This study is published at a time when the Gaza Strip is undergoing accelerated changes with the growth of Jihadi1 Salafi streams in Egypt, mainly in the Sinai Peninsula, which shares long borders with Gaza. Consequently, Gaza is vulnerable to all major events following the armed attacks launched by Salafi groups against the Egyptian army in late June and early July 2015.
In the past several years, especially following the victory of Hamas2 in the 2006 legislative elections, the Gaza Strip has seen the constant growth of what has come to be known as the “Jihadi Salafi Stream” with its different components. This stream confronted Hamas, which considers itself the broadest front of Palestinian Islamists. The ideological and field clashes have continued in various forms as of this writing in mid-2015.
In the aftermath of Hamas’s victory in the general elections, a number of neighboring capitals flashed red lights as they anticipated that the elections would be followed by the establishment of what they called “an Islamic Emirate in the Palestinian Territory.”
Whether these worries stem from real facts or mere speculation, they still clearly affected the manner in which Hamas enforced its electoral program under the motto of “Change and Reform.” It should be noted that Hamas did not adhere to this slogan merely in the religious, social and behavioral spheres but extended it to all administrative, authoritative and economic aspects.
Subsequent events in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) revealed that Hamas did not have any intention of declaring an Islamic emirate or enforcing Islamic law (Sharia) for local and regional political considerations. It actually refrained from fueling tensions with its foes; henceforth igniting the anger of “extremist” Islamic currents who viewed Hamas as ineffective in seizing the opportunity at hand, undermining the fulfillment of what is called the absent “religious duty.”
The Islamic and Nationalist Sides of Hamas
Throughout its 28 years of existence since late 1988, Hamas has combined patriotic intent with religious act. It actually upheld both political and Islamic discourses focusing simultaneously on the social behavior of the Palestinians and management of its conflict with Israel.
The ongoing Islamic transformations in the Arab world following the outbreak of the popular revolutions in early 2011 brought to the forefront religious streams that endeavored to adopt an Islamic discourse that surpassed Hamas’s. They focused on the Jihadi religious aspects at the expense of their Palestinian political nationalistic counterparts. They justified their approach by claiming that the essence of the ongoing conflict with Israel dates back to ancient times and it is actually a dispute between Islam and Judaism. As such, they transformed it into an existentialist conflict rather than a dispute over borders.
Since its political decision to join the Palestinian parliament and government, Hamas has exhibited moderate tendencies and has not imposed the enforcement of Sharia3 or an Islamic state. Consequently, some in its close circles considered this trend a redrafting of its constitution. It actually announced new ideologies that showed real shift in its course. It has been consistent in presenting itself not as an Islamic religious party but rather as an Islamic national liberation movement. Once in power, it did not proceed with a theocratic approach, did not ban secular and leftist parties, and did not apply Sharia law or forcibly impose Hijab (veil) on Palestinian women. Nor did it close recreational centers that were not affiliated with its Islamic ideology.
An observer of the actual field and social behavior of Hamas and its government from 2006 to 2014, prior to its resignation following the reconciliation with Fateh, will find that the only mention of an Islamic state or enforcement of Sharia appeared in some clauses that aimed to strike a balance between its external discourse and internal performance, stating that:
- 1. Islamic Sharia is the main source of legislation in Palestine.
- 2. Protection of public freedoms of all citizens without exception.
- 3. Endeavor to promulgate new personal status laws and Sharia courts, based on Islamic law and jurisprudence as consistent with the evolution of the Palestinian society.
Emergence of Salafi Thought
The Jihadi Salafi growth in the OPT in general, and in the Gaza Strip in particular, resulted from a complex context and cannot be attributed to a single factor. To understand and diagnose this phenomenon, we need to look closely at the reasons behind its appearance:
1. Political Circumstances
a) Since 2005, with Hamas’s decision to run for municipal elections, Salafis started to spread a rumor that elections were haram (illicit), as they refer to a judgment other than the law of God and aims to please the infidel democracy. These words did not have much impact in the Palestinian milieu until early 2006, when parties campaigned for the legislative elections. At that time, young members of the movement adopted this ideology and spread the word that elections to enter into parliament was an act against God.
Hamas’s relation with Fateh in different periods, mainly the national unity government, armed conflict, and4 the three wars against Gaza “that led to the penetration of the Salafi thought among young people who started accusing Hamas of ill faith and alliance with the seculars and reference to statutory laws. Cooling periods with Israel during which Hamas halted its military operations left many young people confused to the extent that they felt their movement was abandoning Jihad. Some of them even protested with the claim that their party had renounced them for political interests and accused it of ill faith and retreat from inalienable rights and positions. They lost hope in internal reform and change.
Discourses held by world Jihadi leaders criticized Hamas and labeled it as converted. They influenced the youth who became fans of leaders like Alzawaheri5 and Alzarkawi6. The Jihadi Salafis also used their websites (such as Falouja, Hasba, Madad Alsyouf, Altawhid, Aljihad and shabakt almujahideen), for continuous incitement against Hamas and to incite the youth against the movement.
b) Selective interpretation of some acts by the Hamas movement, government and leadership, including visits to countries like Iran and Russia, wishing happy holidays to Christians and defining them as brothers, together with abstention from enforcement of Islamic rules inside the Gaza Strip.
2. Economic Circumstances
- a) The siege imposed upon Gaza since 2006 to date put intolerable economic pressure on the Gaza Strip and infuriated some activists who accused Hamas of being the cause of the crisis and of affiliation to radical groups to secure monthly revenue.
- b) Holders of such theories focused on students and unemployed young people and exploited their economic hardships to influence their thoughts.
3. Educational and Religious Setting
- a) Poor da’wa7 (call to join Islamic fundamentalists) in the society although the Palestinian people are strong disciples following the Islamic Sahwa (awakening) years. Notwithstanding strong adherence to religion, young people are unaware of the context and interpretation of Sharia; consequently, these radical youth could not comprehend Hamas’s policies and ideology and misinterpreted its political experience.
- b) Problems of young people within Hamas were sometimes ignored, which left them vulnerable to the separatists who held feeling of injustice vis-àvis the movement.
- c) Young people were impassioned for Jihad in the absence of any public debate to counter the arguments held against Hamas in Jihadi preachings and lessons.
Components of Salafism
In contrast to Hamas’s strong presence in the Palestinian Islamic political scene, the political context witnessed new a radical shift with the rise of the Salafi movements’ activities. Although the Islamic transformation had emerged since the beginning of the first intifada in 1987, current developments represent a radical shift in the Islamic scene, which is gradually drifting towards Salafism.
Jihadi Salafism is an ideological stream that revolts against existing social norms, political power, the prevailing culture and international relations. It uses different pretexts to justify its existence and recruits members from different social backgrounds. The common denominator of such components, notwithstanding their profile and motives, is the religiouspolitical ideology, which it uses to legitimize its goals and activities.
A number of Salafi movements appeared in the Gaza Strip calling for the creation of Islamic emirate and had ups and downs depending on the political circumstances. The most salient groups are: Jaysh Alislam – Tawheed and Jihad Militia, Jaysh Aluma – Sunna and Jama’a Group, Jaljalat, Soyouf Alhaq Militia – Alqaeda Army, Jund Allah Organization, Islamic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ansar Tanzeem Aldawla (ISIS)8
These movements spring from the “Salafi Iceberg,” with speculations that they will continue to rise, because of either a) internal breakdown, or b) an increase in their number following current religious social transformation in the Palestinian society.
A number of factors facilitated the expansion of Jihadi Salafism in the Gaza Strip: Palestinians in Gaza observed the formation of random groups with a young membership, which belonged to (and may still be part of) the military wings of Palestinian resistance. Their faith and foundation involves Jihadi Salafi thought, which calls for a return to Islamic legacy and efforts to create an Islamic state through universal Jihadi war.
The exact date of the emergence of such movements in Gaza coincided with Hamas’s decision to participate in the legislative elections in early 2006. It was manifested in a statement denouncing elections as illicit from a Sharia point of view. Their different communiqués showed strong influence of what they called “senior sheikhs” who called for universal Jihad in Chechnya before moving on to Afghanistan and Iraq, although their core structure members embraced the educational values curriculum of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement.9
The author of this article discovered new elements when he became aware that a number of military officers and political officials, scholars and university professors joined the Salafis. It is not easy to prove this claim, since most affiliates are young people passionate about the “enforcement of Sharia and establishment of an Islamic state,” no more, no less.
Salafi bombers in Gaza usually alerted the owner of the place identified by the group as sinful, and advising him/ her through a letter and call to remove it. In the event the sinful place is not removed after a number of warnings, the place is bombed upon “religious fatwa10— judgment” to avoid causing harm to neighbors and their lives and to ensure that the bombing does not claim the owner’s life and be restricted to the “place of sin.”
Signs of Fragmentation
The Salafi groups, Palestinian Bin Ladenists, and supporters of ISIS believe they did not find the call for of universal Jihad11 against the “infidels” among the Muslim Brotherhood movement. Rather, their resistance remained constrained to fighting the Israeli occupation. They viewed Hamas, in a negative sense, as a “national movement” that participates in legislative councils and not as an “Islamic movement” that refers to Sharia rule. Their act was mainly initiated by calling upon Hamas to retreat to the “Jihadi approach” and abandon political and legislative arena to rule by Sharia rather than statuary laws.
Accordingly, Salafi movements in the Gaza Strip began to focus on:
1) Adopting an approach of ‘closeness of conflict’ by calling for the liberation of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque;
2) Abstaining from establishing a secular political Palestinian state, but to replace it by an Islamic Emirate in the religious sense of the term;
3) Working within the system of other Islamic emirates, which Mujahedeen12 succeeded in setting up, including Afghanistan Taliban, Iraq’s ISIS, Somali quasi-state, Province of Sinai in Egypt; and
4) Criticizing Hamas by saying that after it took control of the Gaza Strip, it did not announce an Islamic emirate and thus failed to fulfill its religious duty prescribed by God upon Mujahedeen.
The greatest dangers posed by these groups and their military doctrine are:
a) Assembling armed individuals without any organizational framework or political or financial support;
b) Attracting young people and uneducated people who wish to fall as “martyrs” rather than aspiring to go on Jihad;
c) Leaders of theses “cases” seeking media attention and rush into incautious plans, which result in the death of the executor of the operation, where martyrdom of the militants (Fedayeen)13 is deemed to be an indicator of success; and
d) A lack of respect for the need for extra caution, despite the fact that any act of resistance requires security awareness and extreme caution, and more so when the target is the Israeli occupation with its advanced spying technologies.
Salafis and the Emirate Project
Salafi, mostly Qaeda14-affiliated organizations openly raised their voice for the establishment of an Islamic state via a number of setups:
a) Salafi organizations stemmed from the general political context in the OPT with the outbreak of the second intifada in 2000 and the militarization of resistance. It then underwent the unilateral Israeli disengagement from Gaza in 2005 and the weak performance of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its mediocre security control and coup of its senior and middle leadership.
b) The collapse of PA security organs in the face of Hamas’s takeover in 2007 and subsequent dissolution of such apparatuses left their militia vulnerable and forcing many of them to withdraw and shift to other competing groups, including Salafi affiliated organizations.
c) The second intifada created a situation in which the personal survival of some agents became dependent on the pursuit of military resistance. With the downsizing of operations in subsequent truces with Israel, an excess of human and material resources “of violence” appeared and facilitated the drift of some elements to violent Salafi groups and their Jihad doctrine.
d) The Salafi organizations refer principally to the doctrine of Ibn Taymiyeh15 and are influenced by the writings of Abu Mohammad Almaqdimi, the spiritual guide of Abi Mos’ab Alzarqawi, while some of their leaders including Ahmad Mazloum Almakni, adopt the Maqdisi16 discourse. On the other hand, the jurisprudential reference of the organization of Jaysh Alislam17 and Aby Hafs Almaqdisi18, leader of Jaysh Aluma and Abu Suhaib Almaqdisi19, leader of Al-Qaida militia.
If this context planted the “seeds” of Salafi and Jihadi groups and organizations, it is necessary to investigate the logic or rational explanation of the existing relationship between Hamas and these organizations and its impact on the future of announcement of the Islamic state project.
The OPT in general, and the Gaza Strip in particular, has recently witnessed field operations carried out by Salafi groups against those they labeled as “infidel crusaders” in the Land of Palestine. Such acts laid the natural foundation of the Islamic state in their opinion, but were severely condemned by Hamas before and after it came to power. Indeed Hamas thinks that the ‘Islamization’ of the Palestinian society must be implemented gradually without raising the eyebrows of local, regional and international forces.
Split and Differentiation
An examination of the emergence of the ideological and jurisprudential differences between Hamas and the Salafis as relates to the establishment of the Islamic state and enforcement of Sharia shows historical milestones including:
1. Prior to Hamas’s victory in the legislative elections and formation of government, we notice that Hamas needed to establish broad alliances with the forces in disagreement with Fateh20 and the PLO21 and which share with Hamas some viewpoints and stances vis-à-vis the PA. It henceforth allied itself with the Islamic streams including the Salafis to confront the secular factions.
2. In the aftermath of Hamas’s absolute control over the Gaza Strip, which was well perceived by quasi-clandestine Salafi cells with Jihadi ideology, Hamas rewarded their alliance with tender support and tolerated training and recruitment. The formalization of this relation appeared in an unwritten alliance although some of these groups launched missiles on Israeli settlements as an act of enmity against Hamas in Gaza rather than a genuine act of resistance. Thus, they dragged Israel into a severely painful response as was the case in mid-2014. Hamas tried to regain control over the Salafis through two approaches:
- a) Ideological orientation: Hamas sent its sheikhs to the mosques to “raise awareness” among the youth captivated by the Salafis and endeavored simultaneously to gain control over the tunnels and movement of supply and stealth. It was able to “re-coopt” many of them and started what it called the “ideological rehabilitation” of the Salafis and arrested many of them after they had proclaimed the “Islamic Emirate.” Hamas then released some of these detainees after “ideological rehabilitation” to convince them to adopt the policy of profaning nonbelievers and affiliate with moderate Islam. It made the released detainees commit to abstaining from any activity that might destabilize the situation or affect the daily living of people. At the same time, it did not exclude the possible re-emergence of the same phenomenon.
- b) Field security action: With the failure of the first phase of “ideological rehabilitation” through sheikhs and scholars, Hamas undertook broad surveillance, prosecution and detention among members of the Salafi organizations to regain control of the mosques in which such groups disseminated their thoughts.
However, the relationship of Hamas — as a movement and a government — was not always harmonious with these groups. It actually underwent difficulties, tensions and confrontations, mainly because the Salafis accused Hamas of “not ruling in accordance with Islamic Sharia and not establishing the state of Islam.” Even without large-scale confrontations with the remaining Salafi groups, the message conveyed by Hamas reached these groups, which opted to avoid any challenge to Hamas’s authority under these circumstances.
The growth of the Jihadi Salafi presence in Gaza relates as well to “foreign” fighters who joined these groups to promote their ideologies and implement internal and external armed attacks. It seems that part of these foreign fighters arrived as trainers while others came as trainees to participate in Jihad. Many of the Salafi elements surrendered themselves to the Hamas security forces, which subjects them to “ideological rehabilitation” to which they widely responded. As a result, Hamas started to proclaim that the Salafi phenomenon is “fading away” after subjecting supports of this “distorted” school of thoughts to this therapy. Their numbers have been decreasing recently, especially after the arrest of their leaders and closing down of their recruiting offices.
In conclusion, the existing dispute/conflict between Hamas and the Salafi organizations in Gaza on the creation of the Islamic State and enforcement of Sharia and its rules are worth discussing and contemplating. It is necessary to investigate and reflect on the causes and factors that led to the creation of such a state becoming an obsession among members of Palestinian Islamic groups — who embrace this dream with passion and romance, without any realistic evidence to support this trend — and provide it with the tools of survival and sustainability.Endnotes:
1 http://www.wikipedia.org: S a l a fi j i h a d i s m or J i h a d i s t - S a l a fi s m i s a t r a n s n a t i o n a l r e l i g i o u s - political ideology based on a belief in violent jihad and the Salafist religious movement of returning to (what adherents believe is) “true” Islam. Jihad is an Islamic term referring to the religious duty of Muslims to maintain the religion. In Arabic, the word jihād is a noun meaning “to strive, to apply oneself, to struggle, to persevere.” A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid, the plural of which is mujahideen. The word jihad appears frequently in the Quran, often in the idiomatic expression “striving in the way of God (al-jihad fi sabil Allah)”, to refer to the act of striving to serve the purposes of God on this earth. The term ‘jihad’ has accrued both violent and non-violent meanings. According to John Esposito, it can simply mean striving to live a moral and virtuous life, spreading and defending Islam as well as fighting injustice and oppression, among other things. The relative importance of these two forms of jihad is a matter of controversy. Reference in Quran is two meanings: an inner spiritual struggle (the “greater jihad”), and an outer physical struggle against the enemies of Islam (the “lesser jihad”)Jihad by the sword (jihad bis saif) refers to qital fi sabilillah (armed fighting in the way of God, or holy war),
The Salafi movement or Salafist movement is an ultra-conservative movement within Sunni Islam that references the doctrine known as Salafism. According to Salafis they follow the doctrine that may be summed up as taking “a fundamentalist approach to Islam, emulating the Prophet Muhammad and his earliest followers — al-salaf al-salih, the ‘pious forefathers’...They reject religious innovation, or Bid’ah (explanation below), and support the implementation of sharia (Islamic law).” The movement is often divided into three categories: the largest group are the purists (or quietists), who avoid politics; the second largest group are the activists, who get involved in politics; the smallest group are the jihadists, who form a tiny (yet infamous) minority.
Bid‘ah In Islam, Bid‘ah (Arabic: بدعة ) refers to any innovations in religious matters. Linguistically the term means “innovation, novelty, heretical doctrine, heresy”. In contrast to the English term “innovation,” the word bid’ah in Arabic generally carries a negative connotation, but it can also have positive implications. It has also been used in classical Arabic literature (adab) as a form of praise for outstanding compositions of prose and poetry.One tradition holds that the Prophet of Islam told a companion to “Avoid novelties, for every novelty is an innovation, and every innovation is an error.” 2http://www.wikipedia.org: Hamas (Arabic: حماس hamās, an acronym of حركة المقاومة الاسلامية harakat al-Muqāwamah al-Islāmiyyah Islamic Resistance Movement) is a Palestinian Islamic organization,with an associated military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas was established in 1988 during the first Intifada, and started as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. 3Sharia or sharia law (Arabic: شريعة ), is the Islamic legal system derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. The term sharia comes from the Arabic language term sharīah, which means a body of moral and religious law derived from religious prophecy, as opposed to human legislation. There are two primary sources of sharia: the Quran, and the Hadiths (opinions and life example of Muhammad). 4Hamas and Fatah Mecca Agreement was signed between Fatah and Hamas in the city of Mecca on February 8, 2007 after eight days of talks, agreeing to stop the military clashes in the Gaza Strip and form a government of national unity. Representatives from the Fatah side included the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas and parliament member Mohammed Dahlan. The Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya and Khaled Mashal represented Hamas. 5Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahir (Arabic: أيمن محمد ربيع الظواهري Ayman Muhammad Rabi al-Thawāhirī, born June 19, 1951) is the current leader of al- Qaeda and a currentor former member and senior official of Islamist organizations which have orchestrated and carried out attacks in North America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. In 2012, he called on Muslims to kidnap Western tourists in Muslim countries. 6Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (Arabic: أبو مصعب الزرقاوي , pronunciation (help·info) ’Abū Mus‘ab az-Zarqāwī, Abu Musab from Zarqa; October 20, 1966 – June 7, 2006), born Ahmad Fadeel al-Nazal al-Khalayleh (Arabic: أحمد فضيل النزال الخلايله , ’Ahmad Fadīl an-Nazāl al-Khalāyla) was a militant Islamist from Jordan who ran a paramilitary training camp in Afghanistan. He became known after going to Iraq and being responsible for a series of bombings, beheadings, and attacks during the Iraq War. He formed al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in the 1990s, and led it until his death in June 2006. Zarqawi took responsibility, on several audio and video recordings, for numerous acts of violence in Iraq including suicide bombings and hostage executions. Zarqawi opposed the presence of US and Western military forces in the Islamic world, as well as the West’s support for the existence of Israel. In late 2004 he joined al-Qaeda, and pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden. After this al-Tawhid wal-Jihad became known as Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn, also known as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and al-Zarqawi was given the al-Qaeda title, “Emir of Al Qaeda in the Country of Two Rivers.” Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s interpretation of Islamic takfir — accusing another Muslim of heresy and thereby justifying his killing — was extreme, which caused friction between him and Osama bin Laden. On his first meeting with Bin Laden in 1999, Zarqawi reportedly declared: “Shiites should be executed.” Zarqawi’s political motivation came partly from what he considered U.N.’s “gift“ of Palestine ”to the Jews so they can rape the land and humiliate our people,” partly, but connected with the former, from what he considered (U.N.’s support for) (American) oppressors of Iraq and the consequent “humiliation [of] our nation.” 7Da‘wah (also transliterated daawa(h); Arabic: دعوة “invitation”) means the proselytizing or preaching of Islam. Da‘wah literally means “issuing a summons” or “making an invitation,” being a gerund of a verb meaning variously “to summon” or “to invite” (whose triconsonantal root is d-a-w دعو ). A Muslim who practices da‘wah, either as a religious worker or in a volunteer community effort, is called a dā‘ī ( داعي , plural du‘āh/du‘āt .(دعاة 8Jihadist-Salafist groups is a transnational religious-political ideology based on a belief in violent jihad and the Salafist religious movement of returning to (what adherents believe is) “true” Islam. 8Jihadist-Salafist groups is a transnational religious-political ideology based on a belief in violent jihad and the Salafist religious movement of returning to (what adherents believe is) “true” Islam. 9The Society of the Muslim Brothers, (Arabic: جماعة الإخوان المسلمين ) shortened to the Muslim Brotherhood ( الإخوان المسلمون al-Ikhwān al-Muslimūn), is a transnational Sunni Islamistorganization founded in Egypt by Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna in 1928. The organization gained supporters throughout the Arab world and influenced other Islamist groups with its “model of political activism combined with Islamic charity work”, and in 2012 sponsored the first democratically elected political party in Egypt. However, it suffered from periodic government crackdowns for alleged terrorist activities, and as of 2015 is considered a terrorist organization by the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. 10A fatwā (Arabic: فتوى ; plural fatāwā Arabic: فتاوى ) in the Islamic faith is the term for the legal opinion or learned interpretation that the Sheikhul Islam, a qualified jurist or mufti, can give on issues pertaining to the Islamic law. The person who issues a fatwā is called, in that respect, a Mufti, i.e. an issuer of fatwā, from the verb أَفْتَى ‘aftā = “he gave a formal legal opinion on”. This is not necessarily a formal position since most Muslims argue that anyone trained in Islamic law may give an opinion (fatwā) on its teachings. If a fatwā does not break new ground, then it is simply called a ruling. 11Also known as Offensive jihad (Arabic: جهاد الطلب , Jihād al-Talab), in contrast with defensive jihad, is armed Jihad meant to expand the realm of Islam (Dar al Islam)at the expense of the House of War (Dar al-Harb). Offensive jihad is the instrument to transform the Dar al-Harb into Dar al-Islam so as to achieve the ultimate aim of universalization of the Islamic faith and to establish its social order, sharia law.This is seen by its advocates first as a collective duty but also an individual one. Since the goal can be accomplished by peaceful as well as by violent means, the participation could be fulfilled by the heart, the tongue, the hands, as well as the sword. Offensive jihad accordingly is a form of religious propaganda carried out by spiritual or material means. Offensive jihad requires the authorization and supervision of a “legitimate Muslim leader” 12The plural form or for participants in jihad, the “combining form” “JAHD” ( (جاهد of Arabic is used, and prefixes and suffixes added: for example, mu (one who) + jahid (jihad) + een (plural) = mujahideen ( .(مجاهدين 13The word Fedayeen فدائيين fidāīyīn Arabic, فدائیان ”those who sacrifice themselves” Term used by the Palestinians to describe Palestinian resistance movements fighters. Palestinian fedayeen are militants of a nationalist orientation from among the Palestinian people. The fedayeen made efforts to infiltrate territory in Israel in order to strike military, as well as civilian targets in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. 14Al-Qaeda (/ælkaeda/ al-KY-da or /ælkaieda/ AL-kah-EE-da; Arabic: القاعدة alqāidah, translation: “The Base,” “The Foundation” or “The Fundament” and alternatively spelled al-Qaida and sometimes al-Qa’ida) is a global militant Islamist organization founded by Osama bin Laden, Abdullah Azzam, and several others, at some point between August 1988 and late 1989, with origins traceable to the Arab volunteers who fought against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and an Islamist, extremist, wahhabi, jihadist group. 15Taqî ad-Dîn Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah (Arabic: تقي الدين أحمد ابن تيمية ) known as Ibn Taymiyyah(22 January 1263 - 26 September 1328) was a Islamic scholar (alim), theologian and logician. He lived during the troubled times of the Mongol invasions. He was a member of the school founded by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and is considered by his followers, along with Ibn Qudamah, as one of the two most significant proponents of Hanbalism. Ibn Taymiyya recognized “the possibility of a jihad against `heretical` and `deviant` Muslims within dar al-Islam. He identified as heretical and deviant Muslims anyone who propagated innovations (bida’) contrary to the Quran and Sunna. Legitimated jihad against anyone who refused to abide by Islamic law or revolted against the true Muslim authorities.” He used a very “broad definition” of what constituted aggression or rebellion against Muslims, which would make jihad “not only permissible but necessary.” Ibn Taymiyya also paid careful and lengthy attention to the questions of martyrdom and the benefits of jihad: ‘It is in jihad that one can live and die in ultimate happiness, both in this world and in the Hereafter. Abandoning it means losing entirely or partially both kinds of happiness. 16Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi (Arabic: أبو محمد المقدسي ) or more fully Abu Muhammad Aasim al-Maqdisi ( أبو محمد عصام المقدسي ) is the assumed name of Aasim Muhammad Tahir al-Barqawi( عصام محمد طاهر البرقاوي ), a Salafi jihadi Islamist Jordanian-Palestinian writer. He is best known as the spiritual mentor of Jordanian mujahid Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the initial leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. However, an ideological and methodical split emerged between Maqdisi and Zarqawi in 2004 due to Zarqawi’s takfeer proclamations towards the Shi’a populations in Iraq. Maqdisi opted for a more cautious approach towards targeted Shi’a killings, attempting to stop Zarqawi’s radical ideological movement before Zarqawi’s methods become counter-productive. 17Jaysh al-Islam (Arabic: جيش الإسلام , meaning Army of Islam), formerly known as Liwa al-Islam or the Brigade of Islam, is a coalition of multiple Islamist and Salafist units involved in the Syrian Civil War. 18Abu Hafs al Maqdisi, the leader of the Gaza-based Jaish al Ummah (Army of the Nation), today called on Egyptians to wage “jihad” against Egyptian army commander General Abdul Fattah el Sisi. Al Maqdisi, who was released from a Hamas prison in December, also called on Egyptians to overthrow “the tyrant” (el Sisi) and establish an Islamic state. http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2013/08/ gaza_jihadists_call.php 19Abu Suhaib al-Maqdisi, a Jordanian leader of al-Nusra Front (Al-Qaeda branch in Syria), was shot dead by Syrian Army in al-Reshdia neighborhood of Deir Ezzor. 16-10-2013 - See more at: http://www.documents.sy/image.php?id=2487&lang=e n#sthash.mFFVE1df.dpuf 20Fateh (Arabic: فتح Fath), formerly the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Levantine Arabic: [fateħ]), is a leading secular Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the confederated multi-party Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).Fatah is generally considered to have had a strong involvement in revolutionary struggle in the past and has maintained a number of militant groups. Fatah had been closely identified with the leadership of its founder Yasser Arafat, until his death in 2004. Since Arafat’s departure, factionalism within the ideologically diverse movement has become more apparent. 21The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) (Arabic: منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية ; Munazamat at-Tahrīr al-Filastīniyyah) is an organization founded in 1964 with the purpose of the “liberation of Palestine” through armed struggle. It is recognized as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people“ by over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed observer status at the United Nations since 1974. The PLO was considered by the United States and Israel to be a terrorist organization until the Madrid Conference in 1991. In 1993, the PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist in peace, accepted UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, and rejected “violence and terrorism;” in response, Israel officially recognized the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people.