Both terrorist organizations view jihad and suicide attacks as primary tools. Both terrorist organizations persecute and oppress non-Muslim minorities. Both organizations execute people who are suspected of supporting their opponents.

 Behind the headlines: Similarities between Hamas and ISIS


Copyright: MFA

Over the past few days, the issue of the similarities between the Hamas and ISIS terrorist organizations has been in the headlines.

The following points demonstrate the similarities between the two organizations:

Worldview and aspirations

  • Both terrorist organizations share a global expansionist worldview which aspires to establish a caliphate: a Muslim regime ruled by Sharia (religious Muslim laws).
  • Both organizations are extensions of global movements of radical Islam: Hamas is an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood while ISIS is an offshoot of al-Qaeda.

The centrality of the use of violence

  • Both terrorist organizations view jihad (holy war) and suicide attacks as primary tools for obtaining their goals. The meaning of the name Hamas is "the Islamic Resistance Movement" (the term "resistance" is a codeword for terrorism and armed struggle).
  • Both organizations have seized territory by force: Hamas took Gaza in a coup against the Palestinian Authority in 2007 and ISIS has taken control of large parts of Iraq and Syria.
  • Both organizations imposed radical Islamic rule on the territories they captured, through the use of armed force and violence devoid of any red lines. 
  • Both organizations have executed defeated opponents: Hamas murdered members of the Fatah Movement’s Force 17 following its takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007, while ISIS indiscriminately murdered Iraqi and Syrian soldiers after they surrendered. 
  • Both organizations terrorize the territories they control through intimidation, threats, executions and efforts to apply the most extreme Sharia laws, including the stoning of women suspected of adultery and the execution of homosexuals. ISIS is already applying these edicts, while Hamas parliament members have prepared legislation in this spirit. 
  • Both organizations educate (read: brainwash) children to sanctify death and to die as a martyr (shahid) in jihad.

Human rights and the oppression of minorities and women

  • Both terrorist organizations persecute and oppress non-Muslim minorities, including Christians. Christians have fled areas ruled by both of these organizations: the Mosul area in northern Iraq in fear of ISIS and the Gaza Strip in fear of Hamas.
  • Both organizations deliberately violate international law and human rights treaties. They do not hesitate to hurt civilians in the territories they control and aspire to kill as many civilians as possible in the areas they wish to dominate: Hamas fires thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians, while ISIS is ready to kill as many civilians as possible in order to conquer more land.

Intentions to commit genocide and mass war crimes

  • Both terrorist organizations strive to commit genocide against their opponents: Hamas has stated its intention to wipe Israel off the map and inscribed the killing of Jews in its charter, while ISIS commits systematic mass murder of populations in Iraq, including Christians, Yazidis and even fellow Muslims, especially Shiites.
  • Both organizations execute people who are suspected of being close to or supporting their opponents. ISIS executes all those who are suspected of sympathizing with Assad’s regime in Syria or the Iraqi government, while Hamas executes Palestinian opponents as well as anyone suspected of having ties with Israel.
    Even the executions themselves are similar – a "drum-head court martial" in which masked people violently murder the victim in a public area with the intention of terrorizing the public.