The "Union of Good" and the Lost Peace
By: Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, March 07, 2005
At the time President Bush is leading the demand for Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon, stating that Syria’s support of terrorism is "a key obstacle to peace in the broader Middle East", Europe’s role in facilitating Palestinian terrorism is ignored. Yet, millions of dollars are generated in Europe through the “Union of Good,” the umbrella organization of Islamic charities, which fuels all Palestinian terror organizations.
The “Union of Good” was established in October 2000, shortly after the beginning of the last Palestinian Intifada against Israel. It is comprised of 50 Islamic “charities”, including Hamas and Hezbollah affiliated organizations. The “Union of Good” was supposed to raise funds for only 101 days, but its initial success led the founders, mostly Hamas members, to maintain its operations to date.
The “Union of Good” is headed by Dr. Yussuf al-Qardawi, one of the most prominent Sunni scholars in the world today, who is the source of spiritual and religious authority for Hamas and others in the Palestinian territories. Al-Qardawi, who established and leads the Department of Islamic Law (Shari’a) at the University of Qatar and the Institute for Sunnah Research there, is also on the board of directors of the Al-Taqwa Bank, designated by the US as a terrorist funding organization in November 2001.
Al-Qardawi established legal justification for “financial jihad [al-jihad bil-mal]” in a lecture he gave in May 4, 2002 in the UAE. According to him, “collecting money for the mujahideen (jihad fighters) was not a donation or a gift but a duty necessitated by the sacrifices they made for the Muslim nation.”
In August 2004, Al-Qardawi issued a fatwa saying, “All the Americans in Iraq are soldiers, there is no difference between enlisted soldiers and civilians, and they must be fought because American citizens came to Iraq to serve the occupation. The kidnapping and killing of American in Iraq is a [Muslim religious] obligation to force them to leave the country immediately.”
This is the same Qardawi who in July 2004 visited London on an official invitation from Ken Livingston, the Mayor of London,
to advance the establishment of “a world union of Islamic scholars,” which will serve as the highest authority to Muslims throughout the world. It is not surprising, therefore, that the same Ken Livingstone accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing." His appointment as Honorary President of the School of Oriental and Arabic Studies at London University, affirms that such views are not only acceptable in the UK, but that being anti- Israeli has its rewards.
Indeed, the UK’s role in furthering the agenda of radical Islam does not end with Qardawi’s invitation; Britain is also home for “Muslim Aid,” another participants in the “Union of Good.” “Muslim Aid” was funded and is headed by Yussuf Islam, better known as Cat Stevens, who was denied entry to the US last September for having ties to “potential terrorist-related activities.” Stevens, like others involved with Islamist “charities” claimed he “never knowingly” supported terrorism.
Yet, another Briton, Essam Salah Mustafa Yussuf, serves as the director of operations for the “Union of Good.” He is also a trustee of the London based Interpal, Hamas’ biggest fundraising organ. Interpal was designated as a terrorist organization by the US in August 2003.
Tony Blair’s initiative to host the London conference to advance peace in the Middle East stands in contradiction to the ongoing activities in the UK to fund Palestinian terrorism.
And the UK is not alone. Despite adding Hamas to the EU’s terrorist designated list two years ago; members of the “Union of Good” operate freely and openly in most European countries. Moreover, according to the London based Arabic newspaper Asharq Al Awsat, Palestinian sources reported that France and Spain are looking into “the possibility of removing the group from the European Union's list of terrorist organization.”
Other members of the “Union of Good” operate in more obvious locations such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Yemen and Qatar.
Clearly, President Bush’s plans for Peace in “the broader Middle East” cannot be achieved not only because Syria harbors terrorist groups, but also because the Europeans keep funding them. As long as the “Union of Good” and its likes are allowed to operate and to raise money to fund Palestinian terrorism, peaceful solution to end the conflict in the Middle East will fail.
(To learn more about the “Union of Good,” see http://www.intelligence.org.il)
Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld is author of Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed – And How to Stop It, Director of the American Center for Democracy and member of the Committee on the Present Danger.
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