A key player in the politics of the Middle East, Hamas is renowned for its contradictory positions. The group uses terror tactics against Israel's civilians and military, yet runs on a law and order ticket in Palestinian elections; it pursues an Islamic state, yet holds internal elections; it campaigns for shari'ah law, yet its leaders are predominantly secular professionals; and it calls for the destruction of Israel, yet has reluctantly agreed to honor previously established peace agreements.
In Hamas in Politics, Jeroen Gunning launches a probing study of the movement's success in the political arena, showing that religion, violence, and democracy are not necessarily incompatible. Many of Hamas's apparent contradictions flow from the relationship between the organization's ideology, local constituency, and the nature of politics in Israel and Palestine. Gunning conducts interviews with members of Hamas as well as the group's critics and draws on a decade of close observation of the organization. He illuminates Hamas's understanding of its ideology and explores the tension between its dual commitment to "God" and "the people." Examining the group's political practice and what it says about the group's attitude towards democracy, religion, and violence, Gunning provides a unique window into Hamas's internal structure, revealing its process of choosing leaders and determining policy.