MidEast

After Ordering Leaders to Stop Pissing Off Egyptian Army, Hamas Instructs Gaza Preachers to Take Things Down a Notch

Earlier this week Hamas’s external leadership ordered its political echelon to stop antagonizing the Egyptian army.

The Iran-backed terror group is an off-shoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and has been in a tailspin since the Brotherhood-linked government of former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi lost power. Hamas figures had begun openly lashing out against the Egyptian army responsible for deposing Morsi, triggering a potentially existential crisis when Cairo launched its own media campaign and took military action against Hamas’s interests.

Just this week, Egyptian state television accused Hamas of teaching terror tactics to Egypt’s Islamists. The Egyptian military has an ongoing campaign along the border between Egypt and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, targeting among other things the lucrative smuggling tunnel that Hamas taxes for critical revenue.

So now it’s the turn of Gaza preachers to get told to tone things down:

The Hamas Islamist group ruling Gaza sought to ease tensions with Cairo on Wednesday by ordering Muslim preachers to mute their criticism of the Egyptian government over what some of the clerics have called its war on Islam. “Preachers should avoid speaking of the internal affairs of Egypt and focus on our Palestinian national issues and our struggle for the liberation of our land and the freedom of our prisoners (held by Israel),” said Ismail Rudwan, the Hamas-appointed religious affairs minister in Gaza. He told Reuters he delivered that message in meetings he had held with scores of preachers in mosques in the southern Gaza Strip, and planned to see more clerics in other parts of the Palestinian territory.

[Gigi Ibrahim / Flickr]