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Focus on Islamism
Friday 4th September 2009
A Meeting of Violent Minds

BY ALEXANDER MELEAGROU-HITCHENS 

The Muslim World News (MWN) has provided a translation of a report by NowLebanon which covers a high level meeting in Beirut between between members of Hamas, Hizbullah, Hizb ut-Tahrir and the Lebanese Muslim Brotherhood.

Here is the MWN report in full:

On Monday, the liberal Lebanese online media outlet Now Lebanon reported on a recent private meeting which took place in Beirut during one of the evenings of Ramadan. The report is entitled ‘Meeting of Islamist leaders in Beirut to discuss "the ways to oppose the forthcoming American plan for settlement" '.

Leaders of Islamist movements from Palestine and Lebanon, such as al-Jama'a al-Islamiyya [the Lebanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood], Hizbullah, Hamas and Hizb-ut-Tahrir are reported to have met in order to discuss the current situation in the region, focusing on the attempts for reconciliation and President Obama's upcoming plan to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Islamist leaders who attended the meeting are reported to have agreed that "the new American plan aspires to liquidate the Palestinian problem, and poses one of the most dangerous American plans in the region. Therefore it needs to be opposed in all possible forms, in particular by increasing  acts of resistance [muqawama] and  opposing Israeli efforts towards a  normalisation of their relations with Arab countries as well as American involvement in such initiatives,"

The leaders, according to the report, also emphasised the "necessity to strengthen relations within Islam and reject any attempts to stir up sectarian war [fitna]; this way, the resistance front against the American plan will be strengthened".

According to the report, the leaders pointed out that the best way to start would be to organise two large meetings: the first, to react to the ‘monopolisation' of Palestinian leadership by President Abbas; and the second, to encourage the choice of resistance against American plans in the region. The report concludes by saying that the leaders agreed to keep in touch in order to further discuss these issues of mutual interest.

If accurate (NowLebanon is a highly reputable source), this  report is very revealing and the Focus on Islamism Blog is currently investigating this for more details.

This meeting is one of a number of recent examples where different Islamist groups have set aside past differences in order to fight the greater evils of Israel and America.  Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizbullah have been openly working together for a number of years.  Hizb-ut-Tahrir's involvement is perhaps the most striking as their past relationship with Hizbullah and Hamas can best be described as strained.  However, given that all of these groups share the same basic ideology, it is not suprising that they are willing to help eachother.

The purpose of this meeting is clear: to ensure continued violence against Israel and ruin Obama's plans for a peaceful settlement.  By definition, no Islamist group can accept a long-term peaceful coexistence with Israel as it would mean the recognition of a Jewish state on ‘Muslim lands'.  For Islamists, Jews have no place in the region unless they live as second class citizens under the control of an Islamic state.

Of course, the best way to destroy any chances for peace would be to step up acts of violence and the Arabic term muquwama, which is used in the NowLebanon report, refers specifically to armed resistance.

Meetings like this serve to illustrate the folly in treating Islamists as if they were rational, as it discounts the fact that these people are driven by a rigid religious ideology which compels them to force their totalitarian will on the world.  Obama must understand that there is absolutely nothing he can do to change this and even if he appeased their each and every demand, there will always be a grievance: that 'Islam' does not reign supreme.

amhitchens.standpoint@googlemail.com

 
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Ahmed
March 22nd, 2012
4:03 PM
Stern, Haganah and the others at their time 60 years ago were also considered armed resistance while committing terrorist atrocities towards civilians all over the region, and they were also fanatics driven by a rigid religious ideology.. So let's find another course of debate if we really want peace, not the blood sucking illusion of it.

Chris Blizzard
September 4th, 2009
7:09 PM
Interesting development. Of course, what Obama is probably NOT thinking is "Why aren't Al Qaeda at this meeting?" and he does not realise that these 'Parties of God' are all 'too liberal' for the AQAM and their recent operations show that even meetings such as this one in Beirut, represent an agenda which is too slow and 'softly, softly' for some Islamists. Expect an escalation of violence by several orders of magnitude on the West Bank as the next signal.

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About Focus on Islamism

Focus on Islamism is a blog dedicated to analysing and exposing the modern ideological phenomenon known as Islamism.

Shiraz Maher is a writer and broadcaster.

Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens is a PhD student at King's College, London.  He has contributed to various online and printed publications including, The Daily Telegraph, Lebanon's Daily Star, Standpoint and NOWLebanon. 

To contact the authors, click here

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