Hamas is typically portrayed in the West as nothing more than a terrorist organisation. Yet as Michael Irving Jensen discovers, it also provides medical clinics, kindergartens, schools, elderly care and football training to the population of the West Bank and Gaza. Using a combination of interviews and participant observation, Jensen examines how these forms of social engagement relate to the organisation's official ideology, which is still characterised by extremism and violence. "The Political Ideology of Hamas" is the first attempt to provide a multidimensional picture of this organisation by looking at how it is perceived by the leadership, the rank-and-file, and the ordinary Palestinians who come into contact with it. By comparing the rhetoric of the leadership with the social reality, Jensen opens up new ways of understanding Islamist movements in general.
Michael Irving Jensen holds a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Copenhagen and a Masters in Developing Studies from SOAS,University of London. He is currently a lecturer in Middle Eastern History and Politics at the University of Copenhagen and runs the private consultancy Middle East Awareness.