A plea for Islamic voices against using human shields – opinion

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The conflict in Gaza He raised a very serious issue: as reports suggest Hamas It is deliberately using civilians as shields, a tactic that echoes similar tactics to Hezbollah.

This approach not only clearly violates the international laws of war; It is destroying the culture of the Qur’an for political and military gain. Condemning such un-Islamic acts is incumbent on prominent Islamic institutions, scholars and prominent religious leaders.

Their silence can be misconstrued as righteous consent, casting a black stain on their moral standing and the moral foundations they represent.

The trend of human shields

The phenomenon of terrorist groups using civilians as human shields started with Hezbollah in Lebanon. In the year During the 2006 war with Israel, Hezbollah widely used the Lebanese civilian population as human shields.

In the year Members of Hezbollah carry a mock missile during a rally to celebrate Ashura in southern Lebanon in 2009 (Credit: Ali Hashisho/Reuters)

The terrorist group has built a comprehensive military infrastructure (including bases, offices, weapons, and ammunition stores) as well as intelligence facilities located in civilian population centers, private residences, and in southern Beirut, southern Lebanon, and the Bekaa Valley. Hezbollah has used these infrastructures to launch massive rocket attacks on civilian population centers in Israel.

Military installations placed and hidden in populated areas are designed to reduce Hezbollah’s vulnerability and deter counter-attacks by the IDF, recognizing its commitment to avoid harming civilians as much as possible.

In addition, Hezbollah would gain a propaganda advantage if it could present the Israeli army as attacking civilians


The Defense Forces have implemented various strategies to reduce collateral damage. But despite these efforts, Hizbullah’s brutal tactics have taken a heavy toll on civilians. In the year In the 2006 war with Israel, between 1,191 and 1,300 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 165 Israelis were reported killed, and up to 1,100 civilians were injured.

The war also took a heavy toll on Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure. About 10,000 private homes were destroyed, 22,500 were seriously damaged, and 73,000 were partially damaged, and nearly a million Lebanese and 300,000 to 500,000 Israelis were displaced.

Similarly, Hamas – the Islamic terrorist organization and ruling authority of the Gaza Strip – Since taking over Gaza in 2007, it has used civilians as human shields, turning civilians into deadly dictators.

Hamas has decided to fire rockets from heavily populated civilian areas or from schools, hospitals and mosques or similar facilities that are protected under the Geneva Conventions. Hamas has placed its military headquarters, homes, weapons depots, access roads, bunkers, and defensive positions in or near civilian areas.

On October 7, when the IDF entered Gaza in response to a brutal attack by Hamas on Israel, the terror group experienced a series of shocking consolidation exercises. For example, the IDF discovered that Hamas had placed rockets in a little girl’s bed and anti-tank missiles in a baby carriage, as well as a weapons factory, weapons, rocket launchers and huge terror tunnels near a school and inside a mosque.

IDF soldiers have found innumerable weapons hidden in the MRI building of Shifa Hospital. It is also said that Hamas uses hospitals as hideouts to hold Israeli hostages. For example, under Gaza’s Ransisi hospital, the defense forces found a room where Israeli hostages were kept.

A tunnel was seen leading from a Hamas member’s house to Zentisi Hospital and near a school and the United Nations building. In a tip-off operation, the Defense Forces found a 55-meter-long tunnel 10 meters below Shifa Hospital. Also, in Shifa hospital premises, the security forces found a hidden car packed with booby traps, a wide range of weapons, explosives and various other weapons.

These documented situations are consistent with Hamas’ public rhetoric encouraging the use of civilians in conflict. In the year In 2006, a Hamas leader said, “Citizens will continue to defend their pride and their homes and serve as human shields until the enemy leaves.” In the year In 2014, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said, “People are willing to sacrifice themselves against Israeli warplanes… [of using civilians as a shield] He is proving himself. And we, Hamas, call on our people to follow this practice.

On another occasion, Abu Zuhri told Al-Aqsa TV, “Hamas despises those who criticize the high civilian casualties of the defeated Palestinians.” The Resistance glorifies our people…we lead our people to death…I mean to war. Former Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal told Al-Arabiya: “Russia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Algeria, they all sacrificed millions of people in wars.” The Palestinians must do the same.

By engaging in these actions, Hamas aims to limit the use of military force to reduce collateral damage or pressure the IDF to increase the number of civilian casualties. He accused Israel of committing war crimes and using it as a tool in the propaganda.

This barbaric method claimed the lives of many civilians. According to the data collected by the United Nations, At least 2,133 Palestinians were killed in Gaza during the 2014 Israeli military operation “Defensive Edge”; 1,489 are believed to be civilians, including 500 children. Additionally, nearly 18,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless.

The architect of this asynchronous system was the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). When the Islamic regime of Iran established Hezbollah in Lebanon, the IRGC began training the terrorist group to use civilians as human shields, such as kidnappings, kidnappings, roadside bombs, and mass destruction attacks (also known as the poor man’s smart bomb, among other asymmetric tactics).

The IRGC trained Hezbollah, and later Hamas, to use civilians as human shields and disperse weapons, infrastructure, and fighters among the local population, including public facilities such as mosques and hospitals. By hiding among civilians, the IRGC and its terror proxies force Israel to choose between minimal means and international law, which requires a proportionate response to outrages.

Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of Iran’s Islamic regime, and his successor, Ayatollah Khomeini, blessed the strategy and said it would provide an opportunity for Muslims to achieve martyrdom.

Violation of Islamic teachings

But the method of embedding, as well as the decrees of Khomeini and Khamenei, is un-Islamic and violates the teachings of Islam in the Qur’an and Hadith. The Qur’an includes principles emphasizing the sanctity of civilians and non-combatants, women, children, the elderly, and the clergy, as well as the sanctity of nature and property.

Surah al-Ma’idah (5:32) specifically refers to the importance of protecting civilians and ensuring justice, as an example of the value of human life. In addition, Islamic jurisprudence and rules of engagement (Qawa’id al-Ahkam al-Shariah fi al-Amamal al-Askariyyah) emphasize the protection of civilians.

The book Nahjul Balagha by Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib, the Prophet Muhammad’s first Shia imam and cousin and son-in-law, deals with the treatment of the enemy and focuses on maintaining the dignity and safety of non-combatants. In his letter 47 to Malik al-Ashtar, Imam Ali’s appointee as governor of Egypt, he emphasized justice and compassion for others, which could be interpreted as a condemnation of actions that harmed or improperly benefited civilians during conflict.

Hamas and Hezbollah’s use of civilians as human shields is not only a serious violation of the international laws of war, but also contradicts the teachings of the Koran. Famous Islamic centers like Al-Azhar University, famous theologians like Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayyib and Shia religious leaders like Ayatollah Ali Sistani are expected to condemn this inhumane, barbaric and un-Islamic practice. Their silence could be interpreted as a tacit endorsement of human shields, a black stain on their moral integrity.

Farhad Rezai is a Senior Fellow at Philos Project. Sadaf Rostami holds a BA in Political Science from York University. Siavash Gholami holds a Masters in Political Science from the University of Toronto.

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