Who ever said the Islamic fundamentalists that lead Hamas opposed equal rights for women? Mindful of the coming Palestinian elections, Hamas has begun to encourage Palestinian women to carry the banner of jihad and participate in terrorist attacks, according to the Daily Telegraph: (thanks to Sr. Soph)
They wear the long skirts and head coverings of modest Muslim women, but their draped robes are camouflage khaki and their scarves the distinctive lime green colour of the Palestinian militant group, Hamas.
Their shoulders bear the weight not of bags or babies carried by their more traditional peers, but rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.
This is Hamas’s armed women’s wing, newly formed in the Gaza Strip and trained to use explosives and light arms for the “love of jihad”.
“We joined with only one single aim: jihad and resistance,” a veiled spokeswoman told the official Hamas newspaper, Al Risala, as the troop paraded at a secret location in the territory recently re-occupied after Israel’s disengagement.
The female wing of Hamas is being led by Rasha Rantisi, wife of Hamas leader Abdelaziz Rantisi who was assassinated by the Israelis last year. Her words echo the fanaticism of her late husband:
“The role of women in jihad is to encourage their sons and husbands to participate. But women also have the right to wage jihad,” Mrs. Rantisi said.
Mrs. Rantisi is animated as she describes the growing opportunities for Hamas women. “I speak for my sisters. Hamas has always honoured women, but now the time has come for Hamas to give a role to women,” she said. “We can participate in health and education, and politics too.”
Mrs. Rantisi is inflexible about the need for religious law in the Palestinian territories. Any Hamas bloc in the 132-seat legislative council will press for sharia law. “I will not accept secularism,” she said.
On Israel, too, Mrs. Rantisi is unwavering. “I refuse any compromise,” she said. “The liberation struggle will continue until we liberate all our land. Even if we enter elections our weapons will not grow dusty against Israel.”