Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Hisham, the founder of Muslims Against Hamas. He is a Palestinian born in Jabaliya, in the Gaza Strip. He is protecting his full name for obvious reasons. Visit his “Muslims Against Hamas” page on Facebook here.
FP: Hello Hisham, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.
I would like to talk to you today about your new organization Muslims Against Hamas.
Let’s begin by you telling us a bit about your childhood and then about your teenage years when, it appears, things began to change for you.
Hisham: The mechanism by which Hamas terrorizes the citizens of Gaza is relatively simple. It is based on the creation of external and internal enemies rarely real and most often fictitious. Repression of opponents, executions, torture are the most used means by the militants to keep the population under pressure.
In fact, the presence of a dangerous enemy keeps alive the fear of people who accept Hamas as a necessary evil and they do not rebel. However, many of the people of Gaza do not know that Hamas uses their fear with cynicism. Interrogations and trials of the enemies are very often false and designed for the intended purposes.
FP: How did you manage to escape? Why did you decide to escape?
Hisham: I must say that I was lucky in my case. A relative of mine worked in the smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Egypt. I started working with him and when I decided to escape he helped me a lot. I had made arrangements with an Egyptian family friend who helped me to enter into Egypt. Then it was all quite easy.
I decided to escape to study and go to college with peace of mind. At first I wasn’t even thinking about starting my battle against Hamas, but when you see things from another point of view, everything changes.
FP: Did you put your family at risk at all? Do you miss your family?
Hisham: The biggest problem was leaving my family. I was afraid to put them in danger, and also I did not want to leave the most important people in my life. But they were the ones who supported and encouraged me to get my way. I cannot even explain how much I miss them. If they were with me, my life would be perfect.
FP: Why did you decide to denounce Hamas?
Hisham: I decided to denounce Hamas recently. I was surfing the internet when I came across a video of Mosab Yousef. Mosab is the son of one of the founders of Hamas, Hassan Yousef, who had the courage to rebel and to denounce the crimes of the organization. I was impressed by him so I became interested in his cause. I recommend everyone to read his book “Son of Hamas.” Thanks to him, I realized that I, in my small way, could do something to try to change the disastrous situation in Gaza.
FP: What is your goal?
Hisham: Since I live out of the reality of Gaza, I began to perceive a great misinformation and a lack of a deep understanding of the events regarding the Palestinian problem. The media are only interested in the conflict between Israel and Palestine; they ignore issues such as Hamas and Palestinian internal struggles. So, my main goal is to bring to light the problem of “Hamas” to stimulate the interest of the public.
FP: Are you a Muslim? How do you view Hamas in an Islamic context and Islamic Law in general?
Hisham: Lately, my relationship with Islam is very confrontational, nevertheless I am certainly a Muslim. The main problem for us young Muslims in Gaza is to have lived the religion according to the dictates of Hamas. We all know that there are different approaches to Islamic tradition. I’m talking about Shi’ism, Sunnism, Wahhabism. The difference lies in the various interpretations of the Koran. Starting from these facts, we can understand how it is possible that an organization like Hamas could justify his crimes through the religion. They can do this by simply applying their interpretation of the ancient texts.
FP: If you had the power to replace Hamas with a style of government you supported, what kind of government would you choose for the Palestinians to live under?
Hisham: I wish there was a democratic government, of course. I wish there was a state capable of guaranteeing equal rights to citizens and able to protect them. A government that knows how to be a guide for the population and that can make the right choices. Certainly, not the one that tortures civilians and exploits its power for mad purposes. I hope with all my heart that I could see such a miracle before Hamas leads all the inhabitants of Gaza to martyrdom at the outbreak of the next war.
FP: Why do you think the mainstream media and international community ignores the crimes and viciousness of Hamas?
Hisham: Honestly, I have no idea. And this is what scares me the most. I do not want to think that there are persecutors more important and more terrible than others. Maybe some people think that being silent in front of Hamas crimes may help the Palestinians to gain independence. There is nothing more wrong than this. Independence will begin only with the collapse of Hamas.
FP: When you say you wish for a “democratic government,” do you therefore oppose an Islamic state/Shariah law for Palestinians? Or do you think that democracy and Shariah are compatible and that HAMAS has just implemented it in a bad way?
Hisham: I’m not a naive person. Sharia and democracy are two opposite concepts. Sharia law should not be the law of the state, simply because it is not democratic and it does not guarantee equality to citizens. There are many reasons why no one should be forced to follow Islamic law. One of these is that, as I said before, there are various interpretations of the ancient texts. Therefore, there can be no Islamic law that fits with all the different traditions. A democratic law would ensure respect for the opinions and peaceful coexistence.
FP: Do you support a Palestinian state that also accepts Israel’s right to exist and that does not engage in terror against it for the goal of exterminating it?
Hisham: At this point we all should have realized that there can be only one solution: peace. I cannot deny the merit of Israel that guarantees the rights of the Arabs inside the country. This shows that coexistence is possible.
Nevertheless this is a futuristic topic. My idea is that the internal Palestinian issues must be resolved as a matter of urgency as they are the direct cause of all the others.
FP: Thank you Hisham, for joining Frontpage Interview.
To those readers who are interested in Muslims Against Hamas, check out Hisham’s Facebook page here.