BBC's Panorama conducts an extraordinary investigation of
Hamas, Interpal, the UK Charity Commission and the ongoing Hamas terrorist enterprise in Europe
and the United States. It comes up with some revealing truths,
as well as some blatant stonewalling by public authorities in the UK
and outright lies on the part of almost all the Hamas and Interpal
Our interest in the
television program described below stems from the fact that the
murder of Malka Chana Roth and 14 other civilian victims of the
Sbarro restaurant massacre was
planned, executed and funded by Hamas and its various tentacles.
The BBC's Panorama
program is a long-running and highly respected documentary series.
On 30th July 2006, Panorama screened a one hour program devoted to
exposing the pseudo-charity activities of Interpal, a Hamas front
which masquerades as a welfare organization while in fact feeding
Hamas' terrorist machine with money and recruits.
This is an
extraordinary film which can be viewed in its entirety via streaming
The transcript below (reproduced
from the BBC's website) was recorded from the actual transmitted
film and not from the script. Thus, there may be some
discrepancies from the original.
FAITH, HATE & CHARITY
RECORDED FROM TRANSMISSION: BBC ONE
JOHN WARE: This
is a promotion for one of Britain's leading Islamic charities called
Interpal. "Interpal, helping Palestinians in need."
does help Palestinians who are greatly in need.
YUSUF: We are
for humanity, we are all for life.
WARE: Why then
has Interpal given funds to some organisations that promote death?
[Muslim children performing] Give me the Kalashnikov if you are
thinking of giving up the fight.
WARE: Death in
the cause of Islam. [Children performing] For the sake of glory to
religion we give our blood.
is at the heart of a global coalition of Islamic charities, led by
the spiritual leader of the largest Islamic ideological movement in
[preaching] We must plant the love of death and the love of
martyrdom in the Islamic nation.
WARE: This is
the story of how charity in Britain has helped spread the ideology
of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is largely peaceful, but which also
likes to keep its options open. [Children performing] Fasten your
bomb belt oh would-be martyr and fill the square with blood so that
we get back our homeland.
January a political earthquake reshaped the Middle East. A group of
fundamentalists regarded by Western governments as terrorists, took
power here in Palestine. The new Palestinian government is run by
Hamas, for whom religion and politics are fused as one. I'm on my
way to a charity in the West Bank. The old Palestinian regime was
regarded as corrupt. Hamas has won a reputation for honesty, based
largely on how they've run charities, many with funds from the
British Islamic charity Interpal. This kindergarten is run by a
charity called the Khalil Al-Rahman Girls' Association. It's one of
about 20 charities in the Hebron area that have been funded by
Interpal over the years. Today it's closed, it's Friday, it's a
Muslim holiday. No doubt many of the charities activities are jolly
and wholesome, but some will chill the heart. [Children performing]
We will sacrifice ourselves for our country. We answer your call and
make of our skulls a ladder to your glory.. a ladder..
charity thanks Interpal for its funding, which lasted 4 years. This
included money for food and education. The children are taught that
Islam is more than just a faith, it's also a political ideology.
[Children performing] Rise with us to liberate Palestine through the
path of the Islamic dawah. Whoever abandons the path of Muslims will
live under humiliation and slavery.
means missionary work, bringing people closer to Islam. For a
political movement like Hamas, dawah is militant political
preaching, often aimed at impressionable minds.
Dr REUVEN PAZ
Former Head, Research Division Israel General Security Service
Children are the main focus for Hamas dawah, because the principal
is building the army of God. The army of Allah - Jundullah, in
children learn there can be no compromise with Israel, because the
entire Holy Land was bequeathed to Muslims. [Children performing] We
assert that what is on this land and under this sky is Muslim. The
brigades are preparing their lions to destroy the State of lies. To
victory in the decisive moment.] [Applause]
WARE: By law,
British charities like Interpal must ensure their funds aren't used
to further the ideologies of terrorist groups. Hamas emerged in
1987, as the Palestinian branch of the worlds largest ideological
Islamic group, the Muslim brotherhood. Here, in towns like Ramallah,
capital of the West Bank, the brotherhood had been digging its roots
deep into Palestinian society for many years. The brotherhood used
charities to spread its dawah, calling Palestinians to return to the
fundamentals of Islam. Mouin Rabbani International Crisis Group The
Muslim Brotherhood were very much a social movement, for whom the
concept of charity and social welfare was an important component of
what's called dawah, which I think, loosely translated, might be
translated as causalitisation.
capitalised on the Brotherhood's social welfare network, to turn
growing numbers of observant Muslims, into followers of their more
militant and political version of Islam. Is Hamas in the social
welfare business only to do good works?
RABBANI: No, of
course not. It's a political organisation, that has a series of
defined objectives, among which is increasing its.. the popular
allegiance to it among its constituents.
especially, have been used to inculcate Hamas consciousness into
young Palestinians. Interpal funds religious activates. It's
transferred money to the Abdul Nasser mosque in Ramallah. The mosque
is quite obviously influenced by Hamas.
or charities who are sending money to Islamic charities in
Palestine, that are clearly controlled by Hamas, are helping in the
growth of the movement.
WARE: In Britain
Interpal had a prominent stall at this recent exhibition in London,
to promote Islam. Interpal has been raising around £4 million a
year. The charity categorically denies it's helping to fund the
Hamas movement behind the banner of humanitarian aid. The man who
runs Interpal has blamed such allegations on what he calls the
"Christian and Jewish Zionist movement." Doctor Essam Mustafa, known
also as Essam Yusuf, says he'd consider stopping funds to any
charity inciting violence.
Dr ESSAM YUSUF
Vice Chairman & Managing Trustee, Interpal We are for humanity, we
are all for life. And this is what Interpal is here for, and this is
what Interpal wish, and will, continue to do so in the future,
Yusef was celebrating Interpal's 10th Anniversary at the British
Library where he was awarded a degree from the Islamic University of
Gaza for his charity work. December 2004
[Yusuf receiving degree]
university is a Muslim Brotherhood stronghold, the crucible of Hamas'
holy war ideology. Doctor Yusef declined to be interviewed. But he
has said: "We categorically deny we are, in any way, connected to
any political organisation." And yet, his funds have helped build up
Hamas into what it is today.
A guest at Interpal's anniversary
dinner was his friend, fellow Palestinian Mohammed Sawalha. From
London, Sawalha is said to have master minded much of Hamas'
political and military strategy. Wanted by Israel, he fled to London
PAZ: Sawalha was
one of the senior activists in the dawah portals of Hamas. He was
involved, let's say, with the background of the finance, the
WARE: But he was
Dr REUVEN PAZ
Former Head, Research Division Israel General Security Service
He was, he was a member, he was an activist of Hamas, that's for
WARE: In London,
Sawalha is alleged to have directed funds, both for Hamas' armed
wing, and for spreading its missionary dawah. Then, in January 1993,
an operation Sawalha was involved in went badly wrong. Hamas would
be forced to reorganise its funding arrangements.
WARE: A senior
Hamas man from America flew into London for instructions from
Sawalha. Sawalha's visitor was en route to the Palestinian
territories. The two men travelled to Sawalha's home. His visitor's
name was Mohammed Salah. Salah's mission was to distribute funds.
Sawalha told him who to meet in the Palestinian territories.
Sawalha told Mohammed Salah to look as a respectable businessman,
where to hide the suitcase, to take not to fancy hotel, etc, etc,
and to be very cautious.
Sawalha's agreement Salah began distributing about a quarter of a
million dollars to local Hamas operatives. Some was ear marked for
military activities. Some for missionary dawah. More money was in
the pipe line from his bank in Chicago. But the Israelis had been
tracking him. Stopped at a check point as he left Gaza, Salah was
ended up doing nearly 5 years in an Israeli jail, where the
Israeli's got a lot out of him about Mohammed Sawalha in London, and
Hamas' funding operation. During one interrogation, Salah was taped
without his knowledge.
Audio recording of Salah's interrogation
refers to Sawalha as Abu Abada
SALAH: I made a
stop in London to meet with Abu Abada, who is more knowledge about
the West Bank's operational activities. See, the operational and the
didn't understand. One more time. Do you mean that Abu Abada is to
be in charge of the dawah and of the movement.
Abu Abada, Mohammed Sawalha, was known to MI5, the authorities let
him operate freely here.
PAZ: Maybe even
in London, I would say, he became more important for Hamas than
during the period he was in the territories.
WARE: In London
Hamas and the Islamic charity world were linking up. Mohammed
Sawalha had become friendly with the man who was to become boss of
Interpal, Essam Yusef. Intelligence sources say that in 1992 they
had a visitor from the West Bank. His name was Doctor Mahmoud Ramahi,
a senior member of Hamas. Doctor Ramahi had been recruited to Hamas
by Sawalha, who was his brother-in-law.
told us he didn't recall meeting Doctor Ramahi in London. At the
time Doctor Yusuf was a trustee of a charity called the Palestine
and Lebanon Relief Fund. At his London meeting, according to our
sources, Doctor Ramahi of Hamas was asked to represent Doctor
Yusuf's charity in the Palestinian territories.
In Ramallah I
arranged to meet Doctor Ramahi. I wanted to ask him about his London
meeting 14 years ago. Today he's a successful doctor, and a senior
Hamas politician. At the time he ran a medical centre, part of a
charity closely affiliated to Hamas. Doctor Ramahi told me that in
London he'd simply asked for charitable funds from Essam Yusuf.
you travelled to London, you weren't travelling as a member of the
political office of Hamas?
RAMAHI Hamas No, no. No, it's for my job as Chairman of the
Medical Centre. And I was the fund for this centre not because of
Hamas, not that I go to London and meet Essam Yusuf because we are
members of Hamas, no. As a principle we have to help the poor
WARE: For Hamas
though there can be more to helping the poor than just religion.
RAMAHI: For all
Muslims the politics is what's inside the religion. You can't
separate the religion from the politics. The politics is one part of
WARE: 8 months
after his trip to London, Doctor Ramahi was arrested by the
more Hamas men were deported to Lebanon. Hamas was reeling. Money
was its life blood, now it was being cut off. The fight for Hamas'
survival began, led by its network of supporters outside Palestine.
In October 1993 a group of 25 Muslims from Canada and America
arrived at Philadelphia in the United States. The most intractable
conflict in the most volatile region of the world had begun to look
as if it might be settled.
13th September 1993 [Footage: Rabin,
Arafat and Clinton]
Israelis and Palestinians had just signed a peace agreement known
as the Oslo Accords. Hamas' supporters on the outside were
determined to help Hamas on the inside destroy the peace process.
The group met at this hotel, all followers of the Muslim Brotherhood
movement. Some ran Islamic charities, others pressure groups. The
FBI was watching. They described the group as Muslim
Former assistant Director FBI Counterterrorism Division Their public
persona was something very legal, looked very good, but yet if you
looked behind the scene, so to speak, or behind the curtain, we knew
this wasn't the boy scouts.
WARE: The FBI
bugged their rooms, and the meeting room where they spent most of
the weekend in conference.
realised there was an orchestrated effort here to pretty much try to
hide their identity - 1) and 2) make sure that they stayed under the
radar scope, so to speak.
transcripts of this marathon session show that Hamas, on the
outside, was to follow a secret and subversive agenda, but one with
a respectable public face. Privately they would do everything they
could to destroy the Oslo peace process, whilst publicly never
speaking against it. This was the blueprint for Hamas' survival,
hammered out not in the back streets of Gaza, but here in a suburban
participants referred to themselves simply as "The Movement." They
were careful not to use the word Hamas.
goals we are taking about are in our hearts. We can't put them down.
WARE: To the
Muslim brothers at Philadelphia there could be no compromise with
the more secular Palestinian leadership of talking peace, and never
a matter of fact a final decision has been made to continue the
struggle indefinitely, whatever the circumstances.
WARE: But, how
to win this struggle?
answer is to adhere to a strategy that can make the accord fail.
strategy was to direct more funds from Islamic charities in America,
to Islamic charities in Palestine who'd be more receptive to Hamas'
defeat the Accord we should make services available to the
WARE: But, with
a bias towards one section of the population.
relation has to be good with everyone, but we can give the Islamists
100,000, and 5,000 to the others.
WARE: But those
at Philadelphia were only too aware of the fate of Doctor Ramahi.
Arrested while distributing Hamas funds and organising
demonstrations, whilst also running a charity. The expansion of
missionary dawah was threatened by this mix of Hamas and charity
work. A fundamental reorganisation of Hamas' funding system was
physician who fund the centre, and who was in charge of almost
everything, and who was active and efficient, got mixed up, and was
investigated and imprisoned. What happened to him affected the
institution drastically. There should be no mix of the two works.
WARE: No mix
between overt Hamas activity, and charitable work to safeguard dawah.
have to avoid being labelled terrorists, or terrorism supporters.
intact the hidden purpose of destroying the peace process by
building grass root support for Hamas.
Those brothers whom you help doing these things will ultimately by
loyal to you politically.
Former Assistant Director FBI counterterrorism Division It was clear
that we were not talking about just taking care of widows, orphans
and hospitals, and it was a promotion of the organisation, their
beliefs and ideas.
WARE: But of
course raising money for needy people is a very plausible, and
worthy thing to do.
Absolutely, it is a worthy and worthwhile thing to do. So it was a
difficult matter, but if you really peeled of the onion, so to
speak, you saw that hey, this is not exactly what it appears to be.
movement suggested that the funding of Hamas associated charities
should not be confined to America.
think the American arena is a secure place for a movement. Europe
also can play the same role.
Philadelphia provided a model for promoting dawah on the inside,
whilst affording legal cover to its funders on the outside. Although
Interpal's trustees weren't present, there are striking similarities
between the Philadelphia model and the way Interpal operates. Most
of Interpal's funding is directed towards Islamic charities.
my way to an orphanage near Hebron which gets funds from Interpal.
The Israelis found material here glorifying martyrdom. Posters of
local militants framed with loving care, obviously by children. The
main hero figure is a local man. The Israelis say he planned the
cold blooded murder of 4 Jewish students. The head of the orphanage
is waiting to meet me.
Hi Mr Rjoub,
thanks for seeing me. How are you? Nice to see you. The Israeli's
say these posters were recovered intact, with the framing. So the
reason I'm asking, Mr Rjoub, the reason I'm asking about the framing
is were you aware of any pupils or staff putting these frames
Director, Dura Islamic society for Orphans By God, I don't think so.
We never had things like that. This is the first time. I was
surprised by these photos. We have never had any student or teacher
who's an artist. I, of course, forbid anything like this. And we
only allow hanging things on the school walls which are to do with
WARE: This is Mr
Rjoub at a Hamas rally. At Philadelphia, the Brotherhood wanted to
disassociate charities from obvious Hamas activity.
Mr Rjoub may not
be an activist, but he's certainly a supporter. And there is a
Jihadi ethos in his orphanage, quiet, but resolute all the same.
It's now afternoon prayers, then lessons resume. Interpal helps fund
about 50 orphans here. The teacher explains how he believes Islam
will, one day, deliver total victory.
TEACHER: We know
the state of Israel is something that happened suddenly, which was
built upon what was originally there. So it's temporary.
victory is fundamental to the ideology of Hamas, a victory Hamas
insists has been ordained by God. [to young boy] Who would you like
to be? Who's your big hero?
BOY: Like a
WARE: A fighter!
Fighting for what?
BOY: We will
continue to resist the Israelis until we get them out.
TEACHER: I can't
hear you. Raise your voice. BOY: We will resist the Israelis.
WARE: How many
here want to be fighters? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. The children
seem happy, and well cared for. Whether, overall, the ethos that
Interpal's funding goes to support is healthy is less clear.
was one other thing I wanted to ask you. I'm curious about that
little sign up there. What exactly is it?
RJOUB: Let me
look at it closely. "Do not disappoint the orphan." This is a
Koranic verse. The Koran encourages us to protect the orphan.
WARE: And that
red colour coming down the arm, and spilling over the world, is
that.. does that signify.. what does that signify?
RJOUB: It's not
clear whether it's blood or not, but in truth it looks like it might
WARE: Mr Rjoub
told me he'd never noticed the blood before, even though the plaque
had been there 10 years. And he said the flags were of Saudi Arabia.
They are, in fact, used by Hamas. It conveys to me a picture of
Islam dominating the world, and, if necessary, through bloodshed.
Is that a dreadful exaggeration?
true. This picture expresses the vision of the person who drew it.
That doesn't necessarily mean that these things exist.
WARE: Do you
think you might take it down now I've pointed it out to you?
indeed. I want to stress that Islam has ruled most of the world
without blood. There was no blood, it was through persuasion.
was launched in London in 1994, 10 months after the Muslim
Brotherhood meeting in Philadelphia. It operates from an anonymous
building in Cricklewood. Some of Interpal's own trustees have been
followers of the Brotherhood movement. Newspapers soon reported
allegations that Interpal was funding Hamas. The Charity Commission,
the body that regulates charities, investigated. They found no
evidence of bias.
Interpal distributed funds only on the basis of
need. But need was being determined not by Interpal, but by the
Palestinian charities they helped fund. At Philadelphia some of
these charities were named by this man. The American authorities say
Muin Shabib later admitted supporting Hamas financially, and
politically. To his fellow Muslim brothers, Shabib spoke of
charities that Interpal would later give funds to as "our
SHABIB: In the
West Bank our institutions include the Al Tatoman Charitable
Association, the Jenin Zakat Committee, who establish a hospital. In
Jerusalem we have the Association of Islamic Studies and Cultures.
We have active institutions at Ramallah, such as the Zakat
WARE: To some,
the Israel Palestine conflict was about much more than a national
liberation issue. It was the centre of struggle of the entire
greatest cause is Islam. Palestine is only one part of this cause.
We have to stick to the fundamentals, the basics, the foundations of
Humanitarian aid would certainly be needed. A young, mainly
conscript, Israeli army often used live ammunition against unarmed
demonstrators when Palestinians staged a second uprising, or
Intifada, against Israel's occupation of the West Bank. The
Israelis were being hit by wave after wave of suicide bombers,
targeting civilians. Dozens of the bombers were Hamas. The Israelis
sealed off towns, sending the Palestinian economy into freefall.
Doctor Essam Yusuf now expanded his charity work. He became the key
man in a global coalition of Islamic charities, with Interpal at its
heart. This coalition was called the 'Union of Good.'
[Union of Good
YUSUF Union of Good & Interpal
Union for Good we have managed to create something over than $200
million for Palestinians in need.
WARE: This has
been social intervention on a vast scale. This $200 million has
bought more than just food and medicine. It's also been directed at
the motor of missionary dawah. Schools, summer camps, mosques,
places where a Jihadi ethos has been promoted. Presiding over this
global coalition of Islamic charities is Doctor Yusuf Qaradawi,
spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, and a favourite
of the London Mayor.
LIVINGSTONE [Mayor of London]: You are truly welcome, welcome to London, a city of
Qaradawi's followers in London, like the fugitive Hamas commander
Mohammed Sawalha, were there to greet him. Al-Jazeera Television
following in the Middle East is so big that Sheikh Qaradawi has his
own talk show on Al Jazeera. He makes no bones about the
relationship between charity and politics. 2001
don't like this word "donations." I like to call it jihad with
money. Because God has ordered us to fight enemies with our lives
and our money.
welfare activism was the power behind the Intifada. For Doctor
Qaradawi the Intifada was also Islam's glory.
must plant the love of death and the love of martyrdom in the
WARE: Few have
done more to fuse theology and politics, fuelling Islamism's global
cult of martyrdom and holy war.
Israelis have the nuclear bomb and we have the population bomb. This
population which has a desire for martyrdom and death. This is what
we have! This is why these human bombs must continue until
commission guidelines require Interpal's trustees to disassociate
themselves completely from any hint of support for terrorism. And
yet, on television in the Gulf, Interpal's Vice Chairman has sounded
as if he might support terrorism.
With me is
brother Essam Yusuf from Qatar. Go ahead brother
Peace be with you. Greetings to the Sheikh of the Mujahideen.
Yusuf Ql-Qaradawi. The sheikh of heroic stands. But my biggest
salutation is to the Mujahideen, to the heroes of the Palestinian
people who are sacrificing everything that is precious.
JOHN WARE Doctor
Yusuf denied his words meant that he supported suicide bombers. He
said he was simply saluting Sheikh Qaradawi as the Sheikh of
strugglers. He did say that he was opposed to suicide bombers
targeting innocent people, but it was for others to decide who was
innocent. An article in Doctor Yusuf's name also talks of "our
battle with the Zionist enemy" being a long one. "And of support for
Jihad, in all its forms, until God allows for victory. Victory only
comes from God."
To Hamas supporters, Jihad, in all its forms,
includes suicide bombing. But Doctor Yusuf insists he never wrote or
approved those words. Even though the article was commissioned by
his own organisation, the Union of Good and appeared in his name.
Doctor Yusuf also denies his Union of Good website expresses support
for Hamas. Even though it includes a picture of Sheikh Yassin, the
founder of Hamas, on the page of a children's campaign called the Al
WARE: In 2002
the Israeli's raided many charities associated with Hamas. They also
searched the offices of the Palestinian authorities security
service. What they discovered suggests, once again, that Doctor
Yusuf broke the rules requiring charity trustees to disassociate
themselves from terrorism. This Palestinian report describes the
Union of Good as 'one of the biggest Hamas supporters.' It also
discloses that in June 2002 Doctor Yusuf travelled to Yemen, where
he met senior members of Hamas. One was Doctor Mohammed Syam, whom
he describes as 'brilliant.'
KELLY MOORE: We
knew of course that Syam was the head of Hamas in Yemen, and my
impression of him is that he's a terrorist, and supports militant
WARE: This was a
mass wedding, 3 months after Doctor Yusuf's visit. Sheikh Syam was a
guest, but it wasn't a celebration of life to come, but of the near
certainty of death, for the grooms about to embark on Jihad. The
Sheikh made an announcement.
SHEIKH SYAM: You
will read about it tomorrow in the newspapers and hear about it in
the media. It brought down many of the invading occupiers and thanks
be to God, Lord of the universe. God is the great and thanks be to
[Aftermath - scene of the bombing]
WARE: A Hamas
suicide bomber has just blown up a bus full of passengers in Tel
Aviv, killing 6 people including a student from Scotland.
Former Assistant US Attorney He's announcing, somewhat gleefully,
and basically proud of the fact that Hamas has just carried out a
suicide attack in which innocent civilians were killed in Israel.
WARE: In Yemen,
Doctor Yusuf also met Sheikh Mohammed Moyad, now in jail in America
for funding Hamas, and trying to fund Al Qaeda. He ran a charity in
the Union of Good, and he was being investigated by the FBI. They'd
set up a sting at this hotel in Frankfurt. Their informants posed as
men who wanted to spend $2 million on Jihad.
WARE: This video
was played at Al Moyad's trial. He offered 4 receipts from Islamic
charities as proof that he could get money to Jihad.
MOYAD: This one,
for instance, we deliver it to Hamas. This one we deliver it to the
interior. This one we send it to the martyrs. But when we are in
front of our government... [laughter]
WARE: One of the
receipts was from Interpal, for $70,000, which listed items like
food, medical aid, and summer camps for children.
MOORE: In the
middle of that conversation room service happened to walk in, in the
hotel in Frankfurt. And when they walked in, Moyad quickly flipped
the papers over so that they couldn't be seen, and instructed
everyone to change the subject, which obviously, if you were talking
about charitable matters, he wouldn't have had to do.
reassure the FBI informants their money would actually fund Jihad,
Al Moyad then offered these details about Interpal.
AL MOYAD: It's
Interpal. It's a company which I visited in London, and I sat with
them there. They're good.
WARE: Al Moyad
said that, in London, he'd dealt personally with Interpal's managing
trustee, Doctor Essam Yusuf.
MOYAD: I sat
with Essam, he's one of the best people. He is, tell him, the
assistant, the one responsible for things after Sheikh Al-Qaradawi
in the Union of Good.
they Hamas as well?
MOYAD: They are
working for all of the Islamic jihad. So this is Hamas also.
Yusuf acknowledges he met Al Moyad in Yemen, but says it was solely
to do with raising funds for Palestinians in need. He insists Sheikh
Syam, who gleefully announced the suicide bombing, just happened to
be present at one of his meetings.
The vice chairman of Interpal,
Doctor Essam Yusuf, has said many times that neither he nor Interpal
have any connections, any links, of any kind, with Hamas. What's
your response to that?
that he was meeting with Moyad and Mohammed Syam, Moyad who's now
been convicted of terrorism crimes related to Hamas, and Syam who
was the known leader of Hamas in Yemen, he clearly has links to
Hamas. Those are links to Hamas.
WARE: It is
because Doctor Yusuf runs both Interpal, and the Union of Good, that
the American authorities have put Interpal at the very heart of
Hamas' global fundraising operation. Interpal strenuously denies
You describe Interpal as the funding coordinator for Hamas.
That.. you're ascribing Interpal a very central role there.
Yes, we are.
WARE: And that's
still the position as far as you're concerned?
WARE: The US and
European Union have outlawed both the political and military wings
of Hamas. They regard it as one terrorist movement, and its social
welfare network as integral to the movement.
DANIEL GLASER US
Treasury It becomes difficult to separate its social welfare network
out from what Hamas actually is, which is a network dedicated to
violence and extremism. The fact that they provide these social
services, legitimises that ideology, it radicalises populations, it
provides an over arching legitimisation and cover for what is
ultimately a terrorist organisation.
Americans designated Interpal as a terrorist entity in 2003. Once
again the charity commission launched an investigation, and once
again they found no evidence that Interpal had any links to Hamas.
For the Americans it was a bewildering decision.
Senate Hearing 25th
AUFHAUSER General Counsel, US Treasury What happened with
Interpal in Britain is really quite chilling. This... these were the
best of our friends. If we cannot convince them to join us against
one of the primary funders of Hamas, in the millions of dollars,
within weeks after the designation by the EU of Hamas as a foreign
terrorist organisation, it gives you some taste of how difficult it
is to get other, less friendly, nations to join us.
Charity Commission, which regulates charities, pledges that any
allegation of links to terrorism will be assessed rigorously. This
is not a cheap point.
The word investigation seems to dignify what
you actually did. It doesn't sound to me as if you conducted an
DIBBLE Charity Commission The enquiry we undertook in 1996 was
different from the one we undertook in 2003. They had a different
WARE: So it's
not.. it wouldn't be fair to describe 2003 as a rigorous
DIBBLE: It was
an investigation which followed a particular concern, and focus.
WARE: But it
may not have been buying guns, but emphatically its funds were going
to charities inextricably linked to Hamas. Just how much influence
Hamas has over some charities funded by Interpal can require the
judgement of Solomon, though the Charity Commission aren't perhaps
the best people to make that judgement since their investigators
haven't actually set foot here on the West Bank. The Commission has
avoided taking a stand on a defining issue of the age, on where
exactly Islamic piety bleeds into Islamist politics. Instead they've
relied on what Interpal boasts are their eyes and ears on the
ground, the Palestinian charities their money goes to.
Hebron is one
of Hamas' power bases in the West Bank. The sign says 'Welcome to
the city of Hamas.'
Welcome to the
city of Hamas
WARE: As we
drove through the city we came across a Hamas celebration. The guest
of honour was a Hamas man, Mustafa Shawer, who'd just been released
by the Israelis after being detained for 20 months without trial.
How do you do, can we talk to you?
Mr Shawer is a Professor at
Hebron University, teaching Islamic culture and law. I asked him why
Hamas had won the election.
SHAWER Hamas I think the main reason the Islamic movement has
been successful is the people's love of Islam. The think that their
worldly interests forget about the after life and paradise require a
person who is religious, who can be trusted with public money and
serve the public honestly.
WARE: The lion's
share of Interpal's funding in Hebron has gone to the city's biggest
The Islamic Charitable Society strives
day and night to care and cater for orphans, and the needy.
Philadelphia, the Brotherhood movement urged charitable funding to
create employment and economic power centres for Hamas supporters.
That's happened in Hebron. Here workers receive their salaries from
the charities sewing workshop. The treatment's also available from
the charities clinic. And, thanks to Interpal, bread from the
charity's bakery is delivered to poorer families. Hamas may now be
the Palestinian government, but its supporters don't tend to talk
openly about its activities.
What about the Islamic Charitable
Society of Hebron? Is that part of the social welfare network of Hamas?
talk is not true.
WARE: But it
does appear to be true. The Hebron charity's own website in 2004
showed that Mr Shawer himself was then a member of its
administrative board. Several other senior figures have belonged to
Hamas, including Abdul Al Haliq Al Nache, seen here at a rally. He's
now Hamas' most senior man in jail. The charity's current chairman
is also a member of Hamas. The charity runs two large orphanages,
and schools for boys and girls. The term orphan includes children
who have parents who can't look after them. Interpal's funds help
the charity give these boys an education, and holidays.
What's your favourite lesson?
SAIF BADRAN The
language, the Arabic language.
WARE: Why Arabic
the first thing is... it's my language, and it's the language of the
WARE: What does
the Koran mean to you?
BADRAN: I learn
from it everything. How to life.. it's the way of my life.
WARE: This is a
photograph of a school event. Flags used by Hamas are prominently to
the fore. Several former pupils have joined Hamas' armed wing. At
least two have aspired to the goal set by Doctor Qaradawi 'a passion
for death in the cause of Islam.' They became suicide bombers.
was Raed Abul Marsq, pictured here with his two children before
strapping on an 11 pound bomb packed with nails, and boarding a
Jerusalem bus, killing 23.
Nearby is the girls' orphanage and
school, also run by the Islamic charitable society of Hebron to
which Interpal also gives substantial funds. The entrance to the
school is adorned by two Hamas flags. I went to see the principal. Her name is Fateheya Qawasmeh.
We're from the
BBC. How do you do?
Mrs Qawasmeh was
a Hamas candidate in the recent election. She is the mother of six
children, whom she says have been brought up to love martyrdom, and
famously, widow of Abdullah, an iconic local commander of Hamas,
which is proud to repeat Israel's description of him as a battery
farmer of martyrs. Mrs Qawasmeh says her late husband chose her for
his wife because of her love of dawah.
QAWASMEH Head, Al Sharia Girls' School Hebron We are here to
fulfil an educational role. The political role is outside the
WARE: You say
you leave your political beliefs outside, but of course I couldn't
help notice two large Hamas flags right outside your door.
exactly, show me where?
WARE: I saw two flags hanging outside the door.
flag isn't only the Hamas flag, it's also the Saudi Flag, isn't it?
WARE: But this
isn't Saudi Arabia, this is the West Bank. Why are you flying the
flag of Saudi Arabia?
flag represents Muslims in general, whether it's Saudi Arabia,
Palestine, anywhere, anywhere.
WARE: So it's a
coincidence that it happens to be the same flag as Hamas, and that
you stood for Hamas in the election? That's just a coincidence?
Arabia is a Muslim country and it represents the Islamic world,
since holy Mecca is in it.
Mrs Qawasmeh insisted she kept her politics out of the school, I
wondered how she managed this, given her fundamentalist views.
thought the whole ideology of Hamas was that you can't really
separate politics from your faith, because the two are completely
bound up in each other. The two are one, as it were.
the school my duty is simply educational. Outside the school I'm
active in some social work organisations.
WARE: This is
one social organisation Mrs Qawasmeh helped set up, the Al Khalil Al
Rahman Girls' Society. It too has had funds from Interpal.
We all sacrifice ourselves for our country. We answer your
call and make of our skulls a ladder to your glory.
WARE: 'We answer
your call, and make our skulls a ladder to your glory.' Now that's
just one example of young... very young girls actually, singing songs
about martyrdom, and that kind of thing. That's politics, isn't it?
songs don't come from the school. The girls learn them from their
own social environment, from their homes. We don't teach these songs
in the school. They're not on the curriculum.
WARE: But at her
Girl's Society the children aren't exactly discouraged from singing
To martyrs in every time and place.
To their rich blood and to their wounds which have defined the
identity of the Islamic land.
WARE: These are
not views you would dissent from, I imagine.
QAWASMEH: Are we
banned from talking even about ourselves? We're a group of
educationalists, rational people who believe that it's okay for a
human being to speak about his homeland in his songs and his talk.
Or are we not allowed to do such a thing, and you lot are allowed
WARE: At this
point Mrs Qawasmeh said she had to go, because her own children were
I had one more question.
I read that the Israeli army
searched this orphanage here in August 2004. That's what I read.
That's not true?
didn't happen. It definitely didn't happen. I'm sure. Nobody came to
WARE: So we asked the Israelis for their evidence.
They took us to this vast hangar on an army base, containing many
thousands of files, seized from Islamic charities on the West Bank.
The army produced four boxes which they said were taken from the
girls' orphanage in Hebron on the 12th of August 2004. The boxes do
contain material which, self evidently, is from the orphanage.
Qawasmeh's denial is simply not credible. With the boxes came this
computer hard drive which the Israelis say they found in the office
of the manageress who ran the orphanage. On it are the names of all
the children, and a lot else besides.
This, quite literally, is a
trove of images of Hamas martyrs and their exploits - hundreds of
them. Nothing is left to the imagination. Bars and buses they've
blown up, the bloody, twisted, and scattered limbs of their victims.
There's also the odd picture paying homage to Osama Bin Laden.
Interpal's word for it, without going to the West Bank, that that
kind of thing isn't going on, haven't you?
DIBBLE Charity Commission Well, I don't know whether we asked
them specifically in terms, because I'm not aware that that sort of
concern has actually been raised with us.
kidding! Sorry, surely you have, you've asked them, in a place like
the West Bank you surely have said what else is going on in these organisations?
DIBBLE: I do not
believe we have considered that, in terms.
WARE: Well that
is exactly the point, and can you tell me why you haven't considered
that, because it's pretty fundamental, isn't it?
DIBBLE: Well it
is, but, as I said, it's only in recent times that the vulnerability
of charities for use for these purposes has actually been recognised.
But I think it's an issue that you are now raising now and, if I may
say so, is quite a pertinent issue to raise.
WARE: Today the
Middle East is once again convulsed by hate. But when this latest
battle ends, there will still be Hamas. Some in Hamas have talked of
a possible truce with Israel. Others see a struggle that will end
only with the end of Israel. Interpal says it had always wanted to
build on the peace process... What it's helped build is an implacable
Roughly how many
charity committees is Hamas affiliated to at the moment, would you
RAMAHI Hamas Maybe more than 200 of charitable committees is
affiliated to Hamas. Some of them they can't say that we are
affiliated to Hamas, because of these struggles, and so and so.
WARE: To what
extent do you think this charitable work contributed to your
substantial victory earlier this year?
they have a big... they are responsible for the victories that we
take, because as you understand...
WARE: They are
RAMAHI: They are
social, Hamas' social...
RAMAHI: The main
WARE: In public
the British government is crystal clear about where it stands on
support for Hamas.
7th July 2004
[speaking in the House] Let me make it absolutely clear. We want
nothing to do with people who support suicide bombers in Palestine,
or elsewhere, or support terrorists.
WARE: And yet
officials believe some of Interpal's funds have gone to Palestinian
charities that engender Hamas' ideology. Last year the Treasuries
asset freezing working group examined files on charities in six West
Bank towns. On Hebron, a draft report says the Islamic Charitable
Society had funded and administered educational programmes that
appear tantamount to incitement and indoctrination in support of
violent Hamas activity.
A year on, the government hesitates to do
much about it. Meanwhile the Muslim Brotherhood movement here goes
from strength to strength. And it's the friend of Interpal's
managing trustee who is leading it.
Hamas commander, Mohammed Sawalha, is perhaps, the most influential
Muslim brother in Britain today. He organised the recent Islam Expo
in London, his latest act of missionary dawah to promote what he
describes as the real Islam. But, what exactly does Mohammed Sawalha
mean by "real Islam", and how can we explore this without asking him
about his background and his real beliefs?
Well, we can't, because
he won't discuss them. And for all the organiser's warm words about
this exhibition promoting dialogue and understanding, in fact the
Muslim Brotherhood is exercising tight control.
They won't even
let us in there. But we found a way in to find Interpal's managing
trustee, along with Muslim leaders, and some politicians. The Muslim
Brotherhood movement already dominates many Islamic groups here.
Islam Expo was a further attempt by the movement to position itself
as mainstream. Its followers are foot soldiers to the most
influential dawah missionary of political Islam today, Sheikh Yusuf
Qaradawi. But it is only to Middle East audiences that the
Brotherhood's spiritual leader, the Sheikh of the Mujahideen,
unveils his prophetic dream.
Europe, as he sees it, Islam's next frontier.
So Constantinople has been conquered and now the second part of the
prophecy remains, which is the conquest of Rome. This means that
Islam will return to Europe once again. Perhaps the next conquest
will be the conquest of dawah and ideas. There's no need for
conquest to be with the sword. We might conquer these countries
without armies. We want armies of dawah preachers and teachers.
WARE: Islam is
undergoing a huge revival, here and everywhere, and it is the Muslim
Brotherhood who are leading it. Welcome to the dawah of political
Islam. With its high octane blend of politics and religion as potent
as any of history's grand ideas.