Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sweden: Is there a connection between Swedish aid and Hamas institutions?

Tobias Petersson write @ the Jerusalem Post:

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), which falls under the aegis of the Swedish Foreign Ministry, has for several years cooperated with the Islamic Relief (IR) organization.

According to SIDA documentation, SIDA renewed its agreement with IR last year, giving the international organization more than 59 million SEK ($6.8m.) for various aid projects.

However, IR is associated not only with aid, but also with the Muslim Brotherhood and with funding terrorist organizations, and has therefore been on the United Arab Emirates’ list of terrorist-related organizations since last year. In 2006 the Israeli authorities were notified of IR’s terrorism connections, resulting in the arrest of IR’s project manager at the time, Iyaz Ali. Ali confessed that he was in contact with the Hamas and had transferred funds to organizations linked to Hamas.

Since June 19, 2014, IR has been forbidden to work in Israel, including in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). Defense minister Moshe Ya’alon said in a statement that IR was a source of funds for Hamas and that Israel had no intention of allowing it to operate and assist terrorist activity against Israel.

According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, IR’s activities in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip were carried out by social welfare organizations controlled and staffed by Hamas operatives. The intensive activities of these associations have been designed to further Hamas’s ideology among the Palestinian population, the ministry stated.

After the Israeli ban, IR last year commissioned an “independent investigation” of its office departments and activities in the Palestinian territories. The investigation found no evidence of links to Hamas. However, the investigation took place long after the accusations against the organization were publicized and did not cover the entire international organization. Criticism has also been leveled at IR by the Gatestone Institute, a New York-based think tank, revealing that current Islamic Relief Worldwide board members have links to anti-Semitic and Islamist movements.

In the IR’s aid project Emergency Cashfor- Work, which was funded by SIDA between 2008-2014 with over 32 million SEK ($3.69m.), internships for unemployed academics were arranged in Gaza institutions and organizations. Islamic University of Gaza (IUG), founded by Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, is one of the institutions that has benefited. To date, the university has been governed by Hamas members and activists.  More.

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