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BERNARD LEWIS ON HAMAS & IRAN

Prof. Lewis: 'Don't Harbor Any Illusions About Character Of Hamas And Its Intentions'

'The Iranian Revolution Has Entered Particularly Dangerous Phase Of Terror & Repression'

'There Are Democratic Movements in Muslim World But The Outcome Is Not Assured'

Iranian nuclear reactor in Bushehr

Prof. Bernard Lewis, a world expert on the Islamic world, has been commenting on the Hamas election victory and the Iran. Both Hamas and Iran do not accept the existence of Israel and are committed to the destruction of the Jewish state. Interviewed on Channel One TV Prof. Lewis, of Princeton University, presented his assessment of Hamas and Iran and Islamic world.

'The first lesson is not to harbor any illusions about the character of Hamas and its intentions' - that's the reaction of Prof. Bernard Lewis, a world expert on the Islamic world. However, that did not mean one should misunderstand or misrepresent those elements in the Arab world that do no not support Hamas or Iranian President Ahmadinejad (who also talks about wiping Israel off the map). Lewis noted that in the recent Iraqi election a candidate backing diplomatic relations with Israel was elected to the Iraqi parliament.

Question: But don't revolutions in history teach that they tend to moderate after taking power, although this was not the case in Iran?

Lewis: 'I don't think that the lesson is that revolutions tend to soften. The Iranian revolution can be compared to the French and Russian revolutions with their total transfer of power. And like those revolutions, sharp disagreements have emerged between moderates and extremists in Iran that has entered the phase of terror and repression. The Iranian revolution has reached the 'Stalinist or Napoleonic' phase which is particularly dangerous. Yet there are democratic movements at work in the Muslim world - it's not easy and the outcome is not assured but the tendencies do exist.

David Essing

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