Rooted in Ideology: Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood

CEP Analysis Traces the Brotherhood’s Impact in Palestinian Territories

(New York, NY) –– The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) today released a new report, the Muslim Brotherhood in the Palestinian Territories, as the terror group Hamas attempts to erase its connections to the worldwide Islamist group.

Hamas was established in 1987 by a group of Muslim Brotherhood activists. During a May 1 press conference in Qatar, Hamas unveiled a new policy document that did not mention the group’s origins in the Brotherhood movement. However, Hamas remains indelibly a Muslim Brotherhood institution, especially since the new document does not replace the original 1988 charter, which remains in effect and declares Hamas to be “one of the wings of the Moslem Brotherhood in Palestine.” Neither does the new policy document change Hamas’s commitment to violent “armed resistance” against Israel or the “liberation” of all of Palestine “from the river to the sea.”

On May 6, ensuring continuity in both ideology and strategy, Hamas chose as its next leader longtime group official Ismail Haniyeh. He replaces term-limited Khaled Meshaal. Haniyeh was already serving as deputy leader and was Hamas’s prime minister in Gaza from 2007-2014. The 2006 war with Israel occurred during Haniyeh’s rule.

Hamas is deeply rooted in the Brotherhood and the groups remain ideologically linked. The Muslim Brotherhood’s presence in the Palestinian territories dates back to the 1960s, when the group established a set of charities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

CEP’s report is the first in a series of resources examining the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood around the world.

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