Arab Support for Hamas in the Israeli-Hamas Conflict Waning

2014 Ramadan Prayer Day 20The current conflict between the nation of Israel and the terrorist group, Hamas in the Gaza Strip has sparked criticism of Hamas in Arab media. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports, “Arab media voiced sharp and extensive criticism of the Hamas leadership’s handling of the crisis. …Media in Saudi Arabia and in Al-Sisi’s Egypt…accused Hamas of taking unreasonable and irresponsible steps, of trading in the blood of the people of Gaza, and of exposing them to inevitable attacks.”

Following a call by Hamas’ political bureau head for the Egyptian army to aid Hamas in Gaza, many Egyptian columnists responded with anger. One questioned why the bureau head was not joining the fight himself and urged him to “Leave Doha’s [Qatar] hotels, which you have enjoyed, and go down into the trenches and fight…we are tired of defending the [Palestinian] cause that you have sold for cheap to a Muslim Brotherhood gang.”

Another columnist, Dr. Nagla Al-Sayyid criticized Hamas saying that it was trading in the blood of Palestinians while using the financial aid it receives to promote political and ideological interests rather than giving the money to those in need. “All the Hamas leaders are doing – as they sit securely in their hiding places while leaving the people of Gaza alone under the fire of the Israeli shelling – is collecting donations in order to use them in the service of their ideas.” Dr. Al-Sayyid continues by calling Hamas a failed movement.

Mahmoud Sultan, a pro-Muslim Brotherhood editor of a daily Egyptian newspaper criticized Hamas for not caring for their own people. Another Egyptian writer compared Hamas to Hitler saying that Hamas has done more damage to the Palestinian people than Israel has.Newspaper Rack at Souk

The Saudi Arabian editor of a London-based Saudi daily also claimed that Hamas was trading in the blood of its own people. “Nobody [in Hamas] is asking if the loss of [Palestinian] life if justified.” Another Saudi warned his readers to not be fooled by Hamas’ tactics. “The same sights are repeating themselves in Gaza once again: an abduction followed by mutual rocket fire, which triggers an Israeli invasion of Gaza. The result is always dozens of dead and hundreds wounded from among the weak Palestinians, and minimal damage on the Israeli side… While the poor, defenseless people …stand exposed to rockets and tanks, the jihadi and Brotherhood leaderships flee to the fortified holes they prepared for themselves.” He also points out that much of the leadership of Hamas are living outside of Gaza and tells his readers to “Beware of them!”

Hamas describes itself as one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood. The toppling of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt seems to have helped open the eyes of Muslims in the region to the tactics of Hamas in Gaza.

Prayer Points:

Each of these journalists still would like to see a separate Palestinian state, and they still support Palestine over Israel. However, we thank God that eyes are beginning to be open to the tactics of Hamas and these journalists have been courageous to speak out against them.

In Isaiah 56:6-7 and 62:6-7 God spoke prophetically through Isaiah that He would raise up intercessors for Israel – and we see this today in the nations of the world. Continue to pray that Christians will see the current situation through the Lord’s eyes and have the understanding to make His proclamations and declarations that will cause a shift in what is happening in this critical time, releasing the will and glory of God and bringing peace in the midst of it.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently stated:

“Israel targets Hamas terrorists and not innocent civilians. By contrast, Hamas targets Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians. Hamas, therefore, bears full responsibility for any harm that comes to Israeli and Palestinian civilians alike. We are determined to give our citizens the safety and security they deserve.”

Pray that God will protect the innocent people in Gaza and that the nations in the world will recognize when Hamas is using their people as “human shields”.  Just as these Arab journalists are courageous, pray for the media in the nations to also be courageous, recognize what is happening through the eyes of truth – and report about Israel and Hamas with honesty and accuracy.

Child Marriage

2014 Ramadan Prayer Day 8

Muhammad is the perfect example to Muslims, and as such they are supposed to model their lives after his. Muhammad had multiple wives during his lifetime, however his favorite wife was his third wife, Aisha. He married Aisha when she was a child of six, but did not consummate the marriage until she was nine.

Child marriage continues to be practiced in much of the Islamic world despite the fact that it is considered a human rights abuse. More than 60 million girls worldwide are child brides. In developing nations one in seven girls marries before the age of 15, and nearly half of the 331 million girls in developing nations marry by their 20th birthday.

Child marriages create a cycle of poverty, gender inequality, abuse and numerous health problems. Many young brides are married to men who are much older than they are and often suffer abuse in the marriage. The leading cause of death worldwide for girls ages 15 to 19 are complications related to childbirth and pregnancy.

Child protection experts report that child marriages cause mental illness, suicides, teenage runaways, and even prostitution. The children are forced into prostitution because the marriages often end in divorce, and the child has no way to support herself.

In Afghanistan, girls can legally marry at age 15, and 57% of girls in the nation are married by the age of 16. 66% of girls in Bangladesh are married before the age of 18, and slightly more than 50% of girls in Mali, Mozambique, and Niger are married before the age of 18.

A 55 year old Afghani man with his 8 year old bride on the day of their engagement.
A 55 year old Afghani man with his 8 year old bride on the day of their engagement. Photo by Stephanie Sinclair.

Iran’s legal age of marriage for girls is only 13. One British newspaper reported that in Iran in 2010, 716 girls under the age of 10 had been married. There is no minimum age for girls to marry in Saudi Arabia, and statistics show that there are more than 5,500 child brides under the age of 14.

Western Islamic apologists often cover up the example of Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha, however it is clear that many continue to follow Muhammad’s example today. As Islam has spread to western nations, child marriage is also spreading.

Prayer Points:

Pray that the international community will speak out loud and clear regarding young girls being forced into marriage when they are too young to understand what is taking place or too young to take on this responsibility.

In nations where parents are taught in their culture that child marriage is acceptable, ask God to open their eyes to the truth that this will most likely be frightening and harmful to the young girls.

In Western nations teenage girls most often are given opportunities for further education, choose a future career and make their own decisions. Ask the Lord to give His heart to the parents (especially the fathers) to give their daughters opportunities in their lives – rather than child marriage.

Pray that the families will receive revelation of Almighty God’s desire to bring them true liberty and freedom – through a relationship with Jesus Christ.