Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 August 2006, 10:11 GMT 11:11 UK
Faith, hate and charity: Transcript
NB: THIS TRANSCRIPT WAS TYPED FROM A TRANSCRIPTION UNIT RECORDING AND NOT COPIED FROM AN ORIGINAL SCRIPT: BECAUSE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF MIS-HEARING AND THE DIFFICULTY, IN SOME CASES OF IDENTIFYING INDIVIDUAL SPEAKERS, THE BBC CANNOT VOUCH FOR ITS ACCURACY.
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."
WARE: Interpal 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.
WARE: Interpal is at the heart of a global coalition of Islamic charities, led by the spiritual leader of the largest Islamic ideological movement in the world.
YUSUF QARADAWI: [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.
WARE: Last 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..
WARE: The 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.
WARE: dawah 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 Arabic.
WARE: These 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.]
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.
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.
WARE: Hamas 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.
WARE: Mosques, 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.
Rabbani: People 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, Inshallah.
WARE: Doctor 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.
[Yusuf receiving degree]
WARE: The 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 in 1990.
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 logistic assistance.
WARE: But he was in Hamas?
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 sure.
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.
PAZ: Mohammed 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.
WARE: With 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 Israeli's had been tracking him. Stopped at a check point as he left Gaza, Salah was arrested.
WARE: Salah 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
WARE: Salah 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 dawah.
INTERROGATOR: I didn't understand. One more time. Do you mean that Abu Abada is to be in charge of the dawah and of the movement.
WARE: Although 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. Doctor Yusuf 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.
When you travelled to London, you weren't travelling as a member of the political office of Hamas?
Dr MAHMOUD RAMAHI
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 people.
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 the religion.
WARE: 8 months after his trip to London, Doctor Ramahi was arrested by the Israeli's.
WARE: Hundreds 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]
WARE: The Israeli's 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 fundamentalists.
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.
WATSON: We 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.
WARE: FBI 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 American hotel.
WARE: The participants referred to themselves simply as "The Movement." They were careful not to use the word Hamas.
PARTICIPANT: The 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 with Israel.
PARTICIPANT: As 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?
PARTICIPANT: The answer is to adhere to a strategy that can make the accord fail.
WARE: One strategy was to direct more funds from Islamic charities in America, to Islamic charities in Palestine who'd be more receptive to Hamas' ideology.
PARTICIPANT: To defeat the Accord we should make services available to the population.
WARE: But, with a bias towards one section of the population.
PARTICIPANT: Our 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 proposed.
PARTICIPANT: The 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.
PARTICIPANT: We have to avoid being labelled terrorists, or terrorism supporters.
WARE: Keeping intact the hidden purpose of destroying the peace process by building grass root support for Hamas.
PARTICIPANT: 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.
WATSON: 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.
WARE: The movement suggested that the funding of Hamas associated charities should not be confined to America.
PARTICIPANT: I think the American arena is a secure place for a movement. Europe also can play the same role.
WARE: 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. I'm on my way to an orphanage near Hebron which gets funds from Interpal. The Israeli's 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 together?
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 education.
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.
WARE: Ultimate 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 mujahid.
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.
There 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 be.
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 blood shed. Is that a dreadful exaggeration?
RJOUB: It's 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?
RJOUB: Yes indeed. I want to stress that Islam has ruled most of the world without blood. There was no blood, it was through persuasion.
WARE: Interpal 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 institutions."
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 Committee.
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 Islamic world.
PARTICIPANT: Our greatest cause is Islam. Palestine is only one part of this cause. We have to stick to the fundamentals, the basics, the foundations of Islam.
WARE: 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 Israeli's were being hit by wave after wave of suicide bombers, targeting civilians. Dozens of the bombers were Hamas. The Israeli's sealed off towns, sending the Palestinian economy into freefall. Interpal's 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
Dr ESSAM YUSUF
Union of Good & Interpal
Through that 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.
KEN LIVINGSTONE: You are truly welcome, welcome to London, a city of all faiths.
WARE: Doctor Qaradawi's followers in London, like the fugitive Hamas commander Mohammed Sawalha, were there to greet him.
WARE: His 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.
QARADAWI: I 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.
WARE: Social welfare activism was the power behind the Intifada. For Doctor Qaradawi the Intifada was also Islam's glory.
QARADAWI: W must plant the love of death and the love of martyrdom in the Islamic nation.
WARE: Few have done more to fuse theology and politics, fuelling Islamism's global cult of martyrdom and holy war.
QARADAWI: The 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 liberation.
WARE: Charity 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 Essam
YUSUF: Peace be with you. Greetings to the Sheikh of the Mujahideen. Sheikh Dr 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.
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 Yassin Fund.
Israel Defence Forces vido
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 terrorist activities.
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 God!
[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.
WARE: To 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.
PARTICIPANT: Are they Hamas as well?
MOYAD: They are working for all of the Islamic jihad. So this is Hamas also.
WARE: Doctor 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?
MOORE: Given 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 this.
You describe Interpal as the funding coordinator for Hamas. That.. you're ascribing Interpal a very central role there.
DANIEL GLASER: 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.
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.
WARE: The 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.
25th September 2003
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.
WARE: The 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 investigation.
The enquiry we undertook in 1996 was different from the one we undertook in 2003, they had a different focus.
WARE: So it's not.. it wouldn't be fair to describe 2003 as a rigorous investigation.
DIBBLE: It was an investigation which followed a particular concern, and focus.
WARE: But it wasn't widespread.
DIBBLE: It wasn't in depth.
WARE: Interpal 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 Israeli's 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.
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 charity.
The Islamic Charitable Society strives day and night to care and cater for orphans, and the needy.
WARE: At 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?
SHAWER: This 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 charities 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?
The language, the Arabic language.
WARE: Arabic language?
WARE: Why Arabic language?
BADRAN: Because the first thing is.. it's my language, and it's the language of the Koran.
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. One 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.
Head, Al Sharia Girls' School Hebron
We are here to fulfil an educational role. The political role is outside the school.
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.
QAWASMEH: Where are they?
WARE: Where exactly, show me where?
QAWASMEH: Where are they?
WARE: I saw two flags hanging outside the door.
QAWASMEH: This 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?
QAWASMEH: This 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?
QAWASMEH: Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country and it represents the Islamic world, since holy Mecca is in it.
WARE: Although Mrs Qawasmeh insisted she kept her politics out of the school, I wondered how she managed this, given her fundamentalist views.
I 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.
QAWASMEH: Inside 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.
[children perform] 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?
QAWASMEH: These 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 such songs.
[Children perform] 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 everything?
WARE: At this point Mrs Qawasmeh said she had to go, because her own children were waiting. 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?
QAWASMEH: It didn't happen. It definitely didn't happen. I'm sure. Nobody came to our orphanage.
WARE: So we asked the Israeli's 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.
Mrs Qawasmeh's denial is simply not credible. With the boxes came this computer hard drive which the Israeli's 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. You've taken Interpal's word for it, without going to the West Bank, that that kind of thing isn't going on, haven't you?
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.
WARE: You are 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 Islamist ideology. Roughly how many charity committees is Hamas affiliated to at the moment, would you say?
Dr MAHMOUD RAMAHI
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?
RAMAHI: Yes, they have a big.. they are responsible for the victories that we take, because as you understand¿
WARE: They are responsible?
RAMAHI: They are responsible.
WARE: The social, Hamas' social¿
RAMAHI: The main responsible. (laughs)
WARE: In public the British government is crystal clear about where it stands on support for Hamas.
7th July 2004
TONY BLAIR: [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. The fugitive 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.
YUSUF QARADAWI: 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.
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