January 10, 2003
In an article that appeared January 3, 2003, on the website of the Egyptian opposition newspaper al-Sha’ab, Hamas spokesman ‘Abd al-Aziz Al-Rantisi calls for Iraqis to confront the “Crusader” enemy with faith in Allah, unity, and an army of suicide bombers. As he writes, “There is no other way than to establish thousands of squads of martyrs, in a secret apparatus, who, from now, have at their disposal the capability, as well as thousands of sophisticated explosive belts, with powerful explosive [capacity] to cause great damage.” Rantisi explains, “The enemies of Allah and the enemies of this people are cowards. They crave life, while the Muslims crave martyrdom…. How great is the difference between those who seek martyrdom and those who seek [the life of] this world!” This difference, he writes, will spell the defeat of Iraq’s enemies.
Rantisi details what types of Iraqis are needed to take part in the suicide bomber army: “In order to defend the homeland from the terrorist Crusader attack, there is a need for people who yearn for Paradise, and the shortest way to Paradise is death for Allah.” The article in the Egyptian newspaper expresses a desire to see “the joyful and satisfied faces of the mothers in Iraq when they part from the fruit of their loins, who go off to the realms of honor, the realms of martyrdom…. that our mothers in Iraq, like our mothers in Palestine, [are willing] to sacrifice the fruit of their loins – but not their honor.”
How does one motivate an Arab to commit suicide bombings, and a mother to be “joyful and satisfied” when her son kills himself? The Hamas spokesman explains, “only by [studying] the Koran. The Koran is the most energizing [book] for heroism and honor, and there is no room in it for weakness and laxness. ‘Fight them; Allah will punish them at your hands, and will humiliate them, and will heal the hearts of the believers’ [Koran 9:14].” Koranic scholars, Rantisi writes, “can, by Allah’s will, as is happening in Palestine, shock the foundations of the enemy, whatever its strength. They can, with Allah’s help, defeat it, however cruel it is.” Such “operations” are beneficial specifically because of their terrorist quality, according to Hamas, because “horror is one of the causes of defeat.”
To this end, Rantisi calls on Iraq to “open your gates to the Jihad warriors, the sons of this Islamic nation, so that you will be able to carry out your mission by defending the land of the Muslims.” The battle, he contends, is not just for Iraq: “The defeat of the Crusaders in Iraq will stop their advance towards the rest of the Muslim lands. They aspire to cross the borders of Iraq and Palestine, and are not satisfied with controlling the land and natural resources.” They seek to destroy Islam, the al-Sha’ab article warns, “[A]fter the conquest of the land and the plundering of its natural resources they will target the faith of this nation. ‘They will not stop fighting you until they turn you back from your faith, if they can’ [Koran 2:217].” To the rest of the Muslim world, Rantisi writes, “The Jihad warriors must advance from everywhere to defend the land of Iraq.” Of course, Rantisi exempts Hamas from the battle in Iraq, writing, “Had we not been in battle against the [Israelis] in Palestine, our people in Palestine would be the first to come to the aid of our people in Iraq.”
The article, which pointedly ignores the role of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, summarizes the Hamas world-view by saying, “The battle in Iraq, like the battle in Palestine, is the battle of the [Islamic] nation. The nation must carry out its mission and utilize its capabilities to help Iraq. And I say to anyone subdued by reality: ‘Iraq will win, by Allah’s will.’”