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Jose Vericat

As the recipient of the H.H. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Graduate Studentship in Contemporary Islamic Studies, Jose talks to us about his research: Undertaking an analysis of the internal debates within the Palestinian Islamic Movement, Hamas.

Muslim politics are not monolithic. Hamas is a movement that has a specific agenda, different from other Islamic movements. Also the values and motivations that Hamas acts according to are not all rooted in Islam. Further, its doctrine changes depending on the situation as well as over time, though often it tries to justify such modifications within a religious framework. As I analyze the decisions the movement makes and the discussions around these I pay particular attention to the use of religious references, and the different functions that they serve. I try to show that there is a heated internal debate, a wide variety of opinions struggling with each other to define values and shape the movement. I also trace the origins of these discussions to debates in Islamic intellectual history. My overall aim is to decode the religious, political and philosophical underpinnings of Hamas and by doing so to throw some light on the relation between religion and politics in political Islam in general.