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memri
July 26, 2011 No.
717

Hamas's Gaza – Four Years Later Chapter 5: Islamization in Gaza

By: C. Jacob*

Chapter 5: Islamization in Gaza

Introduction

One of the outcomes of the 2007 Hamas coup has been increased Islamization in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has turned a blind eye to the activity of extremist Islamist groups, and in many cases has taken steps of its own to impose an Islamic lifestyle upon the populace. Hamas's actions and statements reflect its desire to impose a religious way of life in Gaza. However, Hamas is aware that its ability to instate shari'a law and establish an Islamic emirate is limited, since this is likely to meet with strong opposition from both Palestinian society and the international community. Therefore, Hamas has introduced Islamization measures gradually, pulling back whenever public reaction has been too severe. Most of the steps towards Islamization were taken in 2007-2009, but the tendency persisted, to some degree, in 2010 and in the beginning of 2011.

Adoption of Islamic Penal Code

In 2008, Hamas's parliament in Gaza approved at second reading a bill to adopt an Islamic penal code, which included such punishments as flogging, chopping off hands, and hanging.[1]

Hamas also took steps towards the Islamization of the PA's penal code. The deputy-speaker of the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council, Ahmad Bahr of Hamas, said that the council had made amendments to several articles of law that contravened shari'a, e.g. regarding drugs. "The Legislative Council is working to gradually implement Islamic shari'a, he said."[2]

Establishment of Islamic Public Prosecution

In 2007, Hamas's Executive Force announced the establishment of a shari'a-based prosecution committee to replace the Gaza Public Prosecution.[3] Former PA minister Hassan Asfour said in response that Hamas's first official step toward establishing an Islamic emirate in Gaza was "taking over municipalities and announcing the instatement of an Islamic shari'a[-based] prosecution to replace the official judicial system. The administration of [Hamas's] emirate used its executive branch to establish a [new Islamic] judiciary. This has no precedent in any [other] regime in the world."[4]

Establishment of Islamic Institutions

Hamas's program of Islamization was also manifest in the establishment of Islamic institutions. In April 2009, an Islamic bank was opened in Gaza,[5] and in July 2010, Hamas's Ministry of Religious Endowments announced plans to build an Islamic hospital in the center of Gaza City.[6]

The "Yes to Modesty" Campaign

Perhaps the most prominent manifestation of Islamization in Gaza has been the ongoing attempt to enforce an Islamic dress code and what is perceived as modest, or "traditional," conduct among women and girls, as well as attempts to segregate men and women in public places. On June 12, 2009, the mosque imams of the Hamas Endowments Ministry announced the launch of the "Yes to Modesty" campaign. Deputy Endowments Minister Dr. 'Abdallah Abu Jarbu' explained that the campaign was a response to an increase in "immoral phenomena" in Gaza.[7] The director of the Da'wa and Guidance Administration, Sheikh Yousuf Farahat, explained that the "Yes to Modesty" campaign would be an information campaign in which fliers, stickers and audio tapes with religious messages would be distributed. He called on Gazans to "avoid licentiousness and activities contrary to shari'a, and to avoid the free mixing of males and females in wedding halls, at parties and on school trips." He also warned against Internet cafes where customers could access pornographic sites and chew aphrodisiac substances, and called on Gazans to avoid immoral behavior and immodest dress in public places and beaches.[8]

The Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar described the experiences of Gazan journalist Asma Al-Ghoul, winner of the Dubai Award for Arab Journalism, who had been harassed by Hamas policemen: "The officers seized her passport and made a series of absurd allegations against her, accusing her, for example, of 'laughing too loudly while bathing with her girlfriend in the sea' and 'failing to dress in compliance with shari'a.' They also asked why she was not chaperoned by a family member, implying that this too was a violation... Asma rejected their accusations and pointed out that, in deference to Gazan norms, she had not worn a bathing suit but a shirt and trousers, and added that she did not need a chaperone to attend a public beach. Asma and her friend May avoided arrest only thanks to the intervention of Hamas official [Taher] Al-Nounou. However, May's three brothers – 'Abd Al-'Aziz, Na'im and Adham – were detained for three hours, interrogated and beaten at the [Gaza] Beach police station."[9]

Gaza beach (Source: muslm.net)

Citing Gaza residents, Asma related that Gaza has a religious police force, apparently charged with enforcing the "Yes to Modesty" campaign, which patrols markets and women's clothing shops: "They encourage shop owners not to display female mannequins or women's lingerie in their windows. Some of the young [policemen] carry out the orders themselves: they place black sacks over the heads of the mannequins, and tear pictures of 'naked' models off packages of women's lingerie."[10]

The editor of the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Hafez Al-Barghouti, wrote a sarcastic article about Asma's experiences with the Hamas police: "Asma was accused of laughing and treating herself [to some fun] – one of the 1,007 sins in Hamas's lexicon [of offenses] punishable under the War Commanders' Laws. Laughing is forbidden; only frowning is allowed. Nobody may laugh in Gaza except [senior officials] and the emirs of the tunnels. A woman's laughter is an abomination. A woman is forbidden to laugh, because that is an act of rebellion against the [male] curmudgeons. Why, her voice may expose the location of the mujahideen's hideouts and the missile caches! Laughing can only be done in secret, preferably inside a tunnel, far from the eyes and ears of the populace...

"Even while laughing [a woman's] voice must be restrained, muffled, so that nobody will hear it but her husband – for her duty is not to go frolicking on the beach but rather to guard her honor and stay at home along with [her husband's three other] wives, because having four wives is one of the hallmarks of a [true] mujahid. They go from woman to woman just like they go from one breach in the enemy's border to another."[11]

The modesty campaigns continued in 2010. Police spokesman Ayman Al-Butaniji said that regulations were being formulated for women's clothing stores: their front doors must always remain open (to prevent customers from being secluded with the proprietor), there may be no secluded areas within them and the use of cameras within the stores is forbidden.[12]

Islamization in Schools

The Islamization of Gaza was also reflected in the schools, manifest in the enforcement of an Islamic dress code and also in the segregation of the sexes, including a directive that banned male teachers from working at girls' schools. Hamas director of education Mahmoud Abu Hasira declared: "Our society is Islamic, and Islam instructs us to separate boys from girls from the age of seven, especially in the schools."[13] A Christian schoolgirl named Samar (17) said, in response to the ban on male teachers: "This is a decision that harms the female pupils rather than helping them. There is no religious text that prohibits male teachers from [working] in a girls' school."[14]

The Hamas Education Ministry informally instructed school principals to enforce Islamic dress in girls' schools. A senior staff member in one the schools confirmed: "The Islamic dress code is mandatory for all schoolgirls, and must be obeyed... The principal of the high school [where I work] announced during the morning assembly that any girl who arrived at school not wearing a long dark green gown and a head scarf would be sent away..."

Hamas Education Minister Muhammad 'Asqoul denied that schoolgirls were required to wear a hijab. He explained that "the Palestinians are committed [to Islamic customs] by nature, so there is no need to impose [them] by decree," and called the uproar over this issue "a storm in a teacup." However, at the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year, posters signed by the school administration were put up at the entrance to a girls' high school in western Gaza informing the pupils of the mandatory school dress code: a long gown of dark blue, a white head scarf, and shoes of black or white.[15]

Some girls refused to comply with the Islamic dress code. Souha, a student at the Ahmad Shawqi High School in Gaza, said: "The Hamas government cannot implement shari'a in Gaza by imposing the Islamic dress [on us]. Coercion is not in line with girls' way of thinking, especially at this age [i.e. the teenage years]." Another student, Nour Alawan (15) protested: "We will accept anything but a [long] gown, since this erases all signs of childhood and presents us as grown women." Yet another student, Su'ad Abu Radhi (16), said: "This decision does not serve our [interests]. It undermines our personal freedom and affects us emotionally. I am considering dropping out of school."[16]

The international organization Human Rights Watch reported, citing Gazan residents, that at the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year, girls who had refused to wear a gown or traditional Islamic garb had been expelled, in accordance with new unofficial directives that the Hamas government had conveyed to the schools.[17] Nadia Khalifa of the organization said: "A [pupil] must not be obligated to wear particular religious garb, including the hijab, in order to receive an education. The new directives are arbitrary."[18] Zainab Ghneimi, executive manager of the Center for Research and Legal Consultations, told Human Rights Watch that a principal at one school had slapped a student in front of her friends for not wearing a hijab.[19]

Akram 'Atallah, a resident of the Deheishe refugee camp in the West Bank, also criticized the mandatory dress code in Gaza schools: "The Hamas government in Gaza could have [openly] announced its decision to impose the dress [code] it wants – a dark gown for female high school students – without hiding behind the schools and teachers... so as not to leave any fingerprints in the affair... The dark gown that the high school administrations and teachers are [demanding], [and] which most of the women in Gaza wear, is not the national dress, but [a custom] imported from other cultures and very close to [traditional] Saudi dress. And as for its color, it is more similar to the Iranian chador than to [traditional] Palestinian dress."[20]

The campaign to impose the Islamic dress code included "a project for distributing Islamic scarves and shari'a-sanctioned gowns to girls from needy [families]," launched at a ceremony attended by Hamas Political Bureau member Khalil Al-Hayya. Islamic Jihad also launched a campaign to promote modest dress, in which the Bayt Filastin Association handed out 200 gowns to women and girls at the Fathi Al-Shqaqi Mosque in Al-Nuseirat.[21]

Attempt to Impose Islamic Dress on Women Lawyers

The Islamization of Gaza was further reflected in a July 9, 2009 decision by Hamas's High Judicial Council, which is subordinate to Hamas's Ministry of Justice, requiring women lawyers to dress in compliance with shari'a when appearing in court.[22]

'Abd Al-Raouf Al-Halabi, chairman of the High Judicial Council, denied that there had been any intention of coercing the women lawyers: "We want [people] to respect the court. We have the right to choose the [dress code as] we see fit. 95% of the women lawyers in the Gaza Strip wear a hijab and dress [in accordance with] shari'a in any case. There was no intention of imposing [a certain] ideology on them."[23]

The council's decision sparked fierce criticism against Hamas. 'Issa Abu Sharar, president of the PA's High Judicial Council, called the decision "unlawful," and added: "The so-called 'head of the High Judicial Council' on behalf of Hamas's deposed government cannot obligate the women lawyers to wear a gown or a head scarf, but only to wear the garb of a lawyer. [Any other requirement] stands opposed to individual freedoms." The chairman of the PA Bar Association, 'Ali Muhanna, said: "The decision was made by an illegitimate [body]... [since] only the Bar Association is authorized to deal with matters concerning lawyers." Muhanna called on the Bar Association's general assembly to reject any such decision made by unauthorized bodies.[24]

A statement issued by a group of Palestinian public figures, published in a PA daily, likewise criticized Hamas's violations of individual rights, including the imposing of Islamic dress on women lawyers and schoolgirls, and the banning of male teachers at girls' schools. The statement said: "These are measures that suppress public freedoms, threaten individual freedoms and infringe upon cultural, political and religious pluralism... Hamas has turned a blind eye to the destruction of Internet cafés and the torching of educational facilities, and [perhaps even] supported [these acts]. It used all these [measures], as well as the intellectual terrorism of accusing others of apostasy, in order to impose [its] single-party rule... In oppressing women, who make up half of society, it is imposing the rule of a Salafi emirate cut off from humane civilizations."[25]

Raed Lafi, the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar's correspondent in Gaza, wrote: "The imposition of Islamic dress on women lawyers is the first measure openly taken by the Hamas government toward turning the Gaza Strip into an Islamic emirate... Is Hamas bent upon the Islamization of Gaza? [This] question is repeatedly asked by residents of Gaza, who witness continuous acts [of Islamization] by the [Hamas] administration, which is following the lead of the Islamic movement."[26]

Following the harsh criticism, and apparently also due to the legal sector's strong and influential status, Hamas was ultimately compelled to repeal its decision requiring women lawyers to dress in accordance with the shari'a.[27]

Gender Segregation in Public Places

Hamas also took steps to prevent men and women from mixing in public places. In March 2010, Hamas's police force, on orders from Hamas Interior and National Security Minister Fathi Hammad, banned men from working as shampooers in women's hair salons.[28] 'Adel 'Abd Al-Rahman, a columnist for the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, wrote in response: "Has the Hamas leadership promise [these men] alternative employment, in light of the stifling blockade? On what basis has one of the occupations been abolished? Will this put an end to gender mixing? If so, why not designate special markets for women and others for men, and [do] the same with schools, hospitals, streets and taxicabs? Hamas has once more proved its obtuseness in social, moral, legal and occupational [matters], and is striving to ruin the lives of the Gaza residents even further. The coup leaders are not concerned with the interests of the people or with their employment. All that interests them are abominable fatwas that are hostile to Islam, to the Muslims and to members of all faiths."[29]

A year later, in September 2011, the Hamas authorities ordered all owners of women's hair salons in Gaza to report to the police stations. One such owner, Nael Ris, said that when he arrived at the police headquarters, he was told that he was forbidden from entering his own salon and from working in his profession of 30 years.[30]

Other public facilities and places of entertainment also came under pressure. In May 2010, the Hamas police arrested the owner of a Gaza cafeteria and interrogated him using violent means for alleged moral infractions. At another cafeteria, a security officer harassed a couple, making rude and provocative remarks to them and ordering them to present their IDs in order to prove they were married.[31] In August 2010, Hamas shut down a resort for three days for holding mixed parties, and warned the owners that if they did not mend their ways, the resort would be closed for good.[32] The Orient House café was likewise shut down for three days for failing to comply with police directives regarding dancing and mixed parties. This incident and others were condemned by the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights, which accused Hamas's security apparatus of violating public freedoms and impeding the operation of tourist facilities.[33] Hamas, for its part, welcomed the spread of gender segregation. In October 2010, its newsletter, Al-Risala, reported on the growing trend of providing separate areas for men and women in places of business, clubs, swimming pools, gyms, offices and even taxis, adding that this trend greatly pleased the women of Gaza.[34]

As part of its attempts to enforce modest or "traditional" behavior, Hamas's Interior Ministry issued a decree banning women from smoking hookahs in restaurants and hotels. Gaza police spokesman Ayman Al-Butaniji explained: "The decision only applies to women in public places. The smoking of hookahs by women goes against customs and tradition."[35] The owner of a Gaza hotel related that the police had closed down his restaurant for three days for serving a hookah to a woman, and had accused him of "harming tradition and Islamic values." The police spokesman said that the restaurant in question had been shut down for other infractions, and not because of the hookah incident.[36] The Hamas police also banned women from riding on motorcycles with a man, "in order to preserve tradition and the customs of Palestinian society."[37]

Neither were artists spared persecution as part of the Islamization campaign. Singer Rami 'Ukasha said that some of his friends, also performing artists, had been summoned to the Interior Ministry in Gaza, and required to sign statements that they would abide by the norms of morality in their performances.[38] A member of the Hamas parliament in Gaza, Younis Al-Astal, explained Hamas's stance on music bands, saying: "Hosting bands that go wild in the name of art, culture, or even resistance, as is [sometimes] claimed, is a great betrayal of Allah, His faith and the residents of Palestine."[39]

Artists were even subjected to threats and attacks. Gazan bandleader Jamal Al-Bayouk reported that his band had received death threats while performing at a wedding. "Gunmen burst into the [wedding] party, set fire to band equipment worth $40,000 and fired shots at the band members' feet," he said, adding that the band had consequently stopped giving performances.[40] Samer Moussa, a human rights activist, confirmed that singers who performed at weddings and other parties had been harassed and attacked by anonymous groups.

Hamas has also attempted to extend its Islamization efforts to the West Bank. Hamas's Ministry of Women's Affairs in Gaza condemned a beauty contest held in the West Bank and called on the PA to cancel it, threatening to prosecute "anyone who had a hand in harming the good name of the Palestinian people."[41] Younis Al-Astal accused the PA of violating the morals of the Palestinian people by planning to hold a fashion show in the West Bank featuring Italian models.[42]

Dr. Khaled Al-Hroub, a Palestinian researcher at Cambridge University, explained the reasons behind Hamas's Islamization measures: "There are two [possible] explanations for the Taliban-like steps Hamas has taken in the social sphere. The first is the erosion within Hamas of the moderate thinking characteristic of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been replaced by radical Salafist thinking...

"The second [explanation] makes reference to several issues: the conditions of siege and confrontation to which the movement was subjected following its victory in the elections; the ongoing hiatus in 'resistance' after the barbaric Israeli war; the emergence of corruption among some of its senior officials; and the favoritism that accompanies any rise to power. All these led to increased criticism towards Hamas from the smaller and more extremist groups [in Gaza], as well as from [extremists] within [the movement itself], who accused it of straying from 'Islamic practice by failing to establish the regime of Allah on earth.' [Hamas] responded by intensifying the Islamization of society, in order to prove that it is more Islamist [than its critics] and more committed to its [Islamist] slogans."[43]

Promoting Religious Culture and Discourse

Hamas has also been promoting cultural activity with a religious emphasis. A month after its takeover of Gaza, Hamas formed a religious choir under the auspices of its Interior Ministry. During Ramadan, the choir gave evening concerts of Islamic songs to Executive Force officers and to prisoners held by Hamas. A choir member said: "We choose songs that inspire the youth and strengthen [their] resolve, and songs that remind them of Allah and the Islamic faith."[44]

Palestinian journalist Muhammad Al-As'ad described the graduation ceremony of a Koran memorization course, held September 1, 2007, at the Al-Rahman Mosque in Gaza: "I was surprised by the garb of the graduates and some of those who gave speeches... The graduates' headdresses were of the sort worn by Muslims in Afghanistan or East Asia."[45]

There were even attempts to encourage Koran and religious studies by offering benefits to criminals. The administration of the Gaza Central Prison announced that it would take a year off the sentence of any prisoner who memorized five passages of Koran.[46] There were astonishing tales of Gazan traffic officers who offered to cancel traffic tickets if the offender promised to beg Allah's forgiveness 1,000 times.[47]

Hamas-affiliated preachers and journalists criticized the UNRWA summer camps attended by thousands of Gazan youths every year, and Hamas members characterized them as "a scheme aimed at corrupting the youth and preparing it for normalization [of relations] with the occupation." Hamas organized its own summer camps, whose programs included religious education along with fitness training and recreational activities. [48]

Following the 2007 coup, Islam Shahwan, spokesman of Hamas's Executive Force, declared that his forces were armed with the weapon of faith, whereas Fatah had nothing but money and cigarettes. Twenty Executive Force members stood outside the office of Hamas leader Isma'il Haniya, pointing their rifles in the air and chanting, "Allah is our goal, jihad is our path, the Koran is our book, and self-sacrifice is our greatest aspiration."[49]

Palestinian researcher Dr. Khaled Al-Hroub wrote: "Hamas is using religious discourse, takfir [i.e. accusing other Muslims of apostasy] and fatwas in order to justify murder and vengeance. [As a result,] the Palestinian struggle has entered a new cycle, similar to the insane violence raging in Iraq. Thus, fatwas become a path to cold-blooded murder without pangs of conscience."[50]

Persecution of Christians

Islamization in Gaza was also reflected in persecution and violence against Christians. One of the worst incidents was the October 2007 abduction and murder of Rami 'Ayyad, a Gazan Christian who worked as an accountant for the Christian organization Al-Kitab Al-Muqaddas. One of his relatives reported that before his death a group of people had demanded that he convert to Islam, but he had refused.[51] 'Ayyad's mother recounted that a man had approached him and asked him, "Do you intend to convert to Islam?," to which he had replied, "[Only] if you convert to Christianity." The man had responded by telling 'Ayyad that he knew how to make him become a Muslim.[52]

Other attacks on Christians included the following. In May 2007, armed assailants broke into the Baptist Al-Nour School in Gaza, shooting and wounding guards and damaging property.[53] That same month, anonymous persons set fire to a library run by the Gaza YMCA, severely damaging the building and destroying a large number of books.[54] Hamas accused the Salafi-jihadi group Jaysh Al-Islam of carrying out the attack, and the arrest of several Jaysh Al-Islam members led to clashes between the two organizations.[55]

A 2007 article in the daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida stated that "since the Hamas takeover of Gaza, Christian [Gazans] – who number 3,000, most of them Greek Orthodox – are worried. They claim that their real fear is not of Hamas, but of small extremist groups..."[56]

Duality in Hamas's Stance

There is a duality in Hamas' stance on Islamization. On the one hand, it is taking steps towards Islamization, but on the other, it is holding back. Moreover, it harshly opposed the attempt by the Salafi group Jund Ansar Allah to establish an Islamic emirate in Gaza.

Former Hamas Foreign Minister Mahmoud Al-Zahhar told the German newspaper Der Spiegel: "We want to establish an Islamic state in Gaza, but at present we are unable [to do so] because the Palestinians have no state, and as long as there is no state, we will try to establish [only] an Islamic society."[57] Another member of the Hamas administration in Gaza, Yousuf Farahat, stated: "As a Muslim, I yearn for the establishment of an Islamic state, which [would] mean security and calm, but at present we are not speaking of a state. We live under occupation, [with our] government besieged from land, air and sea, and it is inconceivable to talk of an Islamic state in such circumstances."[58] In contrast, Al-Zahhar said in late 2007 that "Jerusalem will be the capital of the Islamic caliphate in Palestine."[59] Dr. Yahya Moussa, deputy head of the Hamas faction in the Palestinian Legislative Council, likewise said that Hamas did intend to instate an Islamic emirate.[60]

Researchers and columnists attempted to explain the apparent contradiction in Hamas's stance on the issue of the Islamic state. Political analyst Naji Shurab wrote: "The Hamas government's long-term goal is to Islamize Gaza, [and] the steps [it is taking] are aimed at giving the [Gaza] Strip an Islamic hue... [However,] Hamas is aware of the difficulty of carrying this out."[61]

Dr. 'Adnan Abu 'Amer, a researcher of Islamic movements, explained: "Hamas learned a lesson from what happened to the Taliban, and does not want to arouse widespread opposition [by declaring an Islamic emirate in Gaza]. Hamas is a political movement that is aware of the political reality."[62] Dr. Iyad Al-Barghouti, another researcher in the same field, wrote: "Regarding the question of establishing an Islamic state, Hamas's clerics and shari'a teachers are at odds with [its] politicians, for whom pragmatic considerations take precedence... In the present circumstances, Hamas will not declare an Islamic state... Such a declaration would be insane, [for] it would enable [Israel] to tighten its siege and would deepen the inter-Palestinian schism. [Hamas's] leaders are not foolish [enough] to make such a declaration right now. That said, they are working to appease the clerics and teachers of shari'a by obligating [women and girls] to wear the hijab and by [taking] other steps towards Islamization."[63]

Muhammad 'Arfa, a columnist for the Lebanese daily Al-Nahar, wrote: "It would seem that Hamas... knows well that declaring a direct [move] of Islamizing society or instating the shari'a would enrage Egypt, Israel and the West, and would provide Netanyahu with a weapon for obtaining international backing for additional strikes on Gaza."[64]

The PA Response to the Islamization of Gaza

As expected, the PA censured Hamas's Islamization campaign in Gaza. In an interview with Voice of Palestine Radio, Fatah spokesman Ahmad 'Abd Al-Rahman said: "As [Hamas official Mahmoud] Al-Zahhar has said, Hamas wants to turn back [Palestinian] society hundreds of years, and to impose upon it what Hamas thinks is Islam."[65]

Muhammad Horani, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and of Fatah's Revolutionary Council, said: "Whether one calls Gaza an 'Islamic emirate' or 'Hamastan,' [clearly] harm is being done to social values that have been [cherished by] the Palestinians for hundreds of years, and Hamas is working to eradicate them... There is a new totalitarian culture [in Gaza], which, if it could, would put an end to dialogue in all of Palestine. That is the nature of any fundamentalist power anywhere in the world."[66]

'Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, an advisor to President 'Abbas and a columnist for Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, wrote: "The conduct of the heads of the bloody coup in Gaza, and the political, security and social measures they have taken in their daily management [of the Gaza Strip], reflect a readymade plan for instating an Islamic emirate there. This was confirmed by a commander of the Executive Forces, who said: 'You do not know Hamas. We started the coup, and we will stick to it until a caliphate is established."[67]

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida editor Hafez Al-Barghouti wrote: "Youths who have not yet grown a beard have started issuing severely [flawed] religious rulings... They permit murder, accuse [other Muslims] of apostasy, and sanction deceit. These are grave matters, and these jurisprudents will be punished on Judgment Day. They will not be granted the [same] mercy [they are now being shown] by their parties and sheikhs, who downplay [the severity] of [these youths'] recklessness toward the faith."[68]

Endnotes:

[1] Al-Hayat (London), December 24, 2008.

[2] Felesteen.ps, February 12, 2011.

[3] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), July 22, 2007.

[4] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), July 24, 2007.

[5] Al-Hayat (London), April 22, 2009.

[6] Maannews.net, July 29, 2010.

[7] Palestine-info.info, June 13, 2009.

[8] Palestine-info.info, June 13, 2009.

[9] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), July 27, 2010.

[10] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), July 27, 2010.

[11] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), July 6, 2009.

[12] Maannews.net, July 28, 2010.

[13] Paltoday.com, August 24, 2009.

[14] Paltoday.com, August 24, 2009.

[15] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), August 24, 2009.

[16] Paltoday.com, August 24, 2009.

[17] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), September 5, 2009.

[18] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), September 5, 2009.

[19] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), September 5, 2009.

[20] Maannews.net, September 5, 2009.

[21] Paltoday.com, February 27, 2010.

[22] Al-Hayat (London), July 27, 2009.

[23] Islamonline.net, July 27, 2009.

[24] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), July 24, 2009.

[25] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), September 6, 2009.

[26] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), July 27, 2009.

[27] Al-Hayat (London), September 7, 2009.

[28] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), March 5, 2010.

[29] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), March 5, 2010.

[30] Paltoday.com, February 22, 2011.

[31] Maannews.net, May 19, 2010.

[32] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), Al-Quds (Jerusalem), August 21, 2010.

[33] Maannews.net, September 15, 2010.

[34] Al-Risala (Gaza), October 9, 2010.

[35] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), July 18, 2010.

[36] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), September 16, 2010.

[37] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), October 9, 2009.

[38] Alaahd.com, May 12, 2010.

[39] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 13, 2008.

[40] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), May 28, 2010.

[41] Al-Quds Al-'Arabi (London), December 11, 2009.

[42] Alqassam.ps, March 6, 2011.

[43] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), October 11, 2010.

[44] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), October 11, 2007.

[45] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), August 18, 2009.

[46] Al-hesbah.org, August 6, 2007.

[47] Al-Quds (Jerusalem), August 13, 2010.

[48] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), July 27, 2009.

[49] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), June 22, 2007.

[50] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), August 2, 2007.

[51] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), October 8, 2007.

[52] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), October 29, 2007.

[53] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), February 22, 2008.

[54] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), February 17, 2008.

[55] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), January 22, 2008.

[56] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), October 29, 2007.

[57] Al-Quds (Jerusalem), June 25, 2007.

[58] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), August 2, 2009.

[59] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), December 6, 2007.

[60] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), June 23, 2007.

[61] Al-Quds (Jerusalem), July 31, 2010.

[62] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), August 2, 2009.

[63] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), August 2, 2009.

[64] Al-Nahar (Lebanon), September 4, 2009.

[65] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), July 1, 2007.

[66] Al-Quds Al-'Arabi (London), July 9, 2007.

[67] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), September 23, 2007.

[68] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), October 11, 2007.