Questionable Charity Groups Cloud Syrian Benefit

Syrian songwriter/singer/activist Yahya Hawwa is currently touring Muslim communities in America as part of Sounds of Syria: a benefit to help Syrians in need.   While this appears to be a worthwhile endeavor, several of the groups that sponsor Mr. Hawwa’s performances do not have the best track records in regards to where raised funds end up being distributed.

In 2012, Mr. Hawwa performed as part of “Sounds of Light 2012” in the U.K. under the primary sponsorship  of Human Appeal International (HAI) along with Syria Relief (UK).    According to a 2005 report by the NGO Monitor, HAI has funded Hamas in the past.  In 2003 the FBI outlined a close relationship between HAI and Hamas during the Holy Land Foundation investigation.  As reported by The  Independent  in Nov 2005:

Millions of pounds donated by British and other European charities to help the Palestinian poor were unwittingly diverted to fund terror and support the families of suicide bombers, Israeli prosecutors claimed yesterday.

The news article further states:

The charge sheet names two British charities, Human Appeal International and Interpal. Human Appeal is a broadly based fundraising organisation, currently helping victims of the Pakistani earthquake.

A  July 2012 article by the The Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy, reported:

Not only is Human Appeal International accused of transferring funds to Hamas; but here in Europe, it also has close relations with extremists who openly support Hamas. One of the Human Appeal’s current trustees is Dr. Nooh al Kaddo, who also serves as the executive director of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland (ICCI), and is a member of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe. Both of these are considered to be part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s European network, with the ICCI hosting the European Council for Fatwa and Research, which is headed by the notorious anti-Semitic hate preacher Yusuf Al-Qaradawi. Qaradawi is a supporter of suicide bombings in Israel.

Recently, HAI hosted an event with the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS), featuring the hate preacher Dr. Haitham al-Haddad as a guest speaker.  Al-Haddad regards Jews as “enemies of god, and the descendants of apes and pigs”, and disregards any form of peace until “Allah’s law [will] govern the whole earth, and for no other law to remain.” Haddad deems homosexuality a crime and supports the subjugation of women, telling them: “you must obey [your husband].”

Available promotional flyers for Mr. Hawwa’s current U.S. tour locations do not list HAI.  Most show the Muslim American Society (MAS) and Syrian Relief and Development as sponsors, but the Cedar Rapids, MI flyer raises a flagcedar-rapids-Hawwa.

Note that Life for Relief and Development (LIFE) is listed.   This organization is one of the larger U.S. based Islamic Charities, frequently partners with HAI and has been linked to Hamas.

Mr. Hawwa was also part of a LIFE in March 2012 at the “United We Stand for a Free Syria” event in Lafayette Park in front of the White House, Washington, DC.

Life for Relief and Development made headlines in 2006 when it was raided by the FBI in connection to one of it’s executives, Muthanna al-Hanooti accused of spying for Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi government.

“Al-Hanooti collected over $6 million for support of Hamas,” according to a 2001 FBI report.  His name was on the list of  unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land case.

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