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Hamas: Women who shame family can be bombers

Ha'aretz, Israel
Jan. 19, 2004
Amos Harel • Monday January 19, 2004

Last week, Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin praised the woman who killed herself and four Israeli security men at the Erez checkpoint. But it turns out Yassin’s militant Islamist organization does not unequivocally support the use of women in terror attacks – it is especially hesitant about the deployment of married mothers.


Islamism is a totalitarian ideology adhered to by Muslim extremists (e.g. the Taliban, Hamas and Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda). It is considered to be a distortion of Islam.

Many Islamists engage in and/or condone terrorism (including suicide bombings in pursuit of their goals.

Senior Hamas figures who have consulted about the subject recently are inclined to support only the use of women who have desecrated rules of “family honor.”

Hamas’ view on women and terror strikes has taken shape in past months, top Israeli intelligence officers explained to Haaretz on Sunday. In the past, Hamas leaders avoided taking a clear stand on the use of women in terror strikes. In some cases, Hamas leaders rejected requests of women to take part in such attacks; Hamas referred a few such women to other organizations, particularly Islamic Jihad and Tanzim.

Hamas has now revised this position, and some of the organization’s leaders condone the use of women in terror strikes, particularly in situations where a woman can carry out the assignment more easily (since she is likely to cause less suspicion at crossing points), and when the woman has transgressed moral norms. In such cases, a woman’s “sacrifice” atones for the “stain” she has caused to her family for violating moral codes.

Reem Raiyshi, the woman who blew herself up last week at the Erez crossing, was the married mother of two. Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday that Raiyshi was compelled to perpetrate the terror strike to atone for having betrayed her husband. Relying on IDF sources, this report claimed that Raiyshi’s husband, a Hamas operative, knew about his wife’s plan in advance, and even encouraged her to carry it out.

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