Clarification on My Journal Article: Al Qassam and Terrorism

Assalaamu’alaykum warahmatullaahi wabarakaatuh,

Al Qassam

Very recently my article titled: “Terrorism and the Crime of Aggression under the Rome Statute” was published in Jurnal Mimbar Hukum, Vol 27, No. 1, February 2015, pp. 128-144. In this particular article, I mentioned a number of actors which have (or had) ‘terrorist’ labels as case studies. Among them are the Ezzedin Al-Qassam Brigades of Palestine (Al Qassam) and the Al Qaeda. Now this may not sound nice to some people: why is this guy putting the Al Qassam (1) on the same level with Al-Qaeda, and (2) as terrorism case study?

So I thought I should explain why I did what I did.

First of all, by Allah, I have great respect and admiration to the Al-Qassam. They are very tough fighters and inspiration to Muslims all around the world. To this day I have never and will not speak ill of them. I always pray for their strength in Imaan and persistence in spirit, as well as patience in fighting when it comes to that.

Second, the word ‘terrorist’ is a very popular word and heavily associated with negative judgment. However, there is no true single definition of the word. Page 129-130 of my article makes a brief mention on a few legal definitions of the word, and how even those are very problematic. Exploring all aspects of the definition of terrorism would deserve its own article.

However, the article talks about terrorism in a legal sense with no inherent judgment. If the Al Qassam fits the definition of terrorists as mentioned in the article, just like Al-Qaeda (and the United States of America), so be it. As a matter of law, such a judgment does not necessarily automatically incur a judgment that such a label makes it a bad thing.

There is nothing wrong with the Al-Qassam becoming terrorists according to the Israeli Defense Force, but it may be wrong if (and only if) certain acts are directed towards civilians not participating in hostilities. There is everything wrong in what may be apparent in the Al Qaeda act such as bombing civilians (including the alleged 9/11 attack, which I still have a hard time believing that it is actually Al Qaeda. However I used this conclusion because such an assumption becomes an easy case study for the points I wish to make), however there is nothing wrong with the Al Qaeda of Yemen fighting against the Houthi Rebels.

Afterall, ‘one man’s terrorist Is another man’s freedom fighter’.

Thirdly, I just find it amusing that in the end I can conclude that Al Qaeda and Al Qassam (who are commonly labeled as terrorists by the West at the time I wrote the articles) can NOT be held responsible for the Crimes of Aggression, while instead certain acts of western states CAN be held responsible for those crimes.

So, this concludes my clarification. I apologize if any Al Qassam supporters (somehow) reads my article and gets offended by the label of ‘terrorists’, and I hope this clarification is sufficient to explain how the article was never meant to bring negative association towards the Al-Qassam.

Wassalaamu’alaykum warahmatullaahi wabarakaatuh



Fajri Matahati Muhammadin