Islamic groups

I was reading another post that contained the following named Islamic groups:

Shi’ite
Sunni
Muslim Brotherhood
Hamas
Fatah
Hezbollah

As I read the post, I realized that I don’t know one from the other. Can anyone help describe the beliefs or political postures of these groups and how they differ with each other?

Are there other groups I omitted?

PS. I’m pretty squared away with Al Qaida.

I can tell you that Fatah is not a Muslim organisation. It is a Palestinian political movement, a secular one. Most of its members are Muslim in the same sense that most of the members of the Polish Social Democrats are Catholic ie because they reflect the balance of the local population.

The two major “denominations of Islam” are: Shi’a (adherents are Shi’ites) and Sunni (adherents are Sunni). The split happened when Muhammad died in 632 AD. There followed a dispute over who was to lead the Muslim community, and how the leader was to be chosen. A gathering of Muslims at Saqifah gave their allegiance to Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s father-in-law, as the first caliph (a religious and secular ruler). Sunni Muslims accept Abu Bakr as a righteous and rightful caliph. Shi’a Muslims believe that the prophet had appointed his son-in-law Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor and that in following Abu Bakr, the Muslim community had strayed from the true path. They have been fighting each other in bloody wars ever since. Shi’ites are headquartered in Iraq and Iran. Sunni’s are headquartered in Saudi Arabia.

Wahabism (religious sect) is a form of Sunni Islam that calls for a constant Jihad (struggle) to return to the strict adherence of Islam and Islamic Law. Founded by Muhammad ibn-Abd-al-Wahab (1703–1792), it regards all other sects as heretical. By the early 20th century it had spread throughout the Arabian Peninsula; it still remains the official ideology of the Saudi Arabian kingdom. The government of Saudi Arabia has made peace with Wahabism by promising to finance evangelical works by the sect. Most Saudi Arabian financed Mosques and Study Centers are Wahabist. Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan are Wahabi.

Muslim Brotherhood (religious organization)- The Muslim Brotherhood or The Muslim Brothers or “The Society of the Muslim Brothers”, often simply “the Brotherhood”) is the name of several Islamist organizations in the Middle East. The first Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928; Muslim Brotherhoods have since been founded in other countries, including Syria and Jordan. They tend to be ultra conservative. In Egypt, the Brotherhood has been an illegal organization, tolerated to varying degrees, since 1954; it is still periodically subjected to mass arrests. It remains Egypt’s most popular opposition group, and continues to call for a more open and democratic political system in Egypt.

Hamas (religious organization) split off from the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood organization in 1987, taking a much more militant line than its parent organization in terms of both Israel and the establishment of an Islamic state in Israel/Palestine. The group maintains both a social services wing that reportedly runs “clinics, kindergartens, orphanages, colleges, summer camps and even sports clubs,” and a terrorist wing that carries out attacks against Israeli military and civilian targets. Its social services wing has been very popular and important among Palestinians. Hamas has carried out thousands of bombings and has been among the most vigorous participants in the Intifadas (or Palestinian uprisings against Israel). The group has opposed the Middle East peace process and has positioned itself as a challenger to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the Gaza Strip, which it criticizes for making concessions to Israel and for corrupt and ineffective government. CRS Report for Congress, 2004]

Fatah (secular political movement)- a reverse acronym from the Arabic name Harakat al-Tahrir al-Watani al-Filastini (literally: “Palestinian National Liberation Movement”) is a major Palestinian faction and the largest constituency of the Palestine Liberation Organization, a multi-party confederation.

Hizbullah is a Shia political/military movement in Lebanon closely allied to Iran. It was formed in 1982 in order to drive the Israeli’s out of Lebanon (it won). It also has numerous seats in the Lebanese parliament. It states its own purpose at almashriq.hiof.no/lebanon/300/320/324/324.2/hizballah/statement01.html
for what its worth the statement includes-

Islam that we understand is a message that aims at establishing justice, security, peace and rights for all people no matter what nation, race or religion they belong. We don’t have any complex toward others, but we feel the responsibility toward them, to make them understand the essence of our religion away from obligation and fanaticism.

People might be wondering, so I will post it. Here is the list of foreign terrorist groups as listed by the US State Department:

Current List of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations
[list=1]
*]Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)
*]Abu Sayyaf Group - a small, violent Muslim terrorist group operating in the southern Philippines.
*]Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade - Affiliated with [font=Arial]Fatah [/font]
*]Ansar al-Islam - Ansar al-Islam is a radical Kurdish Islamic group that is supportive of Saddam Hussein’s regime
*]Armed Islamic Group (GIA) - An Islamist extremist group, the GIA aims to overthrow the Algerian regime and replace it with a fundamentalist Islamic state.
*]Asbat al-Ansar - the League of the Followers—is a Lebanon-based, Sunni extremist group
*]Aum Shinrikyo - The Aum Shinri Kyo is a destructive, doomsday cult centered in Japan.
*]Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) - ETA was founded in 1959 with the aim of establishing an independent homeland based on Marxist principles and encompassing the Spanish Basque provinces of Vizcaya, Guipuzcoa, and Alava, as well as the autonomous region of Navarra and the southwestern French Departments of Labourd, Basse-Navarra, and Soule.
*]Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA)
*]Continuity Irish Republican Army
*]Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group) - The IG, Egypt’s largest militant group, has been active since the late 1970s, and is a loosely organized network
*]HAMAS (Islamic Resistance Movement)
*]Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM) - HUM is an Islamist militant group based in Pakistan that operates primarily in Kashmir
*]Hizballah (Party of God)
*]Islamic Jihad Group - This Egyptian Islamic extremist group merged with Usama Bin Ladin’s al-Qa’ida organization in 2001.
*]Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)
*]Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) (Army of Mohammed) - The Jaish-e-Mohammed is an Islamic extremist group based in Pakistan that was formed in early 2000 by Masood Azhar upon his release from prison in India
*]Jemaah Islamiya organization (JI) - Jemaah Islamiya Organization is responsible for numerous high-profile bombings, including the bombing of the J. W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta on August 5, 2003, and the Bali bombings on October 12, 2002.
*]al-Jihad (Egyptian Islamic Jihad) - This Egyptian Islamic extremist group merged with Usama Bin Ladin’s al-Qa’ida organization in 2001.
*]Kahane Chai (Kach) - Two marginal Israeli groups that have used terrorism to pursue their goals of expanding Jewish rule across the West Bank and expelling the Palestinians.
*]Kongra-Gel (KGK, formerly Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK, KADEK) - Established in 1974 as a Marxist-Leninist insurgent group primarily composed of Turkish Kurds, by the late 1990s the PKK had moved beyond rural-based insurgent activities to include urban terrorism.
[/list]more…

[list]
*][font=Arial]Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LT) (Army of the Righteous) - LT is the armed wing of the Pakistan-based religious organization, Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-Irshad (MDI), an anti-US Sunni missionary organization formed in 1989
*]Lashkar i Jhangvi - Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), a Sunni-Deobandi terrorist outfit was formed in 1996 by a break away group of radical sectarian extremists of the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), a Sunni extremist outfit, which accused the parent organisation of deviating from the ideals of its slain co- founder, Maulana Haq Nawaz Jhangvi. It is from Maulana Jhangvi that the LeJ derives its name. It was formed under the leadership of Akram Lahori and Riaz Basra.
*]Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) - The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), arguably the most lethal and well organised terrorist group in the world, began its armed campaign in Sri Lanka for a separate Tamil homeland in 1983.
*]Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) - Emerged in 1995 among Libyans who had fought against Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Declared the government of Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi un-Islamic and pledged to overthrow it.
*]Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM) - The goals of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM) reportedly include establishing an Islamic state in Morocco and supporting al-Qaida’s jihad against the West.
*]Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK) - The MEK philosophy mixes Marxism and Islam. Formed in the 1960s, the organization was expelled from Iran after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, and its primary support came from the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein starting in the late 1980s.
*]National Liberation Army (ELN) - Marxist insurgent group formed in 1965 by urban intellectuals inspired by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.
*]Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) - The Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) broke away from the PFLP-GC in the late 1970s and later split again into pro-PLO, pro-Syrian, and pro-Libyan factions. The pro-PLO faction was led by Muhammad Abbas (a.k.a. Abu Abbas) and was based in Baghdad prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
*]Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) - Formed by militant Palestinians in the Gaza Strip during the 1970s, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is committed to the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state and the destruction of Israel through attacks against Israeli military and civilian targets inside Israel and the Palestinian territories.
*]Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLF) - Formerly a part of the PLO, the Marxist-Leninist PFLP was founded by George Habash when it broke away from the Arab Nationalist Movement in 1967.
*]PFLP-General Command (PFLP-GC) - Split from the PFLP in 1968, claiming it wanted to focus more on fighting and less on politics. Opposed to Arafat’s PLO. Led by Ahmad Jabril, a former captain in the Syrian Army. Jabril’s son, Jihad, was killed by a car bomb in May 2002. Closely tied to both Syria and Iran.
*]al-Qa’ida - Al-Qa’ida is multi-national, with members from numerous countries and with a worldwide presence. Senior leaders in the organization are also senior leaders in other terrorist organizations, including those designated by the Department of State as foreign terrorist organizations, such as the Egyptian al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya and the Egyptian al-Jihad. Al-Qa’ida seeks a global radicalization of existing Islamic groups and the creation of radical Islamic groups where none exist.
*]Real IRA - Formed in early 1998 as the clandestine armed wing of the 32-County Sovereignty Movement, a “political pressure group” dedicated to removing British forces from Northern Ireland and unifying Ireland. RIRA also seeks to disrupt the Northern Ireland peace process. The 32-County Sovereignty Movement opposed Sinn Fein’s adoption in September 1997 of the Mitchell principles of democracy and nonviolence and opposed the amendment in December 1999 of Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution, which laid claim to Northern Ireland.
*]More…
[/list]

[/font]

[list=1]
*]Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) - Growing out of the turmoil and fighting in the 1950s between liberal and conservative militias, the FARC was established in 1964 by the Colombian Communist Party to defend what were then autonomous Communist-controlled rural areas
*]Revolutionary Nuclei (formerly ELA) - Revolutionary Nuclei (RN) emerged from a broad range of antiestablishment and anti-US/ NATO/EU leftist groups active in Greece between 1995 and 1998. The group is believed to be the successor to or offshoot of Greece’s most prolific terrorist group, Revolutionary People’s Struggle (ELA), which has not claimed an attack since January 1995.
*]Revolutionary Organization 17 November - Radical leftist group established in 1975 and named for the student uprising in Greece in November 1973 that protested the ruling military junta.
*]Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) - Originally formed in 1978 as Devrimci Sol, or Dev Sol, a splinter faction of the Turkish People’s Liberation Party/Front. Renamed in 1994 after factional infighting, it espouses a Marxist ideology and is virulently anti-US and anti-NATO. Finances its activities chiefly through armed robberies and extortion.
*]Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) - The Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) splinter faction that began in 1996 has eclipsed the GIA since approximately 1998, and currently is assessed to be the most effective remaining armed group inside Algeria.
*]Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso, SL) - Former university professor Abimael Guzman formed Sendero Luminoso in the late 1960s, and his teachings created the foundation of SL’s militant Maoist doctrine. In the 1980s SL became one of the most ruthless terrorist groups in the Western Hemisphere; approximately 30,000 persons have died since Shining Path took up arms in 1980.
*]Tanzim Qa’idat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (QJBR) (al-Qaida in Iraq) (formerly Jama’at al-Tawhid wa’al-Jihad, JTJ, al-Zarqawi Network) - The Jordanian Palestinian Abu Mus‘ab al-Zarqawi (Ahmad Fadhil Nazzal al-Khalaylah, a.k.a. Abu Ahmad, Abu Azraq) established cells in Iraq soon after the commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF),
*]United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC)- The AUC—commonly referred to as the paramilitaries—is an umbrella organization formed in April 1997 to consolidate most local and regional paramilitary groups each with the mission to protect economic interests and combat insurgents locally.
[/list]

state.gov/s/ct/rls/fs/37191.htm

From the US State Department on Hizballah (which is classified as a terrorist organization):

Hizballah
a.k.a. Party of God, Islamic Jihad, Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine

Description
Formed in 1982 in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, this Lebanon-based radical Shia group takes its ideological inspiration from the Iranian revolution and the teachings of the late Ayatollah Khomeini. The Majlis al-Shura, or Consultative Council, is the group’s highest governing body and is led by Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah. Hizballah is dedicated to liberating Jerusalem and eliminating Israel, and has formally advocated ultimate establishment of Islamic rule in Lebanon. Nonetheless, Hizballah has actively participated in Lebanon’s political system since 1992. Hizballah is closely allied with, and often directed by, Iran but has the capability and willingness to act independently. Though Hizballah does not share the Syrian regime’s secular orientation, the group has been a strong ally in helping Syria advance its political objectives in the region.

**Activities **
Known or suspected to have been involved in numerous anti-US and anti-Israeli terrorist attacks, including the suicide truck bombings of the US Embassy and US Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983 and the US Embassy annex in Beirut in 1984. Three members of Hizballah, ‘Imad Mughniyah, Hasan Izz-al-Din, and Ali Atwa, are on the FBI’s list of 22 Most Wanted Terrorists for the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847 during which a US Navy diver was murdered. Elements of the group were responsible for the kidnapping and detention of Americans and other Westerners in Lebanon in the 1980s. Hizballah also attacked the Israeli Embassy in Argentina in 1992 and the Israeli cultural center in Buenos Aires in 1994. In 2000, Hizballah operatives captured three Israeli soldiers in the Shab’a Farms and kidnapped an Israeli noncombatant.

Hizballah also provides guidance and financial and operational support for Palestinian extremist groups engaged in terrorist operations in Israel and the occupied territories.

In 2004, Hizballah launched an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that left Lebanese airspace and flew over the Israeli town of Nahariya before crashing into Lebanese territorial waters. Ten days prior to the event, the Hizballah Secretary General said Hizballah would come up with new measures to counter Israeli Air Force violations of Lebanese airspace. Hizballah also continued launching small scale attacks across the Israeli border, resulting in the deaths of several Israeli soldiers. In March 2004, Hizballah and HAMAS signed an agreement to increase joint efforts to perpetrate attacks against Israel. In late 2004, Hizballah’s al-Manar television station, based in Beirut with an estimated ten million viewers worldwide, was prohibited from broadcasting in France. Al-Manar was placed on the Terrorist Exclusion List (TEL) in the United States, which led to its removal from the program offerings of its main cable service provider, and made it more difficult for al-Manar associates and affiliates to operate in the United States.

Strength
Several thousand supporters and a few hundred terrorist operatives.

Location/Area of Operation**
******Operates in the southern suburbs of Beirut, the Beka’a Valley, and southern Lebanon. Has established cells in Europe, Africa, South America, North America, and Asia.

External Aid
Receives financial, training, weapons, explosives, political, diplomatic, and organizational aid from Iran, and diplomatic, political, and logistical support from Syria. Hizballah also receives funding from charitable donations and business interests.

[/font]http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/45394.htm

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