The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas ruling Gaza said on Tuesday is to begin deducting the previously optional ‘zakat,’ or alms, from firms and individuals during Ramadan. The Zakat Foundation created by Hamas will begin deducting the money during the Muslim holy fasting month that begins on Thursday or Friday ‘from the taxes on firms,’ its chief Rami al-Khatib told AFP. ‘This will begin as an optional measure before becoming obligatory,’ he said, adding that the authorities would strive ‘not to increase the amounts’ to be deducted from individuals. Khatib said the aim was to ‘collect funds for zakat and distribute it to the poor.’ In the West Bank, the rival Palestinian Authority’s religious affairs minister Mahmud Habbash said the decision was illegal. ‘We warn citizens against this because it’s illegal,’ he told a news conference in the town of Ramallah. ‘What’s dangerous is that they want to oblige people to pay zakat and that’s illegal and raises many doubts.’ The move amounted to ‘a threat for zakat funds,’ he said.”
A post from last week reported that Hamas will be dominating Gaza summer camps this year after the U.N ran out of funds for the programs. In March of 2011, the U.K. based Daily Telegraph published an article titled “Gaza’s Elected Islamist Rulers Crack Down On Secular Community” which reported on the Islamization of Gaza under Hamas rule. A series of posts have also discussed the treatment of women under the Hamas regime in Gaza including the ban on men in women’s hairdressing salons and the ban on motorcycle riders from carrying women on the back seat and in May, an Israeli journalist reported further details on the treatment of women under the Hamas regime in Gaza.
The Hamas charter states that it “is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and in July 2011, Egyptian Brotherhood leader Dr. Essam al-Arian acknowledged the relationship between the Brotherhood and Hamas stating “The Muslim Brotherhood Group as a public Islamic organization is the umbrella for many Islamist movements, including Hamas” In June 2007, a Hamas journalist acknowledged the role that the “international Muslim Brotherhood” has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons for the organization.The Global Muslim Brotherhood supports Hamas through the Union of Good, a worldwide coalition of charities headed by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi.