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The first sign of Hamas's frightening platform emerged when one of its top muftis, Yunis Al-Astal, issued a fatwa banning Palestinians from voting for any other party other than Hamas. "Any person, male or female, who votes for a party other than Hamas will be considered an infidel and apostate and his or her repentance will not be accepted even if they fasted or prayed or performed the hajj [pilgrimage] to Mecca," the mufti ruled. This Hamas tactic has worked in the past. In the previous parliamentary election, Hamas used the same propaganda to brainwash and scare Palestinian voters.
A Hamas-affiliated cartoonist from the Gaza Strip, Baha Yasin, published a cartoon that carries the same message as the fatwa. "A Palestinian Muslim does not vote for secular infidels," he captioned a cartoon that depicts supporters of Fatah as unbelievers who smoke nargilas and cigarettes. The caption accompanying the cartoon also denounces the Fatah supporters for "insulting Allah" and Islam.
"Hamas has launched its unofficial election campaign by issuing deeds of forgiveness and taking us back to the Middle Ages," said Palestinian political analyst Mahmoud Sabri. "They have turned mosques into podiums for political, and not religious, lecturing. Any citizen who does not vote for Hamas will be closer to entering hell and will be asked by Allah on Doomsday why he or she did not vote for the right people. Hamas wants us to believe that if we do not support them, then we are against Islam and that we are participating in the war against our religion."
Rajai Al-Halabi, who is in charge of the "women's portfolio" in Hamas, also stirred up controversy when she appeared on Al-Jazeera to declare that Islam surfaced for the first time in the Gaza Strip with the creation of Hamas.