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Title: The internal conversation of Hamas : Salafism and the rise of the 'Ulama'
Author: Vericat, Jose S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6500 5910
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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Over the last few decades and particularly since '9/11', Islamism has become a major actor in international relations with the rise of a wide variety of movements. There is however still a profound ignorance as to the differences between them and their internal dynamics. The case of the Palestinian Hamas is a particularly good example because it is one of the most renowned and influential Islamist movements globally - despite the very confined geographical space it operates in. And yet, it is little understood. This thesis is an attempt to situate Hamas in the history of Islamism and among that spectrum of Islamist organisations that exist today. It does this by tracing some of the most influential voices in the Movement and reconstructing its internal conversation around a question that is central to Islamism: the role of revelation in politics. To answer it, this thesis focuses on the use of the religious reference in Hamas. It identifies a group of Salafi 'ulama' and analyses their discourse and the function that they performed in the Movement. It argues that there are two major trends in Islamism, a modernist and a purist, and these compete over the legacy of the Salafi movement. It is the debates between them within Hamas that the argument in this thesis is structured around. Modernist Salafism is manifested in Hamas through the centrist trend, a regional movement that inherited the thought of nineteenth century Islamic reformists who tried to reconcile Islam with the Western liberal tradition. The purist Salafi trend is an offshoot of Saudi Wahhabism, and is represented in Hamas by its 'ulama'. Thus far, these two trends have been presented as competing, and only rarely has the influence of purist Salafism within the Muslim Brotherhood, or an offshoot thereof like Hamas, been discussed. This thesis is structured chronologically around a set of key moments in the history of the Movement. Although extensive and detailed interviews have been carried out, the focus is on tapping into the main debates within the organisation that are hidden from the general public and that contrast with Hamas's external discourse. For this it analyses the newspaper al-Risala, one of its main media organs, as well as other publications written primarily for an internal audience.
Supervisor: Ramadan, Tariq Sponsor: H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available