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حركة المقاومة الاسلامية
Leader Not publicly disclosed.
Senior members
Khaled Mashaal,
Ismail Haniyah,
Mahmoud Zahar
Founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin
Founded 1987
Headquarters Gaza
Ideology Palestinian nationalism,
Religious nationalism

Hamas (Arabic: حركة حماس "zeal") is a radical Islamic political and militant organization in Gaza and the West Bank. The group is regarded as a terrorist organization by the United States, the EU, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan and Jordan. The name Hamas is an acronym of Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya (Islamic Resistance Movement). Hamas combines Palestinian nationalism with Islamic fundamentalism, and "regards the territory of the present-day State of Israel — as well as the Gaza Strip and the West Bank — as an inalienable Islamic waqf or religious bequest, which can never be surrendered to non-Muslims."[1] Its charter commits the group to the destruction of Israel, the replacement of the Palestinian Authority with an Islamist state on the West Bank and Gaza, and to raising "the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine."


Hamas is an acronym of the Arabic phrase حركة المقاومة الاسلامية, or Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya or "Islamic Resistance Movement". Ami Isseroff on MidEast web states that the acronym is also the Arabic word for "zeal".[2]


Hamas was founded by terrorist Sheik Ahmed Yassin as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's local political arm in December 1987, following the outbreak of the first intifada. Hamas published its official charter in 1988. From the 1990s it achieved notoriety for its use of the tactic of suicide bombing, principally against civilian targets in Israel. Hamas members started carrying out terrorist attacks starting in the late '80s, at first in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The first Hamas suicide bombing took place on April 26 1993, when Saher al-tamam attacked two Israeli buses in front of a coffee shop in Mehola, killing and injuring several Israelis. It is believed to have killed more than 1500 people in more than 350 separate terrorist attacks since then.

Opinion of Fatah

It also set itself in opposition to the secular Fatah movement. In the 2006 elections to the Palestinian Authority legislature Hamas gained a majority of seats; its government was dissolved in June 1997 by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas following the military takeover by Hamas of the Gaza Strip after several days of fighting between Hamas and Fatah.


Like the Muslim Brotherhood, which Hamas branched off from, Hamas believes the rules of Islam, or the Sharia to be a sufficient guide for all areas of life. Since Hamas sees Islam as a sufficent guide for all areas in life, and as a way of life, they, as the Covenant of Hamas says, tries to make Islam its programme.[3]

Freemasons, Lions Club and the Rotarians

Hamas views the Freemasons, Lions Club, and the Rotarians as groups that help support Zionist interests. It believes the Freemasons, Lions Club, the Rotarians, and the zionists to be behind the drug trade and alcoholism. Hamas believes that the Freemasons, Lions Club and the Rotarians were created with zionist money.[3]


The group has anti-semitic beliefs such as Jews as plotting to control the world, Jews acquire wealth by stealing, that the Jews control the media, government and finance.[4] Also, the co-creator of Hamas said that the Holocaust is the greatest of lies created by the Zionists.[5]

Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades

In 1991, Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades became the armed branch of the group Hamas. It is names after Ezzedeen Al-Qassam, an Islamic militant who was killed in 1935. The stated goals of the brigade are as followed:to fight Israel, take over Israel, and invoke a spirit of Jihad among the Palestinians. The group is made up of many different cells. Secrecy is important, and sometimes cells do not know what other cells are doing. The group said by September of 2000, more than 800 of its members had been killed. The leader of the militant wing is Muhamad Deif.[6]

Social Programs

Hamas conducts numerous social welfare actions, known as Dawa, including relief and education programs, school funding, soup kitchens, and sports leagues. These programs are viewed as propaganda and recruitment exercises, or both. In December 2001, the Bush administration seized the assets of the Holy Land Foundation, the largest Muslim charity in the United States, upon finding proof it was funding Hamas.[7]


Hamas is still fairly popular among many Palestinian people, but it is not as popular as it was at one point in time. Their total unwillingness to negotiate with the nation of Israel has weakend Hamas's support. The people are starting to get weary of the violence there. [8]

In January of 2006 the political wing of Hamas won many seats in the Palestinian elections.[9]

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