Although Hamas is determined to implement Sharia in Gaza, some Muslims there are getting impatient. More on this story. “Pro-Qaeda group declares ‘Islamic emirate’ in Gaza,” by Nidal al-Mughrabi for Reuters, August 14 (thanks to James):
GAZA (Reuters) – Islamist radicals from a Palestinian group called Jund Ansar Allah defied the Hamas rulers of Gaza on Friday by declaring an “Islamic emirate” in the territory and staging a defiant display of arms.
Though the “Warriors of God” rallied only a few hundred men for their planned event at a Gaza mosque, it was the latest challenge to Hamas’s nationalist brand of Palestinian Islam by groups espousing a pan-Arab militancy aligned with al Qaeda.
Speaking before weekly prayers Abdel-Latif Moussa — known to his followers by the al Qaeda-style nom de guerre Abu al-Nour al-Maqdessi — announced the start of theocratic rule in the Palestinian territories, starting at Rafah where he lives on Gaza’s border with Egypt. He vowed to implement Islamic laws.
“We declare the birth of the Islamic Emirate,” declared Maqdessi, a heavily-bearded, middle-aged cleric in a red robe who was guarded by four black-clad, masked men with assault rifles. One wore what appeared to be an explosive suicide belt.
An audience of several hundred men filled the mosque with cheers and shouts. Al Qaeda uses the historical term “emirate” to mean clerical rule across the Islamic world.
Ismail Haniyeh, who heads Gaza’s Hamas government, denied in his Friday sermon that there were any non-Palestinian gunmen in the territory, as alleged by Israel which charges that veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken up residence.
“Such groups do not exist on the soil of the Gaza Strip … there are no fighters in Gaza except Gazan fighters,” he said.
Such “Zionist propaganda” from Israel was simply an attempt to turn the world against Hamas, he said….