On August 30, 2012, on the eve of the start of the new school year, Hamas’s Education Ministry launched a program titled ‘Futuwwa' in the government high schools for boys in Gaza, in cooperation with the National Security force, which is subordinate to the Interior Ministry. The program is currently intended for high school boys, but in the future it may also be extended to girls and to junior high schools. The program’s goals are to inculcate values of courage, sacrifice and love of jihad, and to train the pupils in combat skills. It has sparked criticism from pupils and parents in Gaza, as well as from columnists, experts, and educators, who saw it as an attempt to raise a generation of militant Hamas supporters. Teaching Military Skills, Inculcating Discipline And Values The program was presented at a convention attended by Education Ministry officials and the National Security commander and officers. The Education Ministry’s director of curricula, Muhammad Sayyam, said that each school would be assigned a National Forces officer who would teach the pupils along with the physical education teacher. He added that the Futuwwa program has two parts: a practical part, involving the teaching of military skills through activities like marching, foot drills, obstacle courses, war games and civil defense exercises; and a theoretical part, involving classes on military values like order, cleanliness, discipline, obedience, sacrifice, patriotism, manliness, courage, morality, security and society, confidentiality and precautions against enemy spies. On another occasion, Sayyam said that a program of this sort had been implemented in Gaza under Egyptian rule, but had been discontinued after the Israeli occupation in 1967. He also said that the ministry intended to extend the program to girls’ schools.
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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.