THE THREAT OF ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM BACKGROUND MATERIAL IDF SPOKESMAN/INFORMATION BRANCH FEBRUARY 1993 INTRODUCTION Militant fundamentalist Islamic organizations have gathered considerable strength during the last decade. In the name of Islam, these groups have embarked upon a path of violence and terrorism. The extremist Islamic organizations known as the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, operate from the Israeli administered territories (West Bank and Gaza) against Israeli targets.* On December 13, 1992, the Hamas carried out the brutal kidnapping and murder of the late Nissim Toledano. The same week, the Hamas carried out five additional killings, which, when added to its previous acts of murder, brought their terrorist activity to a new peak. Acts of kidnapping and murder illustrate the central and dominant objective of this organization -- and of the various factions of the Islamic Jihad -- which is to bring about the liquidation of the State of Israel through Jihad (Holy War). Those acting on behalf of militant Islamic organizations have in recent years killed and wounded civilians and soldiers through stabbing, axe blows, strangulation and shooting. Among the victims were a 15 year-old girl and elderly persons aged 70 and over. These organizations have also murdered many dozens of Arab residents of the territories who, according to them, were either suspected of having contact with Israeli entities, or of failure to abide by the norms of personal conduct binding upon them according to the teachings of these radical Islamic groups. The Hamas is a secret organization which combines the most extreme Islamic fundamentalism with absolute opposition to any settlement with Israel or recognition of it, and preaches the destruction of the State of Israel. The Preamble of the Hamas Covenant (published in 1988) declares that 'Israel exists and will continue to exist only until Islam will obliterate it, as it obliterated others before it.' The aim of the organization is the re-establishment of an Islamic Caliphate over the whole area of Palestine 'from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River'. In its Covenant (Chapter III), the Hamas states that 'Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [sacred possession] consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, cannot be renounced; it, or any part of it, cannot be abandoned. ... This is the law governing the land in Islamic Sharia [holy law] and this holds true for all lands that Muslims have conquered by force.' Holy war (Jihad), in the form of 'armed struggle' including murder, is regarded as the sole and immediate means of achieving this goal; any settlement with the Israeli entity amounts to treachery and a surrender of the principles of Islam. The Hamas organization is based on local religious leaders who give religious legitimization and provide a conceptual foundation for the terrorism in which the organization engages. Among its ranks are members of liberal professions who 'guide' the group's activities and provide the resources necessary for it to function. The Hamas is aided by front organizations which serve as sources for the mobilization of manpower, and which conceal its covert activities (i.e., the transfer of funds). There has been constant escalation in the number of murders and in the amount of sabotage perpetrated by the Hamas. Opportune kidnapping and the murder of its victims have become prevalent characteristics of their modus operandi. The Islamic Jihad movement, in all its factions, is no different than the Hamas in its character and objectives. As emerges from the statements of its leaders and its publications, this movement views the 'Zionist Jewish entity' embodied in the State of Israel as a prime enemy, and action to liquidate it should be taken immediately. This movement has also given expression to its ambitions in dozens of acts of murder and terrorism. Apart from the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, there are also underground groups and organizations active within Arab countries and Islamic states - including Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Algeria, Tunisia and Sudan. These organizations, through their growing strength, present a direct threat to Arab governments. Some of these governments are confronting them in a bitter struggle for survival. In recent years, these groups have also taken root in the West -- in Europe and in the U.S.A. This booklet outlines the activities of these organizations, especially in Arab and Muslim states, and presents background material on the danger and the potential threat which they present. *Further background material on the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad Movement is available upon request. .../. EXTREME FUNDAMENTALIST ISLAMIC ORGANIZATIONS: THEIR AIMS, SOCIAL BACKGROUND AND IDEOLOGY The growth of extremist fundamentalist organizations may be linked first and foremost to the social and economic problems which have characterized large parts of the Arab and Muslim world in the past few decades. In addition, an ideological vacuum was created with the recent collapse of communism and socialism in the Eastern Bloc. This collapse was preceded by internal and foreign policy failures by Arab regimes which, over the past century, had drawn their ideological inspiration from 'foreign' concepts such as liberalism and socialism. These hardships have led many Arabs and Muslims to embrace radical Islam, which offered them an escape from the difficulties of daily life, hope for social justice and the expectation that religion would provide the answer to all their aspirations. While the general trend of 'returning to Islam' aims to correct society in a step-by-step fashion and to instill the values of the religion as a way of life, the extremist Islamic organizations have turned the phenomenon into a lever to fulfill political aims -- whether through democratic process in order to gain power by legal means, or through terrorism and other illegal means. The fundamentalist Islamic organizations draw ideological justification for their actions from the principles of Islam, some of which imply the aspiration to establish a single great Islamic empire ('Uma Islamia'). This nation would be founded upon Islamic law - Sharia - which dictates an entire lifestyle. From this point of departure, extremist fundamentalist Islam calls for all-out war against the 'infidel' Westerners - which are termed 'worshippers of the Cross and new crusaders' - wherever and whomever they may be. A central precept of this extremism fundamentalist Islamic ideology is the complete destruction of the State of Israel ('The Lesser Devil'). The war against Israel is presented as both an obligation and a religious commandment. It is considered a Holy War - Jihad. The U.S.A. ('The Grand Devil') and the European states are also a focus of these groups' attacks, and Western governments are now becoming more aware of this threat. The extreme Islamic organizations are maintained mainly by Iran, the principle supporter of Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East in particular, and throughout the world in general. This Iranian aid comes mainly in the form of manpower, training, financing, provision of equipment and ideological direction. THE FUNDAMENTALIST MOVEMENTS IN THE ARAB AND MUSLIM WORLD Terrorist activities and violence by fundamentalist organizations are not confined to Western targets. The activities of these organizations have spread throughout the Middle East and Africa. They present a genuine danger to the stability of many regimes in the region, and are involved in a tireless struggle to subvert government authority, whether by exploiting the democratic process through parliamentary elections or by employing terrorism aimed at destabilizing and toppling the regime. Due to their actions, these militant organizations have been able to restrict the domestic and foreign policy of moderate Arab governments, and as a result, have limited Arab flexibility regarding the Middle East peace process and recognition of the State of Israel. The following is a survey of the activities of extreme Islamic organizations in Muslim and Arab countries and the steps that have been taken against them. Egypt Egypt's struggle against extremist Islamic groups dates back to the beginning of the present century and coincides with the development of the Egyptian nationalist movement. The 'Muslim Brotherhood', founded at the beginning of the century and led by Hassan el-Bana, aimed to expel the British 'infidels' from Egypt. Later the group formed underground cells which operated against the new Egyptian government, established as Egypt gradually gained independence. Over the years, Egypt has known ups and downs in its dealings with Islamic fundamentalism within its borders, but these organizations have always constituted a threat against it. During critical periods, the Egyptian government has taken severe action against the extremist Islamic organizations and has fought an all-out battle against them, which included the use of long prison sentences, expulsions and capital punishment. Egypt's role in the peace process with Israel, as a pioneer among the among Arab states, did not deter the fundamentalist organizations. In fact, they have stepped up their activities as a result. The struggle against extremism -- which has increased with the economic problems, with the heavy unemployment and with Sudanese and Iranian inspiration -- has lately become the major issue with which the Egyptian government has had to deal. Today, Egyptians are threatened by Islamic fundamentalism on both a personal and a political level. Within Egypt, the consequences of Islamic extremism are most felt in the damage to tourism and through internal terrorism. On the regional plane, the Egyptian authorities are well aware of the danger presented by Islamic extremism abroad, which is felt in the ominous Iranian-Sudanese connection, as well as in the ramifications of recent events in Algeria. During the past months, the confrontation between Egyptian security forces and radical Islamic groups has intensified. Most of the government's actions have been concentrated in Upper Egypt. In that region, numerous terrorist operations had been directed against specific individuals, notably against tourists (one tourist was killed and two wounded) and minority groups (primarily Copts - 18 killed, 35 wounded). The most active fundamentalist faction has been the 'Palestinian Islamic Jihad', which has directed most of its recent attacks against tourists. One of its factions was responsible for the fatal 1990 assault against an Israeli tour bus in Ismailiya. The most prominent assassination in 1992 was that of the Copt spiritual leader Faraj Foudah, who was considered to be one of the leading opponents of the extremists in Egypt. In addition there was an assassination attempt against the Director of the Tareh Prison, where Muslim extremists are held. In addition, Egyptian security forces have uncovered an assassination list including many other political and spiritual leaders. The Egyptian regime has adopted an iron fist policy against extremist organizations -- - On the Military Level: Intensive operations, including searches, arrests and the confiscation of weapons. - On the Legal Level: Increasing the severity of penalties against those convicted of terrorist activities and increasing the freedom of action allowed to security forces. - On the Public Level: The use of the media and mosques to warn the Egyptian public against the dangers inherent in the activities of extremist organizations. Algeria Algeria has proven to be the 'weak link' among the Maghreb nations, in its vulnerability to the activities of Islamic extremists. The reason for this being the dire economic situation in the country and its long-standing enmity towards the West. Algeria is a glaring example of a country politically susceptible to the growth of Islamic fundamentalism, as was illustrated by the attempt of an Islamic political party to win power through democratic elections. At the end of 1991, the Front Islamique du Salut (F.I.S.), a coalition of ten Islamic political parties, gained the majority of votes in the first round of elections. Consequently, the Algerian army seized control of the government, declared the election results invalid and prevented the second round of elections. Six months before the elections, warning signs of what would happen should the F.I.S. win power were already present. In June 1991 the F.I.S. began to incite the population and called for strikes and total rebellion in order to prevent the elections which had been called for the following month. During the subsequent rioting, fifty people were killed, the F.I.S. leadership and activists were arrested and a state of emergency declared. The year following the elections was one of violence and bloodshed. The most telling example of this was the June 29, 1992 assassination of Mohammed Boudiaf, the President of the High State Committee which was backed by the military. At the end of 1992, one year after the army seized power, the regime took a number of steps: *All organizations and institutions supporting the F.I.S. were disbanded. *A nightly curfew on the country's seven main districts, including the capital Algiers was declared. *Local committees to replace local bodies controlled by the F.I.S. were appointed. *1,200 Islamic activists were detained. A further 100 turned themselves in to the police. *Special courts to deal with terrorists were established. A new anti-terrorist law was passed empowering stiffer punishments. This law also made provisions for capital punishment. *A special anti-terrorist unit under the command of a general (who serves as an advisor to the Defense Minister) was established, following a large explosion at Algiers airport. Despite the above steps, there was no improvement in the internal security situation. Attacks continued on government institutions, installations and security personnel (some 250 members of the security forces were been killed in 1992). In an especially serious incident on December 14, 1992, an attempt to kill the Defense Minister was foiled. Since then, he and his family have been living in a military installation. Finally, fundamentalist groups marked the anniversary of the army's seizing power by murdering five Algerian policemen. Jordan Since the establishment of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Islamic fundamentalist movement, headed by the Muslim Brotherhood, has been active in the country. Their activities have usually been carried out with the knowledge and permission of the Jordanian authorities (and sometimes with their encouragement and under their patronage), and the movement developed slowly and moderately. However, when the threat of Islamic extremists grew, King Hussein of Jordan took stiff measures against extreme Muslim organizations, and at various times they were fiercely confronted. Against the backdrop of a worsening economic situation, and inspired by the Khomeini revolution in Iran, the fundamentalist movement in Jordan gathered strength during the 1980s. As a result, the Muslim Brotherhood achieved a number of political successes. In the 1989 parliamentary elections they won more than one-third of the seats, brought about the election of one of their members as speaker of parliament, and consolidated their strength in the trade union movement and on campuses. During the Gulf War, they mobilized public opinion in support of Iraq. This forced the king to adopt a stand in support of support of Saddam Hussein, and to cooperate with the Iraqi dictator. It is doubtful that King Hussein would have done this of his own free will. The virulent attacks by the Brotherhood against the U.S.A. and Israel were indicative of this period. Today Hussein is attempting as much as possible to avoid any head-on clash with the Brotherhood. To an extent, he has allowed it to integrate into the legitimate political framework. Despite this, the government has been closely monitoring their activities and has not hesitated to arrest activists suspected of possessing weapons or of involvement in subversive activity against the state. Lately, the authorities have even arrested several members of parliament from the Islamic factions, suspected of subversion. In addition to the Brotherhood, but less influential than it, are a number of other extreme organizations -- * The Islamic Liberation Party * Muja'a'dun fi-Sabil Allah (The Army of Muhammed) The government has been fighting these organizations by using various methods, and has imprisoned some leading activists. Lebanon The Hizbollah is the dominant extremist organization in Lebanon. It draws inspiration and funding from Iran. Like other extremist organizations, this Shi'ite group has drawn strength and popularity from the long-standing discrimination against Shi'ites in the country, coupled with a difficult economic situation. In various instances, evidence indicates that Hizbollah operates with the knowledge of Damascus, which have turned a blind eye to its actions on more than one occasion. In recent times, especially following events in Algeria, the organization has decided to involve itself in Lebanese politics. In the recent Lebanese Parliamentary elections, the Hizbollah representatives succeeded in gaining 12 seats in the parliament. Additional extremist groups operating in Lebanon are factions of the Islamic Jihad, which are active within the Palestinian refugee camps. They maintain operational coordination with the Hizbollah. (Further background material on the Hizbollah and the Islamic Jihad is available upon request.) Iraq Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator, has shown that he is well aware of the dangers presented to his rule by Islamic fundamentalism. He has conducted total war against extreme Islamic-Shi'ite elements ever since seizing power in 1979. Though no outward signs of Islamic fundamentalism are prevalent in Iraq today, Saddam did not hesitate to exploit the flocking of the masses to religion in order to call for Jihad in the name of Islam against Israel and the coalition forces during the Gulf War. The Shi'ite 'el-Daawa' political party, the main opposition body, has been forced underground. Many of its members were already executed in the early 1980s, following an assassination attempt made against the Information Minister at the time. Saudi Arabia The Gulf War, the presence of U.S. troops on Saudi Arabian soil and the uncovering of corruption in the royal family has strengthened Muslim extremists. The fundamentalist message is spread by preaching in mosques, distributing cassettes and petitions against the regime. Noteworthy in this regard is the memorandum that Saudi religious extremist elements presented to King Fahd which calls for the end of corruption and the further Islamization of Saudi Arabia. Sheikh Abd el-Aziz, the leading religious personality in the kingdom, also signed the document. In March 1992 the regime introduced a number of reforms, including a decision in principle to set up a Shura Council (an attribute of Islamic religious government). In conjunction with those moves, wide freedom of action was given to the 'Morality Squads' which operate to enforce behavioral standards in accordance with religious norms. The Saudi government works to attract the clerical class through the granting of material benefits and the reduction of public ties between it and the West. Syria The struggle between the Syrian regime and Islamic extremists operating in the country was evidenced in the harsh oppression and the slaughter in the city of Hama, one of Moslem Brotherhood's main centers of activity. According to various estimates, between 10,000 - 30,000 civilians and 8,000 Syrian soldiers died in the incident. After this event, the Islamic Movement in Syria was greatly weakened. The Sunni stream of Islamic fundamentalists, the most dangerous to the regime, operates today in several secret cells which are constantly pursued by the authorities. Lately, the possibility has been raised of establishing a religious party that would operate under the patronage of the state. However, for the time being, no decision has been made. Sudan The Islamization of Sudan began in 1988. Today, Sudan is governed as an Islamic state. For example, the regime has forbidden consumption of alcohol, and government offices are closed during Friday prayers. Punishment is meted out in accordance with Islamic law, and Islamic penalties, such as floggings, are administered in public. Sudan maintains a special relationship with Iran. The latter provides Sudan with considerable aid, both financially and militarily. According to reliable reports, thousands of Iranian troops are involved in the regime's struggle against rebels in the south. During the past year, Khartoum has channelled considerable resources into exporting the Islamic Revolution. In January 1993, Sudan hosted a joint conference of the Hamas and the PLO in order to discuss the question of Israel's temporary exclusion of Hamas activists from the territories. This conference was held under the patronage of Tour'abi, the leading figure in Sudanese Islamic fundamentalism. Iran Even though the Khomeini revolution was Shi'ite in nature, it had a widespread influence on the entire Islamic world and inspired the awakening of extreme Islamic fundamentalism in other countries. Despite the purportedly pragmatic nature of Rafsanjani's regime, Teheran still views itself obligated to a policy of exporting the Islamic Revolution to other countries. Consequently, Iran has lately become the main source of subversion in the Islamic world in general, and in the Middle East in particular. The influence of its ideological zeal is felt in a large number of countries. These include Lebanon, Jordan (and through it to the West Bank and Gaza), Sudan (reaching into Egypt), the countries of the Horn of Africa and the Maghreb (especially Algeria and Tunisia) and Black African states. While Iranian ideology supports the establishment of a revolutionary Islamic state, the Teheran regime has avoided any deliberate public challenge to the sovereignty of Arab-Muslim countries. .../. STATMENTS ATTRIBUTED TO MUSLIM FUNDAMENTALISTS REGARDING ISRAEL AND THE PEACE PROCESS lbrahim Ghousha, HAMAS Spokesman (Dec. 1991): 'I am in favor of true peace and justice which will return to the Palestinian people its land and honor. This can only take place after the foreign conquerors [the Jews] return to the countries from which they came.' Fathi Shkaki, Head of the Shkaki Faction of the Islamic Jihad (Kihahn el-Arabi, Sep. 1991): 'Our tactical and strategic objective is to liberate Palestine, and therefore, the composition of the peace delegation is of no interest to us. The task of the 'Islamic Jihad' or any other patriotic Islamic group is to escalate the level of the uprising and popular resistance against Israel and to mobilize the masses against the peace process.' Abd el-Rahman Khalifa, Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan (Sep. 1991): 'We were the first to call for Jihad [Holy War] when the [peace] negotiations began. These negotiations are designed to humiliate the Arabs and Muslims. Our role is to make people aware of what is going on, so that they will not accept the status-quo and the humiliation.' In an interview to the newspaper el-Aa'lam (Nov. 1991) he stated: 'The Palestinian issue is a festering wound in the chest of the Muslims. The Jews used the British to take control of Palestine and to create a foreign body in the heart of the Arab world that would protect the route to India for them. They deceived the Islamic world to think that Israel was established to provide a refuge for Jews, but the Arab world was aware of this base plot from the first day. We are sorry to say that Arab leaders behaved in the way that the British and the imperialist nations wanted until we have reached the crisis that exists today. Islam forbids the giving up to foreigners of any part of Muslim land, whether in Palestine or anywhere else. Jihad is the obligation of all Muslims when called for by a Muslim leader. Today we are beholden to the Islamic republic of Iran.' Abd el-Latif Arabiat, Speaker of the Jordanian Parliament and a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood (el-Dustor Aug. 1991): 'The Palestinian problem is a problem for all Moslems. Palestinian land is holy to Muslims. It is forbidden to bargain over it or show contempt for it. The Jews won't give up even one grain of occupied land. We in Jordan carry a great responsibility. We have an extremely valuable possession entrusted in our hands. The only option open to us is to be the soldiers of Allah, who show patience and to fight for it [the land].' From a statement issued by the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan (Oct. 1991): 'The whole of Palestine, from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River is holy, non-negotiable and not to be given up. No regime, organization, conference or council has the right to sign away even one grain of it, and to recognize Jewish presence on sacred ground. Any formula on ceding [land] or recognizing [Israel] is totally invalid. The conqueror has no legal rights in this regard. We call on the Islamic nation to stand alongside the Palestinian people, to atone for abandoning the Palestinian fighter and to assist the uprising with all its strength. In this way, Allah's promise that all Palestine will be Islamic, Arab and free will be fulfilled.' From an article entitled 'Jerusalem' in the Saudi newspaper el-Aa'alem el-Islami (Dec. 1991): 'We strive for that day -- hoping that it will come soon -- in which Allah will restore justice. The downtrodden will deal with those who have spread corruption and crime throughout the world. We know that there is no doubt that this day will come and that all forces -- humans, animals, plants and the inanimate -- will cooperate in getting rid of this Zionist plague which has spread. We are witness to its beginning. We draw this from the words of the prophet: 'The Muslims will fight the Jews until the stone and the tree will say to the Muslim: A Jew is standing behind me, come and take him and kill him.'' From an editorial in Li'wa al-Islam by the Head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. (Oct. 1991): 'The Zionist enemy insists on making a bloody link between the Palestinian issue and the crisis in the Gulf, as was expressed in the massacre in Jerusalem. These were the circumstances that allowed the enemy, taking advantage of the Arabs' preoccupation with the Gulf crisis and in the shadow of American and international presence in the region, to begin 'Judaizing' Jerusalem. They are planning to destroy the el-Aksa Mosque and to build their Temple. The U.S. support for the Zionist enemy means that it has lost the trust of the weaker nations. In fact, Arab nations are protecting the Zionist enemy in its Jihad against Muslim youth and their brothers within Palestine. 'We call upon the Muslim people to hurry in carrying out their statements for Palestine and the el-Aksa mosque. We call upon the governments of Arab and Muslim countries to make the U.S. and other nations that support the enemy realize our seriousness and determination regarding the liberation of the occupied land and the withdrawal of the enemy. 'O you steadfast Palestinian people. Let the blood of the victims be the 'fuel' that will increase the strength of the uprising so that the enemy will not be able to rest until it leaves your lands and we will be able to build your state upon your land.' Mustapha Mashour, Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader, in the paper el-Shaab (Oct. 1991): 'Normalization of the situation with the Zionist enemy is unacceptable, whether in terms of the open relationships or the secret ones. The Egyptian people will not accept this creeping evil. Corruption and debauching is inherent in every cell of the Zionist body and they have no desire to be forthcoming. They are using the most disgraceful methods to achieve their wicked aims. Their black history shows this. The Koran even tells us about them. No one will be led astray by them, unless they don't know them or they have been bought by a love of money or lust. 'They are striving to destroy all the values of the nation, the morals and honor of the Arabs, in order to establish their nation between the Nile and the Euphrates and as far as Medina. 'Therefore it is unacceptable that the benefits given to Jews upon their entry into Egypt were taken away from those arriving from Muslim countries. In addition, the visits taking place between the two countries are unacceptable. They are a glaring provocation to the Muslim Egyptian people. This normalization must stop completely. We must close up this opening to evil.' Dr. Sheikh Amar Abd el-Rahman, the Spiritual Leader of the 'Jihad' Movement in Egypt (now residing in the US), in the weekly el-Alam, published in London (Dec. 1990): 'The Islamic group in Upper Egypt has become a fact. It is expanding and thousands are embracing its ideas. 'The Camp David agreements have allowed the Zionists to operate in Egypt and they have corrupted everything. They have introduced prostitution, spread diseases like AIDS, caused economic destruction and forgery of the currency, and photographed economic and military sites. The Jews have penetrated every aspect of life in Egypt, as a result of the government's policy. This policy has made the Zionists their 'nearest and dearest,' despite the fact that they [the Jews] hate Muslims and Palestinians. Those among them who are caught are sent to prison or delivered to Israel. 'Hundreds of people have sacrificed themselves and fallen for Allah. It is the responsibility of all Muslims to come from all directions to assist their brothers in the el-Aksa mosque and to do away with the borders that protect Israel and have been created by the infidels and despots. All Muslims are obligated to participate together with their brothers in Palestine and the el-Aksa mosque in the extermination of the blood-letters, the murderers of the prophets and the great enemies of the faithful.' From a letter sent by Sheikh Abd el-Rahman to his followers from his base in the US: 'This sabotage [of the Egypt's tourist industry] is the most effective tool at the present time to undermine the economy and to prevent Egypt from benefiting from foreign currency.' Muhammed Fakri, in the Saudi newspaper el-Nadwah (Dec. 1991): 'The history of negotiations between the Jews and Arabs is a long one, with its roots in the distant past with the dawning of Islam, when Muhammed immigrated from Mecca to Medina. The Jews were known for their corruption and for violating pacts .... Treachery flows in the blood in their veins. 'Adolph Hitler, in a well known statement, said of the Jews 'Treachery is natural to them.' Treaties and agreements bind them only temporarily. They then plot how to free themselves from their obligations.' Dr. Ahmad Shalabi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Head of the Department of Islamic History and Culture at Cairo University: 'In the framework of the first treaty in history between Jews and Arabs, the Yitrab Pact, which was violated by the Jews, Muhammed initiated a pact between the three religions in al-Medina. The treaty regulated the relationship between the three groups (the Jews, the non-Muslims, and Muslims) in matters relating to freedom of worship, economic cooperation and offered solutions to possible future disagreements between the three sects. 'The clear message from this incident was that it was impossible to put any trust in the Jews or in treaties with them. They regard the treaty as a temporary solution. Therefore they are constantly plotting how to violate the treaty. This is known regarding the links of the Jews with other faiths, and not only with the Muslims in all the countries that gave sanctuary to the Jews. They betrayed Spain and Germany in a big way. 'Adolph Hitler committed no crime and did no wrong when he beat off the attacks of the Jews on his country.' CONCLUSION 1. Extremist Islamic fundamentalism has developed during the last few years as a by-product of the rise in the strength of Islam throughout the Arab and Muslim world. These movements have grown in the countries in question because of socio-economic problems, stagnant economies, unemployment and social instability. Islamic fundamentalism has exploited the frustration of the masses due to the inability of the Arab governments to solve these socio-economic problems. 2. The 'return to religion' is a phenomenon which has gathered strength in recent years because of the situation described above. While this movement aims to impart religious values as a way of life and to persistently and continuously 'correct' society, the militant fundamentalist groups seek to realize political goals under the cloak of religion. They act under the guise of religion and through exploitation of the weakness of the public at large who seek out their Islamic 'message'. 3. In order to realize their aims, these extremist Islamic organizations have resorted to terrorism and violence. They have employed various means in their effort to subvert the governments of their respective countries, including exploiting the democratic process (Jordan and Algeria) and inciting popular unrest. 4. The ideological concepts for their actions are derived from the principles of Islam. The enlightened world is tolerant of all religions, believing that all men should be free to live according to their own faith. However, fundamentalist Islam construes Islamic doctrine in an extreme manner according to which Islamic law should be enforced worldwide, even by means of violence and terrorism if necessary. Islamic fundamentalism has made its religious doctrine into a tool to advance its own interests. The statements made by its leaders are all characterized by the extremity of their accusations against the West and Israel, and against the peace process. These statements are accompanied by anti-semitic declarations of the most extreme type. They call for uncompromising armed struggle against Israel and its complete destruction. 5. Extremist Islamic fundamentalism directs its activities against western targets in general and Israel in particular, but it is also involved in attempts to subvert governments in the Muslim and Arab world as well. The strengthening of militant Islamic fundamentalism threatens these nations, undermines their stability and limits their ability to maneuvre in foreign and domestic affairs, including their positions regarding the Middle East peace process. 6. These states are well aware of the danger presented by Islamic fundamentalism and they have mobilized in order to restrain it. Leaders in the countries where the danger is a reality have not hesitated to take strong measures against these groups and, in many cases, have become involved in an all-out battle against extreme Islamic fundamentalism. 7. In an era in which the threat of weapons of mass destruction has become a reality, the dangers inherent in Islamic fundamentalism embody grave significance. . ===================================================================== Information Division, Israel Foreign Ministry - Jerusalem Mail all Queries to [email protected] URL: gopher:// =====================================================================