Dr. Tawfik Hamid is a unique and solitary voice in the Islamic world. A self-described former terrorist, he was a member of the militant al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya with Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri who later on became the second in command of Al-Qaeda and now heads it. He stresses he has never actually committed an act of violence.
Dr. Hamid is currently a Senior Fellow and Chair for the Study of Islamic Radicalism at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. Dr. Hamid has a medical degree in internal medicine and a master’s degree in cognitive psychology and educational techniques. He writes that some twenty-five years ago, he recognized the threat of radical Islam and the need for a reformation based upon peaceful interpretations of classical Islamic texts.
Hamid believes the real message of Islam has been hijacked by many people throughout history. Those people defamed Islam and portrayed it incorrectly. He says he started to preach in mosques to promote his message of and, as a result, became a target of Islamic militants, who threatened his life.
Expressing his opinion on the peace accords between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Dr. Hamid places the blame for their failure on the Palestinian leadership. He states that the Arabs’ suffering must be acknowledged, but the source of their suffering is their own leadership. The PA leaders and Hamas are cynically and immorally using the Arabs’ plight for political and religious gain.
“One million Arabs live in Israel with the Jews and they are not suffering like the Arabs who are actually controlled by the Arabs. To be honest you have to say that the Palestinian suffering is because of their leadership, not because of Israel,” says Dr. Hamid.
“The solution is in the hands of the Palestinians”, he says. “They have to take the decision to stop the suffering of their people.” He believes the key to peace is for the Arabs to change their attitude towards Israel. If they truly extend their hand in peace, all will be resolved.