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The Nazi sympathies and the viral anti-Semitism of Hamas’s inspirations

24 October 2023 Investigations   398904  

Officially founded in December 1987 by the Muslim Brother Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and two of his acolytes, Hamas has introduced Islamist fanaticism and suicide attacks into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, the roots of the terror practised by this Islamist movement, which lays claim to the Muslim Brotherhood, go much deeper into the history of the region. Its first mentor was Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who collaborated with the Nazis during the Second World War. This was followed by Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, who sent his men to Palestine to fight against the Jews in 1948. And even more recently, Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, spiritual guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, urged Muslims from his al-Jazeera platform to take over from Hitler, who “administered the first divine punishment to the Jews” to “punish them for their corruption”.

By Ian Hamel

The greatest criminals sometimes die in their beds. Such was the case of Sheikh Amin al-Husseini, the Palestinian religious leader and politician, who was born in Jerusalem in 1895 and died in Beirut in 1974. In 1921, he took over from his half-brother Kamil al-Husseini, becoming Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. To combat the British authorities and the Jews, Amin al-Husseini first approached Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 1928. The two men considered that the Palestinian question could become “the most powerful lever for provoking international anti-Jewish mobilisation and fuelling the spirit of jihad1”. Then, in 1933, the Grand Mufti came into contact with the German consul general in Jerusalem. And in 1941, he joins Germany after an initial meeting with Benito Mussolini in Rome.

The photo of the Grand Mufti’s meeting with Adolf Hitler on 28 November 1941 has since illustrated thousands of articles around the world and many book covers, such as the one by German political scientist Matthias Küntzel, “Jihad and hatred of Jews 2”. Was the Führer seduced by the Grand Mufti’s blue eyes, “an indisputable sign of their owner’s Aryanity”3? Sheikh Amin al-Husseini was given full powers to lead, from Berlin, an intense campaign in favour of his pro-Nazi jihad. He encouraged Arabs to join the Axis.

Muslim Brotherhood’s Sympathy for Hitlerism

In 1943, the Grand Mufti encouraged the creation of the Waffen-SS Handschar division made up of Bosnian Muslims. Footage shows him making the Nazi salute, reviewing the Bosnian troops of the Waffen-SS, who became known for their atrocities (see opposite). Author of an anti-Semitic pamphlet entitled “Islam and Judaism”, Sheikh Amin al-Husseini maintained that “National Socialist Germany is fighting world Jewry” and that “the Jews are the hereditary enemies of the Muslims”4.

Pursued by the British and the Yugoslavs as a war criminal, Amin al-Husseini managed in 1946 to escape to Egypt, where he was welcomed by Hassan al-Banna. The founder of the Muslim Brotherhood also made no secret of his sympathies for Hitlerism and Fascism. In 1940, he created the “Khaki Shirts”, who marched through the streets of Cairo with torches, singing Islamic slogans venerating the strength and supremacy of their movement. “This show was inspired by the Nazi example of the Hitlerjugend [Hitler Youth]”, recalls Chérif Amir, author of “Secret History of the Muslim Brotherhood” 6.

Among the Muslim Brotherhood, hostility towards Jews predates the creation of the State of Israel (see box opposite). In 1936-1937, Hassan al-Banna had already organised fundraising to help the Palestinians during the general strikes led by Sheikh Amin al-Husseini, in revolt against the British occupation. Ten years later, in October 1948, the first Muslim Brothers belonging to the Brotherhood’s “secret organisation” left to fight in Palestine in the name of the “holy war”. They were led by Saïd Ramadan, Hassan al-Banna’s son-in-law, and father of Tareq and Hani Ramadan.

From then on, the Muslim Brotherhood condemned all Egyptian Jews and made them “bear the burden of the crimes that the Zionist Jews perpetrated in Palestine. All the Jews in the world thus became opponents or enemies for the Brotherhood”, wrote Amr Elshobaki in “The Muslim Brotherhood from its origins to the present day7.

The Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1946, two years before the creation of Israel. Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder of Hamas in 1987, who was living in the Gaza Strip at the time, joined in 1967, during the Six Day War. Initially, he defended the “Islamisation of society”, through preaching and education, much more than “resistance to the occupation”, in accordance with the Muslim Brotherhood’s doctrine according to which one must first “prepare the generations” before engaging in combat. This is how Sheikh Ahmed Yassin set up the “Islamic Gathering”, ostensibly mainly devoted to religion. Hence the great mistake made by the Israeli authorities, who favoured the Islamist followers of Sheikh Yassin in order to weaken Yasser Arafat’s Fatah.

Viral anti-Semitism

But when Hamas was founded in 1987, in the tense context of the first intifada, the proponents of the “Qutbist” current [in reference to the Muslim Brother theorist of contemporary jihad, Sayed Qutb], the harder tendency of the Muslim Brotherhood, prevail: for them, re-Islamisation must first involve the liberation of Palestine. The following year, in its violently anti-Semitic charter, the Hamas called for a jihad against the Jews, the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic state. Even Mediapart, the French media, which is fiercely pro-Palestinian, noted in an article entitled “At the origins of the complex history of Hamas” that in 2009, Mahmoud al-Zahar, one of the main leaders of Hamas, “[still] defended the veracity of the Protocol of the Elders of Zion”8.

This viral anti-Semitism is hardly surprising: one of the main inspirers of Hamas is none other than the spiritual guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, who died in September 2022. Born in Egypt in 1926 and author of more than 120 works, including “The Lawful and the Unlawful in Islam”, he was considered to be the leading theologian of the political Islam dear to the Muslim Brotherhood.

From Doha, on the al-Jazeera channel, he never ceased to multiply his provocations. On 30 January 2009, Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi declared that “throughout history, Allah has imposed people on [the Jews] to punish them for their corruption. The first punishment was administered by Hitler. With all that he did to them – and although [the Jews] exaggerated the facts – he succeeded in putting them in their place. It was a divine punishment. Allah willing, the next time it will be by the hand of the believers”.

A few years later, the author of “The Lawful and the Unlawful in Islam” justified suicide bombings in Israel. And even though Islam formally forbids suicide, as well as attacking the elderly, women and children in times of war, Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi lends his support to Hamas, justifying their recourse to suicide attacks against Israeli civilians. “Hamas operations are jihad and those who [carry them out and] are killed are considered martyrs,” he declared in 2001. “Martyrdom operations are the weapon that God has given to the poor to fight the strong. It is divine compensation. [Israeli] society is a military society. Its men and women are soldiers in the army, who can be called up at any time. If a child or an elderly person is killed in operations, he or she is not targeted and it is by mistake, so […] absolute necessity lifts the prohibitions9”!

With such masters of thought, should we be surprised at “the extreme barbarity of the medieval and bloody raids perpetrated by Hamas on 7 October?5”, as “Screen Watch” wrote in the editorial of its October 2023 issue.

1. Pierre-André Taguieff, “Liaisons dangereuses. Islamo-nazisme, islamo-gauchisme”, published by Hermann, 2021.

2. L’Artilleur, 2015.

3. Roger Faligot, Rémi Kauffer, “Le croissant et la croix gammée”, Albin Michel, 1990.

4. Xavier Bougarel, “La division Handschar. Waffen SS de Bosnie 1943-1945”, Passés/composés, 2020.

5. Éditions Ellipses, 2015. Preface by Alain Chouet.

6. Karthala, 2009.

7. Rachida El Azzouzi, “Aux origines de l’histoire complexe du Hamas”, Mediapart, 16 October 2023.

8. Ian Hamel, “Youssef al-Qaradawi: the “moderate” who loved bloodshed!”, Global Watch Analysis, 5 October 2022.

9. “The urgent need to end to the occupation of Gaza by… Hamas!, Screen Watch n°38, October 2023.