HomeFeaturesDailyBriefingsRapidReconSpecial ReportsAbout Us

Magdi Khalil Takes On Islamist Rhetoric on al-Jazeera

ThreatsWatch recently featured Guest Commentary from Magdi Khalil, who appeared on al-Jazeera (video clip and translation courtesy of MEMRI TV) debating the forthrightness of Islmaists in democracy and overtures from Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who had said that Hamas' issues with Israel are now political and not religious.

Democracy, Mr. Faysal, consists of values and procedures. The ballot box is only one of the procedures. As for democratic values – to this day, none of the Islamic movements believe in them.


If you read the column by Khaled Mash'al in today's Guardian, you will encounter something completely different from the old Hamas discourse. They used to swear, by the sword and the Koran, to annihilate Israel. But today he wrote things that are completely different. He wrote: "We have no problem with Israel, our conflict is not a religious one." Hamas was established on the basis of the idea that the conflict is religious. There is even a Hadith that says that Judgment Day will come only when the Muslims kill the Jews, and then every tree will says: There is a Jew behind me, Oh servant of Allah, come and kill him - except for the whatchamacallit tree, which is a tree of the Jews. This Hadith is popular among Islamists, and appears in all the Islamist literature. All the Islamist literature refers to the annihilation of Israel, and to the Islamists' divine promise to fight and annihilate the Jews, and to destroy Israel.

All of a sudden, they say: No, the conflict is [not] a religious one. Khaled Mash'al wrote this in The Guardian: "The conflict between us is not religious, but political." This is what we've been saying for a long time - that the conflict is political. All of a sudden you are saying this is a political conflict?

It should not be overlooked that it takes no small amount of courage to speak so openly of such things within the region. At ThreatsWatch, we tip our hats to Magdi Khalil.


I don't know where did the Hadith [that allegedly calls for the total eradication of Jews] that Magdi Khalil refers to come from but it does not stand the test of history. Firstly, its message is so radical that if it was authentic then it would correlate with some similar express statement in the Muslim holy Book of Koran which is definitively authentic to all Muslims in terms of its contents.

Secondly, quite recently I learned at an interfaith conference that Prophet Muhammed had in his last days of life expressly stated that any Muslim whose hands are stained with the blood of an innocent 'Zimmi' [Jews & Christians] will not even get the smell of paradise. Thirdly, in the last days of his life Muslims' Prophet Muhammed due to recurrent disagreements with Jews of Medina had to ask them to leave the Medina territory although by that time he was head of state and sufficiently powerful to slaughter them all but he did not. Fouthly, in the dark ages of Europe whenever Jews had to flee persecution they fled to Muslim territories where they were well protected and lived happily[apparently]. In the face of these standard and authentic facts I do not propose to listen to the poisonous speeches of Mr Khalil and would prefer a peaceful and meaningful dialogue with Muslim brotherhood as well as Hamas!


Firstly, secondly, thirdly and fourthly, I would suggest to you that, regardless of any view on historical Islam, Hamas is today what Hamas is today, and that is a terrorist organization that wants to annihilate Israel and and uses the tactics of bombing buses, restaurants and discos in order to do it. If your historical/Islamic standard "that any Muslim whose hands are stained with the blood of an innocent ‘Zimmi’ [Jews & Christians] will not even get the smell of paradise " (which sounds like a fine and reasonable standard) is to be held today, then Hamas fails by leaps and bounds to meet it.

I recently learned at a one-man interfaith conference that Hamas had in their recent days of life expressly betrayed that standard, hands thoroughly bloodied.

Tel-Aviv suicide bombing at the Dolphin disco - 1-Jun-2001
Suicide bombing at the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem - 9-Aug-2001
Suicide bombing at the Ben-Yehuda pedestrian mall in Jerusalem - 1-Dec-2001
Suicide bombing on Haifa bus - 2-Dec-2001
Suicide bombing at Cafe Moment in Jerusalem - 9-Mar-2002
Passover suicide bombing at Park Hotel in Netanya - 27-Mar-2002
Suicide bombing at Patt junction in Jerusalem - 18-Jun-2002
August 4, 2002- 13 dead in a day of terror
Suicide bombing of No 20 Egged bus in Kiryat Menahem- Jerusalem
Suicide bombing of Egged bus No 37 in Haifa - 5-Mar-2003
A Wave of Suicide Bombings - May 17-19 2003
Palestinian Terrorism- A Wave of Suicide Bombings - May 17-19 2003
Suicide bombing of Egged bus No 14A in Jerusalem - 11-Jun-2003
Suicide bombing of No 2 Egged bus in Jerusalem - 19-Aug-2003
Suicide Bombings- Tzrifin and Jerusalem - September 9- 2003
Suicide Bombings- Tzrifin and Jerusalem - September 9- 2003
Suicide bombing of Egged bus no 19 in Jerusalem - 29-Jan-2004
Suicide bombing at Ashdod Port
Double bombing of buses in Beersheba - 31Aug2004

You make the error of attempting to use Islam to defend Hamas, which falls on its face, especially in the manner in which you have made the effort. Your use of Islam in defense of Hamas is as illogical as the use of Christianity in defense of the KKK.

In the face of these standard and authentic facts, you should not propose to listen to the poisonous speeches of the Muslim brotherhood as well as Hamas and should prefer a peaceful and meaningful dialogue with some other entity.

But it is wholly illogical to come in here and put forth the notion that Hamas is peaceful and faithful followers of the brand of Islam you offer up as evidence. They are surely faithful to something, but not that view.