemies and especially [the land of] Palestine." The statement says further that 'Azzam "combined the school, the mosque and the battlefield, the rifle and the pen," and that his participation in jihad "influenced the other religious scholars and preachers… and was a shining example of a religious scholar [who is also] a jihad-fighting preacher…

"Dr. 'Abdullah 'Azzam," the statement adds, "was one of the figures who inspired the Palestinian Islamic movement to launch an armed struggle in the 1987 Intifada of the Stones, by means of his philosophy, his books, and his students who were influenced by him." It continues, "Sheikh 'Abdullah 'Azzam agreed with the martyr Sayyid Qutb[4]… who stressed that one of the sources of human happiness is following the path of Allah, and also agreed with [Hamas' founder,] the martyred sheikh Ahmad Yassin, [about the need] to focus on the education of the [younger] generation of Muslims, which is an axis of [the Muslims'] common struggle against the enemies."

Asserting that "the commandment to wage jihad infused every organ in [the body of] the martyr Dr. 'Abdullah 'Azzam,"  the statement says that "he could not continue to sit idly by and watch the Muslims' holy places being desecrated, their land being conquered and their honor being violated." It stresses that 'Azzam "did not abandon the jihad in Palestine… When he was prevented from [waging] jihad [there], he wanted to wage it in the land of Afghanistan, so as to maintain his involvement in jihad and prepare for waging it in Palestine when the opportunity would arise, and in order to take advantage of the jihad in Afghanistan to train jihad fighters for Palestine."

The statement maintains that 'Azzam "had the great privilege of preparing young Muslims for jihad on the ideological, religious and military levels," and that, "thanks to his words and his honest deeds, many young Muslims hastened to the various arenas of jihad." It adds that 'Azzam "was known for his love of jihad… and Allah granted him martyrdom in the land of jihad, as he was attacking the enemy and not fleeing."

The statement concludes with a list of recommendations for ways to commemorate 'Azzam and to instill his values of jihad in the coming generations. It recommends to:

"1. Establish educational institutions concerned with disseminating the religious heritage of the Islamic scholars;

"2. Collect, print and disseminate all the writings of the martyr Dr. 'Abdullah 'Azzam, so that they constitute inspirational educational material to shape [the character] of the coming generations;

"3. Direct students in institutions of higher education, especially in occupied Palestine, to study the books of sheikh 'Abdullah 'Azzam and write research papers and theses that will serve as teaching materials for educating the younger generation…

"5. Create a documentary film on the life of Dr. 'Abdullah 'Azzam;

"6. Create documentary programs about martyrs from the Muslim Brotherhood, especially those who had significant influence on the [various] phases of da'wa, jihad and education;

"7. Enrich the library of the Palestinian Clerics Association with online materials about Islamic scholars who combined knowledge and philosophy with jihad;…

"9. Grant the martyred sheikh 'Abdullah 'Azzam the title of imam, in recognition of his superior knowledge, unflinching determination, extreme steadfastness, lofty attributes, exalted character and his beneficial activity in the spheres of knowledge, da'wa and jihad…

"10. The conference recommends that the relevant bodies [in the Hamas government] in Gaza name one of the main streets after the martyred sheikh 'Abdullah 'Azzam, may Allah have mercy on him, so that he remain in the memory of the [coming] generations as a paragon of knowledge, da'wa, jihad, sacrifice, giving, devoutness, loyalty to principles, abdication from the pleasures of this world and devotion to Paradise and its pleasures, and as the most exalted example of a Muslim who lived for Allah and died for Allah."[5]

Participants at the conference to commemorate 'Abdullah 'Azzam (images:;, November 24, 2022)


[1], November 24, 2022.

[2] Huthaifa 'Azzam's speech was posted on his Twitter account (, November 24, 2022).

[3] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7461, On Anniversary Of Bin Laden's Death, Telegram Channel Named For Hamas Military Wing Al-Qassam Brigades Posts Messages In His Memory, May 8, 2018.

Following Bin Laden's death, Haniya, then prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, said that, despite the disagreement between Hamas and Al-Qaeda, "We [in Hamas] obviously condemn the assassination or the murder of the Muslim Arab jihad fighter [Osama bin Laden]…" See MEMRI TV clip No. 2910, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya Condemns the Killing of the "Muslim Mujahid" Osama Bin Laden, May 3, 2011. 

[4] Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966) was one of the leading ideologues of the Muslim Brotherhood and was executed in Egypt for involvement in a plan to assassinate president Gamal 'Abdel Nasser.

[5], November 24, 2022.

Share this Report: