The charade of piety: Unmasking Hamas’ perversion of Islamic theology


In the arena of contemporary polemics and religious manipulation, Hamas takes the podium with an audacity that would almost be admirable if it weren’t so mendaciously repugnant. The group, condemned as a terrorist organization by any society that claims to have even a passing relationship with the rule of law, has cultivated a perfidious mastery over Islamic terms. The aim? To pose as the Islamic vanguard in a divine struggle for Palestinian liberation.

Let’s start with “Kufr”, shall we? A term that in its purest theological form describes a rejection of God, but which in the hands of Hamas is transmogrified into a weapon aimed at the State of Israel. A facile attempt to typecast an entire nation as ‘Kafir’—the paragon of unbelief—thus conveniently transmutes a political struggle into a cosmic battle against godlessness. As if to imply that not backing the violent tactics of Hamas equates to spiritual treachery. One doesn’t have to be an Islamic scholar to realise the grotesque overreach here.

Then we have “Fisq”, another term absconded from its theological moorings. In its unadulterated form, Fisq refers to sinful disobedience against divine ordinances. In the lexicon of Hamas, it serves as an ad-hoc indictment against anyone daft or courageous enough to dissent from their violent escapades. In a single linguistic leap, they’ve managed to divide the world into binary opposites: you’re either a pious follower in their blessed crusade or a sinner in flagrant disobedience to God.

The true scale of the horrors committed by Hamas cannot be encapsulated by mere statistics or recounted in cold, clinical terms. To describe their acts against Israel as anything less than a murderous rampage that flouts the very essence of human dignity would be an understatement. Let’s talk specifics: raining down rockets indiscriminately upon Israeli civilians, schools, and hospitals; strategically placing rocket launchers near Palestinian residential areas, schools, and hospitals to use innocent civilians as human shields. This is not mere tactical transgression; it’s an affront to humanity, a desecration of the sanctity of human life so blatant that it could make even the most atheistic among us reach for theological terms to describe its evil.

Which brings us to the term “Nifaq”—a concept in Islamic theology that refers to the duplicity of proclaiming faith while secretly nurturing disbelief or enmity against God. If ever there was a real-world representation of this theological concept, Hamas’ actions present a prime candidate. They not only commit atrocities against Israeli civilians but do so under a guise of religious devotion and resistance. And what’s more insidious, they trade on the language of religious sanctity so convincingly that to question or criticize them is to risk being branded Islamophobic.

Yes, the term ‘Islamophobia’ has been weaponized in this context to stifle critical thought, to silence any voice raised in opposition to Hamas’ brutality. What they’ve managed to do is cultivate an environment where any critique of their methods, no matter how egregious their actions, can be dismissed as an attack on Islam itself. And it is this manipulative strategy that has allowed them to persist in their violent agenda, protected by a shield of manufactured religious inviolability.

Let us pause and consider the chilling effectiveness of this strategy. Because the term Islamophobia is laden with the serious implications of racial and religious bigotry, the charge is sufficient to make politicians, media, and indeed, many of us, recoil. No one wishes to be accused of fanning the flames of religious hatred. So, instead, we acquiesce. We mute our condemnations.

And in doing so, we unwittingly enable the very acts of violence that sow discord among religious communities, thereby fomenting real Islamophobia and placing innocent Muslims at risk of reprisals. The irony is as cruel as it is inescapable: Hamas’ tactical use of the charge of Islamophobia to deflect from their own actions contributes to a climate that makes life more precarious for the very community they purport to represent.

This misuse of the charge of Islamophobia is, in fact, a corruption of a term intended to protect a vulnerable community. It is a disservice to Muslims worldwide who suffer from real prejudice and discrimination. To allow it to continue to serve as a cloak for Hamas’ barbarities is to become complicit in those very acts. It is to participate, albeit passively, in the very form of Nifaq that Hamas has elevated to an operational strategy.

So, let’s reclaim the language. Let’s clarify that the fight against Hamas is not a fight against Islam, nor is it an acquiescence to Islamophobia. Rather, it is a stance against brutality, against the perversion of religious teachings for violent ends, and most importantly, against the degradation of human life and dignity.

Hamas claims to operate under the aegis of Islamic law. This becomes particularly ironic when one considers that their actions stand in flagrant violation of the very Islamic principles they claim to uphold. Islam, like other Abrahamic faiths, has clear guidelines about the sanctity of human life. Yet, where are these principles in Hamas’ operations? Nowhere to be seen.

Instead, what we witness is a willful transgression against these guidelines, turning areas populated by civilians into war zones and perverting the theological concepts of Jihad into a carte blanche for mass murder.

By perpetrating these acts, Hamas doesn’t just commit Nifaq in the conventional sense; its hordes have redefined the term, expanding its scope to encapsulate a grand, systematic betrayal of Islamic teachings and basic human ethics. They turn it into a complex web of deceit—a simulacrum of piety that serves to legitimize a catalogue of horrors.

So, while Hamas continues to justify its crimes under the veneer of religious obedience, it’s incumbent upon us to strip away that veneer and expose the raw, unadulterated malevolence beneath. Only then can we begin to tackle the monstrous ideology that drives these acts and make strides towards a more humane and just solution.

Amidst this cacophony of misused terms and manipulated beliefs, the Palestinian people, like Israelis, pay the real, human cost. Their suffering is not alleviated but prolonged by such flagrant misappropriations of faith, which only serve to distance us from any reasonable dialogue about peace and reconciliation.

If we’re to move towards a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, separating the deeply political objectives of Hamas from the religious ethos they claim but fail to represent becomes not just crucial but a moral imperative. It’s high time we rip off the mask and expose the group for what it is: not the expression of divine will, but the epitome of worldly deceit and manipulation.

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Catherine Perez-Shakdam
Catherine Perez-Shakdam, Special Contributor to Blitz is a research fellow at the American Centre for Levant Studies. Her background includes consultancy work for the United Nations Security Council, where she has played a crucial role in shaping policy decisions by providing insights into Yemen’s War Economy, uncovering an intricate web of corruption, trafficking, and money laundering. Catherine has also established herself as a respected voice in the media and has been a frequent contributor for the i24, Al Jazeera, the BBC, The Jerusalem Post, Politico, the Daily Express, and the Daily Mail. Having previously served as a Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, Catherine has authored compelling policy recommendations and research papers to address the increasing influence of the Islamic Republic of Iran, exposing its activities and providing a deeper understanding of its operations. In 2021, Catherine gained international attention when news broke of her remarkable decade-long infiltration of the Iranian regime, during which she was able to gain access to the highest echelons of the regime’s inner circles. Unsurprisingly, she was promptly labeled an ‘enemy of the state’ by the regime. Undeterred, Catherine has courageously utilized her extensive knowledge and expertise to denounce the activities of the Islamic Republic, helping to unveil a system that had long operated under a shroud of secrecy. Her revelations have provided a unique perspective on Iran’s actions, challenging its narrative and exposing the true nature of its operations.


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