Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Terror Finance Flotilla

The Turkish organizers of the Gaza Strip-bound flotilla that was boarded this morning by Israeli commandos knew well in advance that their vessels would never reach Israeli waters. That's because the organizers belong to a nonprofit that was banned by the Israeli government in July 2008 for its ties to terrorism finance.

The Turkish IHH (Islan Haklary Ve Hurriyetleri Vakfi in Turkish) was founded in 1992, and reportedly popped up on the CIA's radar in 1996 for its radical Islamist leanings. Like many other Islamist charities, the IHH has a record of providing relief to areas where disaster has struck in the Muslim world.

However, the organization is not a force for good. The Turkish nonprofit belongs to a Saudi-based umbrella organization known to finance terrorism called the Union of Good (Ittilaf al-Kheir in Arabic). Notably, the Union is chaired by Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, who is known best for his religious ruling that encourages suicide attacks against Israeli civilians. According to one report, Qardawi personally transferred millions of dollars to the Union in an effort to provide financial support to Hamas.

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