In recent interviews recorded for the English-speaking world, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has sought to present a less radical side of Hamas, one that is unworthy of the "terrorist" moniker. The reality is that Hamas remains a terrorist organization, as the most recent interview clearly reveals.
During an interview with Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News posted on August 22nd, Meshaal, the political leader of Hamas who lives safe and secure in Qatar, rejected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's assertion that ISIS was like Hamas and Hamas like ISIS, stating, "We are not a religious, violent group," calling ISIS (also known as the Islamic State) a "totally different phenomenon." As he explained, "We are fighting against aggression in our land."
Why then did the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, send this tweet out on August 16? "We are continuing our struggle. ALLAH IS OUR GOAL, THE PROPHET IS OUR LEADER, JIHAD IS OUR WAY, AND DEATH FOR ALLAH IS OUR MOST EXALTED WISH." (Caps in the original.) more >>
The beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley has raised concerns in the West about Islamist threats. But Israel has been facing this specter for decades and – given Israel's proximity to the Islamist threat – the Jewish state is the canary in the coalmine for the West. But Gaza seems to be the Western blind spot, even though the Hamas-ISIS parallels are glaringly obvious.
Since beheadings are the current media focus, and ISIS has beheaded infants, it's worth noting that Hamas praised the 2011 Itamar murders, which involved the decapitation of a baby. Islamist beheadings should surprise no one, given that they've been happening for much of (and despite) modernity – perhaps because "Islam is the only major world religion today that is cited…to legitimize beheadings," according to this study.
While there have been no reported Hamas beheadings of journalists, the similarities between Hamas and ISIS are more important than their differences. more >>
The home church of U.S. journalist James Foley, who was brutally beheaded by ISIS militants last week, held a memorial service in Rochester, New Hampshire, Sunday, remembering him for living his faith by highlighting suffering. The journalist's family released a final letter sent by him while he was in captivity, where he prayed regularly.
The memorial Mass was attended by Foley's parents, John and Diane Foley, and hundreds of others at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary church, The Associated Press reported.
Bishop Peter Libasci, who spoke at the memorial Mass, was quoted as telling the crowd that Foley was captured for the first time in Libya in 2011, and yet he "went back again that we might open our eyes. That we might indeed know how precious is this gift. May almighty God grant peace to James and to all our fragile world." more >>
The British ambassador to the United States has revealed that officials "are close" to identifying the Islamic militant with a strong English accent responsible for the beheading of American journalist James Foley last week.
"We're putting a great deal into the search," Peter Westmacott told CNN on Sunday, referring to the use of sophisticated technology to analyze the killer's voice.
Westmacott refused to comment further on the possible identity of the militant, who is seen in the video dressed in black, standing over 40-year-old Foley. more >>
Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram has declared an "Islamic Caliphate" in the predominantly Christian town of Gwoza, which it seized earlier in August and slaughtered over 100 civilians.
"Thanks be to Allah who gave victory to our brethren in (the town of) Gwoza and made it part of the Islamic caliphate," Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau says in a 52-minute video obtained by AFP on Sunday, which also apparently shows the execution of civilians.
The Nigerian military has rejected the claim, stating that the "sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Nigerian state is still intact." more >>
James Foley, the American photojournalist beheaded by ISIS militants was reportedly trying to forge dialogue between Christians and Muslims, his former fellow hostage said.
"It's completely ironic," French journalist Nicolas Henin told the Irish Times after learning of Foley's beheading. "James got hold of a Koran in English and he was fascinated by it. There were times he read it without interruption. After being taken hostage twice, he said his career as a reporter was obviously jinxed."
However, Foley was not deterred and continued working for the Global Post and the Agence France-Presse. He was taken hostage in 2012 while on assignment in Syria, which was under attack from ISIS at the time. During his imprisonment, Foley was convicted and felt the need to try and do his part to encourage dialogue between Christians and Muslims. more >>