Qatar Charities Support of Extreme Islamist Ideology

Qatar’s purposeful support of the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran, Turkey, and radical Islamist terrorist groups led Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the UAE to cut all ties with the Emirate last June. Indeed, it was no secret that "Qatar has a long history of harboring terrorist operatives and financing various extremist groups, including Hamas, the Taliban, al Qaeda, the al-Nusra Front, and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Nonetheless, Qatar has been protesting and arguing ever since that the “blockade” violates international law and human rights. But the Anti-Terrorist Quartet (ATQ) has put Qatar on their ‘terror finance watchlist’ and banned major Qatari charities. Among the terrorist-supporting charities named, is Qatar Charity that advertises its mission is "to participate in the preservation of Islamic culture through the construction of mosques. We spread our Islamic teachings with the world, and we invite you to be part of it in this achievement." But the QC -- that nation’s and one of the Arab World’s largest charities -- has long been known to fund the very same extremists Islamists terror groups listed by the ATQ.

The ATQ designation was met with a furious reaction in Doha, where the allegations were rejected out of hand. It was stated that Qatar's Ministry of Social Affairs evaluated all Qatar's charities, "and monitors every penny they receive and send." It was claimed that "Since its establishment in 1984, [it was actually founded in 1982] Qatar Charity (QC) has sponsored 213,750 young orphans into adulthood, and has built more than 621 schools worldwide." The argument hardly countered the four-nation claim. Still, it was noted that in 2014, QC was ranked first by the United Nations for its relief efforts in the Syrian, Palestinian, and Somali crises. Of course, there was no mention of Qatar's involvement in the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime in Libya.

That was followed by $550,000 to aid Libyan refugees. However, a map provided by the QC itself that enumerates its historic activity around the world shows no activity at all in Libya. Before the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime, in February 2011, the QC allocated $960,000 for "humanitarian aid for Libyans, and for the "hundreds of thousands of people who have been facing the wrath of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his close aides." It also provided significant funding for Libyan refugees in southern Tunisia and Egypt.

The fact that Qatar played a pivotal role in the elimination of the Gaddafi regime and the chaos that emanated from the so-called Arab Spring that impacted Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, and Gulf State nations has never received the attention in the West that it deserves. And the QC statement that "Since the start of the Syrian war more than six years ago, Qatar Charity has helped about eight million Syrians,” a dubious claim at best, was never questioned.

Qatar’s denial of funding terrorism was immediately supported by the UN. A spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated that the organization was "not bound by Saudi Arabia's 'terror list.'" Rather, it was argued that the Qatar Charity had been "ranked first by the UN for its relief efforts in the Syrian, Palestinian and Somali crises." It was noted that Qatar Charity partnered with the UNHCR, UNICEF, and the World Food Program, and with such private charities like Oxfam, CARE, and USAID. In sum, the UN responded that "The UN is bound only by the sanctions lists put together by UN organs such as the Security Council. We're not bound by any other lists."

Not surprisingly, the Guterres statement was rewarded by Qatar in August 2017 with a $8.5m donation to the UN "to finance aid workers on the ground in Syria." It was the sort of donation -- supposedly with no strings attached -- that the UN loves and nations use to burnish a tarnished reputation.

Earlier, in the aftermath of the Riyadh Summit last May, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Doha and praised Qatar for signing a separate "memorandum of understanding" outlining Qatar's "future efforts to disrupt financing for terrorists."

Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammad Al Thani and his Charitable Association (or Foundation) (EID Charity), were also banned last June by the ATQ. The EID Charity was established in 1995 in Doha, Qatar, and since then has expanded its operations to at least 60 countries.

In Canada, EID Charity has been known for its involvement in teaching and training imams and preachers. A Canada Revenue Agency audit (Oct. 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2013 ) of the Islamic Society of British Columbia alleged the charity was “controlled or influenced” by the Qatari EID Foundation that is accused of supporting terrorism.

The Islamic Society operates the Masjid Al-Hidayah and Islamic Cultural Centre in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. “The organization’s connection to and possible control by the Eid Foundation is particularly concerning given that publicly available information… indicates that the Eid Foundation is alleged to have provided support to terrorism,” the CRA Charities Directorate wrote, according to Global News report. “Our research indicates that the Eid Foundation is a member organization in the Union of Good, a global coalition of Islamic charities operated by Hamas, a listed terrorist entity in Canada.”

In 2011, Eid Charity donated 385,000 QAR (about $1.4 million) for purchasing Mississauga-based Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre and Safa and Marwa Islamic School. Five years later, in January 2016, it was Ibrahim Hindy, the imam of Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre, known for publicly expressing support of all Mujahedeen to advance jihad everywhere, who went to Qatar on a fundraising mission. Later that year he hosted Sheikh Nash’at Ahmad, an Egyptian Salafist preacher, who was arrested in Egypt for urging support of  Mujahedeen carrying out global jihad and has also justified the 9/11 attacks.

According to Al Jazeera Center for Studies, Sheikh Nash’at Ahmad is famous for his fiery sermons against the enemies of Islam and his support for re-establishing the Islamic Caliphate. On January 2, 2016, he recited the following supplication (originally in Arabic) “[O Allah] give victory to our brother in Greater Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Burma, Mali, Yemen and other Muslim countries... O Allah, take revenge of the enemies of Your religion. O Allah, destroy the Jews and all others who support them in countries around the world... O Allah, destroy the Russians, Hindus, Shiites Communists, destroy all those who attacked the Muslims. O Lord, count their number; slay them one by one and spare not one of them. O Allah, purify the Muslims lands from their filth and squalor, O Allah liberate the imprisoned Al-Aqsa [mosque].”

As Qatar continues to deny its involvement with Islamist extremists and complains about the hardship caused by the June “blockade,” its Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Dr. Ghaith bin Mubarak Al Kuwari, has bragged that Qatari Dawa (proselytization) programs are expanding, and noted that the Qatari-sponsored Muslim Brotherhood's “multi-language Islamweb has increased” and its “audio reached about 3bn,” listeners.

In Washington, White House national security adviser, General H.R. McMaster, declared, “Turkey had joined Qatar as a prime source of funding that contributes to the spread of extremist ideology.” The general went on to state “We didn’t pay enough attention to how extremist ideologies were being advanced through madrassas and mosques, and so-called charities more broadly.” However, no announcement was made on forthcoming sanctions against either Turkish or Qatari charities.

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