Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal was quoted Wednesday as admitting that it was difficult to combine governance with "resistance."
Speaking at a symposium in Qatar on Islamists and democratic regimes, Mashaal said that Hamas tried to "combine resistance with government, but this is difficult. Hamas has been and remains a resistance movement and is with the resistance."
Mashaal said that there should be no comparison between Hamas's experience in power and the rise of Islamists to power in the Arab world.
Hamas, he said, is first a national liberation movement. "Hamas is not only a political Islamist movement," he added.
Mashaal said that as such there was no such thing as "Islamist rule in the Gaza Strip."
Hamas has led the experience [of governing] and is learning from it, he said. "We have made mistakes and we are learning from them."
Mashaal called on political Islamist movements and organizations in the Arab world to endorse a modern model of democracy. "Islamists need to admit that governing is more complicated than they thought," he said.
The Hamas leader also called on Islamists to "administer" their relations with the West in a wise manner, but without making concessions.