The Al-Aqsa Foundation purports to be a charity providing aid to needy Muslims around the world. It has offices in numerous countries, among them Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Pakistan, Yemen, South Africa, the Netherlands, and Denmark. In May 2003 the Bush administration issued an order to freeze the Foundation’s financial assets, because of its suspected funding of the terrorist group Hamas. “By designating the Al-Aqsa Foundation, we have deprived the Hamas terrorist organization of a vital source of funding and have shut off yet another pipeline of money financing terror,” stated U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow. “Today’s action demonstrates our commitment to prevent the perversion of charitable organizations for terrorist ends.”
Other nations, including the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Britain, Luxemburg, and Switzerland, have also taken action against the Al-Aqsa Foundation — either blocking its assets or shutting down its local activities.
The confirmed ties between the Al-Aqsa Foundation and terrorism are many:
- Mahmoud Amr, the Director of the Al-Aqsa Foundation in Germany, is an active figure in Hamas.
- The Al-Aqsa Foundation’s name appears on lists of organizations that are known to have contributed to the Hamas-affiliated Charity Coalition in 2001 and 2002.
- On January 1, 2003, the Danish government charged three Al-Aqsa Foundation officials in Denmark with supporting terrorism. That same month, the leader of the Foundation’s Yemeni branch, Shaykh Muhammad Ali Hassan Al-Muayad, was arrested by German authorities for providing support (in the form of money, arms, recruits, and communications equipment) to al Qaeda, Hamas, and other terrorist groups. An FBI affadavit supports these charges.
- The Islamic League of Norway (ILN) used the Al-Aqsa Foundation in Sweden to funnel money from Muslims in Oslo to Hamas.
- At the ILN’s annual conference in May 2002, the General Secretary of the Islamic League in Sweden exhorted all Muslims to provide financial support to the Al-Aqsa Foundation, support he said would contribute to the continuation of suicide bombing missions and, ultimately, the destruction of Israel.
- Ali Muqbil, the General Manager of the Al-Aqsa Foundation in Yemen and a Hamas official, is known to have transferred funds to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian groups assisting in suicide attacks against Israelis. These disbursements were recorded as contributions for charitable projects. Through channels such as this, more than $3 million was funneled to the “Palestinian cause.”