Abu Yahia al-Libi was criticizing Hamas, but the political leadership in the West would do well to ponder how much it might also resonate among Iraqis and their various foreign backers in the sectarian conflicts. “Al-Qaida criticizes Hamas,” by Omar Sinan for the Associated Press:
CAIRO, Egypt – An al-Qaida commander who escaped from a U.S. prison in Afghanistan appeared in a new videotape Sunday criticizing Hamas and other Islamic groups that he said prioritized nationalism and electoral politics over jihad, or holy war.
Hamas is focused on the creation of an independent Palestinian state rather than al-Qaida’s vision of a worldwide Muslim community ruled by Islamic law. Like al-Qaida, the Palestinian movement advocates violence to achieve its goal, but has also participated in elections alongside the moderate Palestinian Fatah group.
“We caution some of the Islamic groups, among them Hamas, which are risking the bloods of their sons … to cleanse and purify their jihad of contemporary jihadi pollutants,” said Abu Yahia al-Libi in the 90-minute videotape.
“Patriotism, nationalism, shared unity, the supreme interest and other slogans … none of these have any space in the religion of Allah the Glorious and the Great,” he said, criticizing groups such as Hamas for “abandoning jihad and jumping into the ballot boxes.”
The authenticity of the videotape could not be verified, but it was released on a Web site commonly used by Islamic militants and carried the logo of Al-Sahab, al-Qaida’s media arm.