Global media is reporting on comments by an important Hamas leader who claimed that Hamas is independent of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. According to a UPI report:
Hamas is allied with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood but independent of it, leader Khaled Mashaal says. Speaking to al-Jazeera in Cairo in an interview broadcast Saturday after the signing of the Palestinian unity accord with Fatah, Mashaal said, ‘We are an independent organization different from any other in the world. ‘We are a national liberation movement with an Islamic background, and our aim is to free our land and to restore our right. Our historical background is related to the Muslim Brotherhood, but this should not lead to any confusion by some regional powers.’ Mashaal, who lives in Damascus, Syria, also said, ‘The main reason behind the deal is the feeling of being divided, a division that was not of our making but that we were forced to live with. ‘We have all suffered from the division, and from day one we were aiming toward real reconciliation, but it was not possible because of the involvement of other parties.’
According to a BBC profile, Mr. Mashaal (aka Khaled Meshaal) joined the Muslim Brotherhood in 1971:
“Mr Meshaal was born in 1956 in the village of Silwad, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Meshaal has been increasingly important since Sheikh Yassin diedHis father, like many other Palestinians, travelled to the Gulf emirate of Kuwait in the 1960s for work. His family followed after the area fell under Israeli occupation in 1967.At school, Mr Meshaal became involved in Palestinian and Islamic activism. He joined the Muslim Brotherhood in 1971.Mr Meshaal continued to take interest political Islam while studying physics at Kuwait University and he founded a student organisation called the List of the Islamic Right. After graduating in 1978, he spent a number of years teaching physics in Kuwait.In 1987, Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Gaza founded the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, in response to a mass uprising against the Israeli occupation. Mr Meshaal became increasingly involved with Hamas over the next few years, leading what was known as the Kuwait contingent of Palestinians who lived and worked there.
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In August 2009, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood had issued a similar statement claiming that Hamas was “an independent entity.”
The Hamas charter states that it is ” is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and an early media report indicated that shortly after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives were present to review Hamas military formations . In 2007, a Hamas journalist acknowledged the role that the “international Muslim Brotherhood” has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons and in 2008, an Israeli TV station reported that Muslim Brotherhood “representatives” had traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the open border to meet with Hamas. Hamas is supported financially and politically by the global Muslim Brotherhood and a NEFA Foundation report has documented the Hamas fund-raising activities of the Union of Good, a coalition of Islamic charities linked to the Brotherhood that provides financial support to both the Hamas “social” infrastructure, as well as its terrorist activities. Previous posts have also discussed the worldwide campaign orchestrated by the global Brotherhood against Israeli actions in Gaza during the 2008-2009 conflict with Israel.