|Four Crucial Questions about Hamas|
4 Crucial Questions about Hamas
"Here's the difference between us. We are using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they're using civilians to protect their missiles."
—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Israel's conflict with Hamas
Sheikh Ahmed Yassin is the Palestinian Osama bin Laden, though few in the West know his name. He became the leader of a fledgling movement that is dominating global headlines today: Hamas.
Its name means "zeal" in Arabic, and also forms an acronym (spelled backwards) for "Islamic Resistance Movement." Sheikh Yassin began his movement in the late 1960s as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. In 1973, he established the "Islamic Center" to coordinate the Brotherhood's activities in Gaza, and founded Hamas as their political arm in 1987. It published its official charter in 1988, calling for the destruction of Israel and raising "the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine."
Regarding Israel, Yassin repeatedly asserted, "The so-called peace path is not peace and it is not a substitute for jihad and resistance." He condemned the outcome of a 2003 summit that sought to bring about an end to violence in the region. And he promised young people that suicide bombers willing to die for the Palestinian cause would achieve martyrdom.
Sheikh Yassin declared, "We chose this road, and it will end with martyrdom or victory." Why are these the only options for Hamas? Why do its members seek to annihilate the Jewish state and its people? Why are they waging a war they clearly cannot win? And what does their movement say about jihadists and America?