Scott B writes: While there most certainly is a “fear trigger”, this is largely Hamas’ own doing. The party name may also be an acronym, meaning “zeal” in Arabic, but it can’t have escaped notice of those selecting that name that in Hebrew (as transliterated) it means “violence”. (Cf. Gen. 6:11, etc.) …Though now at quite a late date, it would behoove them to rename (or at least retransliterate)
their party more appropriately.
You missed the real problem with the name “Hamas.” In English, it sounds like “ham ass.” This is obscene, unkosher, and un-halal all at the same time!
Since English is the world’s dominant language, Arabs should select names for their groups based on the connotations of the English transliteration, not the Hebrew one. And of course they shouldn’t give a rat’s ass, or even a ham’s ass, about what the name means in the original Arabic.
Anyway, now I understand why the English-speaking governments of Egypt and Saudi Arabia don’t support “Ham Ass.” As you suggest, the party needs to be renamed for the sake of Arab unity if nothing else.
PS The name of the Jewish/Israeli language “Hebrew” sounds like “he brew” in English, meaning “he make beer.” While here in Wisconsin most folks don’t have a problem with that, the world’s anglophone Muslims are profoundly miffed. I suggest that you start a movement to change it to something less offensive. Imagine, the third Muslim holy land invaded and occupied by people whose language is named after beermaking! That’s probably the main cause of conflict in the Middle East, now that I think about it.