Hamas leader says Islamic sharia law top priority after Palestinian election win

[JURIST] A senior Hamas official speaking in Jerusalem has said that introducing Islamic sharia [Wikipedia backgrounder] as "a source of law" in the West Bank and Gaza Strip would be "the No. 1 thing we will do" when Hamas takes up its seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council [official website] after its shock victory [JURIST report] in Palestinian parliamentary elections earlier this week. Sheik Mohammed Abu Teir, who ran as the number two candidate on the Hamas ticket and who previously spent some 25 years in Israeli jails told a Canadian reporter "[s]haria has a soul in it and is good for all occasions". Hamas' plan to use Koran-derived sharia as "a source of law" mirrors language about sharia used in the new Iraqi constitution [JURIST news archive]. Although Hamas will try to introduce sharia quickly, it's questionable whether they could push such legislation through because Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas [BBC profile], a Fatah party moderate, would have to approve. The US has traditionally deemed Hamas [MIPT backgrounder] a terrorist organization, and its election victory has put peace negotiations with Israel on fragile ground. The Globe and Mail has more.

 

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