Azzam Tamimi

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Dr. Azzam Tamimi, November 2008.

Azzam Tamimi (sometimes spelled Azam Tamimi; born 1955) is a British Palestinian academic and political activist. He is currently a freelance presenter at Alhiwar TV Channel. He headed the Institute of Islamic Political Thought until 2008. Tamimi has written several books on Middle Eastern and Islamic politics, including "Power-Sharing Islam", "Islam and Secularism in the Middle East", Rachid Ghannouchi, Democrat within Islamism and Hamas: A History from Within.

Early life and education[edit]

Tamimi was born in 1955 and lived in Hebron in the West Bank until he was seven, when his family moved to Kuwait.[1] His father had fought against Israel.[1]

After high school, Tamimi moved to London to attend college. In 1979, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Combined Sciences from the University of Sunderland[1][2] and a PhD in Political Theory from the University of Westminster in 1998.[2]

Reforming Finsbury Park Mosque[edit]

In 2005, Tamimi led a group of trustees in reforming the Finsbury Park Mosque, which was previously under the control of Abu Hamza al-Masri. The reformation of the mosque has widely been seen as successful.[3][4]

Political positions[edit]

"War on Terror"[edit]

Tamimi has stated that the War on Terror launched by the United States and its allies in the wake of September 11 attacks is perceived by many in the Islamic world as a war on Islam.[5] He accused the American President George W. Bush of attempting to stop terrorism through war, political oppression and violations of human rights, saying that this would not work and would instead have the opposite effect.[6]

Israeli-Palestinian conflict[edit]

Tamimi is a strong advocate for Hamas, and was recently elected to the Hamas Politburo.

In 2004, Tamimi stated that as a Palestinian, he would never confer legitimacy upon Israel, "a state that is created on land robbed from my father, from my grandfather and from my mother".[7] He also classifies Zionism as a racist ideology.[8] Nonetheless, Tamimi favours talks between Hamas and Israel, believing that co-existence between Palestinians and Israel may be possible. He has stated that "peace may still be achieved by talking about how to co-exist."[9] In elaboration, he has said that "Hamas would only agree to a negotiated settlement based on the idea of a hudna (longterm ceasefire). In reality, of course, that would mean recognising Israel will exist within agreed-upon borders for a given period of time. It does not, however, mean recognising that where Israel sits is no longer Palestinian".[8] For the long run, Tamimi advocates what he calls a post-apartheid South African solution, in which Israel "is dissolved just like apartheid was, and all people within mandatory Palestine become equal citizens".[8]

In January 2006, Tamimi wrote that if Israel withdrew from territories occupied in 1967, Hamas would end its armed resistance.[10]

Shortly before the invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israel in late 2008, Tamimi argued for continuation of a truce that had been maintained for five months between Hamas and Israel and for ending what he described as a siege placed upon Gaza by Israel.[11]

Martyrdom and suicide bombing[edit]

In November 2004, while being interviewed for the BBC programme Hardtalk, Tamimi said that sacrificing his life for justice for Palestine would be "a noble cause. It is the straight way to pleasing my God and I would do it if I had the opportunity".[12] On 21 August 2006, London's Daily Mail published a report on a Tamimi speech with the following lead sentence: "A British-based Muslim radical appeared to back suicide bombing yesterday when he claimed that dying for your beliefs was 'just'". The article quotes Tamimi as saying that "fighting those who invade Muslims is a just cause."[13][better source needed] In The Guardian, Tamimi responded to the Daily Mail report, stating that his speech was about sacrificing oneself for justice and that "martyrdom is dying for justice and peace .. not blowing oneself up killing innocent people". He further added that "the martyrdom that I said was the greatest form of sacrifice was the one that is incurred by a person who dares speak the truth in the presence of a tyrant."[14]

On 28 February 2012, Tamimi appeared at a Palestinian event at Queen Mary, University of London. Tamimi said: "I’d be a martyr for my country, of course", adding that "if you’re not prepared to die for your country, then you are not a patriot".[15]

Private life[edit]

Tamimi is married with three children and lives in Willesden in northwest London.[16] He and his family are British citizens.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Grace Halsell (December 1998). "Palestinian Islamist Azzam Tamimi Defines Hamas, PLO Differences and Calls for Dialogue With Both". Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 1998, pp. 23–24. 
  2. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-09. 
  3. ^ Dominic Casciani and Sharif Sakr (7 February 2006). "The battle for the mosque". BBC News. 
  4. ^ "Finsbury Park Mosque: "Its more than just a mosque now"". 
  5. ^ Pakistan and Saudi Arabia: On Whose Side? danielpipes.org, an archive of MSNBC 25 July 2005
  6. ^ [1], Stop Bush Rally, 20 November 2003.
  7. ^ Interview with Dr Azzam Al-Tamimi, Institute of Islamic Political Thought danielpipes.org, originally at BBC Hardtalk, 2 November 2004.
  8. ^ a b c Interview: Azzam Tamimi, Middle East Policy, Summer 2006.
  9. ^ The unrealistic terms being imposed upon Hamas are no basis for talks, The Guardian, 5 November 2007.
  10. ^ Hamas will make a deal, The Guardian, 30 January 2006.
  11. ^ End the siege of Gaza, The Guardian, 21 November 2008.
  12. ^ "Dr Azzam Al-Tamimi". BBC. 5 November 2004. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  13. ^ a b Firebrand Islamic academic: 'dying for your beliefs is just' Daily Mail
  14. ^ Tamimi, Azzam (25 August 2006). "Martyrdom misunderstood". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  15. ^ "Controversial Palestinian academic hails 'martyrdom' U.K. event". Haaretz. 28 February 2012. Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  16. ^ Firebrand Islamic academic: 'dying for your beliefs is just' 21 August 2006

External links[edit]