The “Humanitarian Relief” Wing of Hamas and Al-Qaeda

The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedom and Humanitarian Relief (better known by its Turkish acronym, IHH) is the group that organized the six-ship flotilla which recently tried, without success, to sail all the way to Gaza. Established in Turkey in 1992, the Foundation sends aid to distressed areas throughout the Middle East – in the form of food, medicine, vocational education, and building supplies. A prime destination for this aid is Gaza, where – according to IHH – Palestinians are being oppressed by an unjustified Israeli naval blockade. (For the record, that blockade was put in place to prevent Hamas, which controls Gaza politically and has fired thousands of rockets into southern Israeli towns in recent years, from importing additional weaponry from Iran and other allies abroad.)

For several days last week, as the flotilla approached Gaza, Israel issued warnings that the ships would not be permitted to reach their destination without first submitting to an inspection of their cargoes – to ensure that no weaponry was being transported. But when the respective crews of the vessels refused to comply, Israeli commandos took action and intercepted the flotilla in the early morning hours of May 31. The IHH-affiliated activists responded with violence, instantly attacking the commandos with knives and clubs, and throwing one of them overboard. In the melee that ensued, ten activists were killed and seven Israeli soldiers were wounded. How could this be? How can we be expected to believe that a well-meaning “humanitarian relief” group would ever behave in a manner that might provoke violent reprisals from Israeli troops? A more thorough examination of IHH’s history and affiliations explains everything.

While IHH is indeed involved in the aforementioned humanitarian endeavors, its overall objectives are much broader. Belying the dove of peace whose image appears on its logo, IHH overtly supports Hamas, is sympathetic to al Qaeda, and maintained regular contact with al Qaeda cells and the Sunni insurgency during the bloodiest stretches of the Iraq War. Moreover, IHH has supported jihadist terror networks not only in Iraq, but also in Bosnia, Syria, Afghanistan, and Chechnya. According to Carnegie Endowment analyst Henri Barkey, IHH is “an Islamist organization” that “has been deeply involved with Hamas for some time.” A 2006 report by the Danish Institute for International Studies characterized IHH as one of many “charitable front groups that provide support to Al-Qaida” and the global jihad.

Is the IHH beginning to sound less and less like a “humanitarian relief” group? Let’s look a little deeper still.

According to a French intelligence report, in the mid-1990s IHH leader Bülent Yildirim was directly involved in recruiting “veteran soldiers” to organize jihad activities, and in dispatching IHH operatives to war zones in Islamic countries to gain combat experience. The report also stated that IHH had transferred money as well as “caches of firearms, knives and pre-fabricated explosives” to Muslim fighters in those countries. Given this track record, can Israel’s concern about the contents of the IHH flotilla cargoes really be considered excessive or unwarranted?

In 1996, IHH continued to burnish its credentials as a “humanitarian relief” organization when an examination of its telephone records showed that repeated calls had been made to an al Qaeda guest house in Milan and to Algerian terrorists operating in Europe. That same year, the U.S. government formally identified IHH as having connections to extremist groups in Iran and Algeria.

In December 1997, Turkish authorities, acting on a tip from sources claiming that IHH leaders had purchased automatic weapons from other regional Islamic militant groups, initiated a domestic criminal investigation of IHH. A thorough search of the organization’s Istanbul bureau uncovered a large assortment of firearms, explosives, bomb-making instructions, and a “jihad flag.” In addition, Turkish authorities seized a host of IHH documents whose contents ultimately led investigators to conclude that the group’s members “were going to fight in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Chechnya.”

Near the end of 2000, IHH organized protests against proposals to overthrow that humanitarian icon, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein; American and Israeli flags were burned at these rallies.

During the April 2001 trial of would-be “millennium bomber” Ahmed Ressam, it was revealed that IHH had played an “important role” in the plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport on December 31, 1999. Some reasonable observers might contend that to classify such a pursuit under the heading of “humanitarian relief” would require an unduly broad definition of that term.

In 2002, investigators found correspondences from IHH in the offices of the Success Foundation, a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organization whose Secretary was Abdul Rahman Alamoudi. For the record: The Brotherhood was the ideological forebear of Hamas and al Qaeda; it supports jihad; and it seeks to impose shari’a law on the entire civilized world. Mr. Alamoudi, for his part, is currently serving a prison term of nearly a quarter-century for his role as a funder of international terrorism. He is best known for having proudly declared himself to be a passionate supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah. The connections to “humanitarian relief” seem rather tenuous here.

According to a report issued by a website close to Israeli military intelligence: “[S]ince Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, IHH has supported Hamas’ propaganda campaigns by organizing public support conferences in Turkey.” The report also states that IHH continues to operate widely throughout Gaza and to funnel large sums of money to support the Hamas infrastructure.

In January 2008, an IHH delegation met with Ahmed Bahar, chairman of Hamas’ council in the Gaza Strip. At the meeting, the delegation not only boasted about the large amount of financial support it had given Hamas during the preceding year, but also declared its intent to double that sum in the future. Once again, we are left to wonder how any of this falls under the rubric of “humanitarian relief.”

In 2008 Israel banned IHH from the country because of the organization’s membership in the “Union of Good” (UOG), a Hamas-founded umbrella coalition comprised of more than 50 Islamic charities (most of which are associated with the global Muslim Brotherhood) that channel money and goods to Hamas-affiliated institutions. In December 2008, the U.S. government designated UOG as a terrorist entity that was guilty of “diverting” donations that were intended for “social welfare and other charitable services,” and using those funds “to strengthen Hamas’ political and military position.”

In January 2009, IHH head Bülent Yildirim met with Khaled Mash’al, chairman of Hamas’ political bureau in Damascus, and Mash’al thanked Yildirim for the support of his organization.

In November 2009 IHH activist Izzat Shahin transferred tens of thousands of American dollars from IHH to the Islamic Charitable Society (in Hebron) and Al-Tadhamun (in Nablus), two of Hamas’ most important front groups posing as “charitable societies.”

This, then, is the IHH: a pack of anti-Semitic supporters of terrorism, cloaking themselves in the vestments of victimhood, and bleating to the world about how unfairly they have been treated by the very nation whose extermination they have worked long and hard to bring about. It’s actually a story that has become quite familiar.

  • jim

    When a nation's leaders and media instantly condemn a country without exploring the facts of the situation, that nation is in trouble. We are in trouble.

  • Kim Bruce

    Why don't the Israelis ask if they may be allowed to inspect the cargoes of these ships before they even leave port?
    Perhaps that would eleiminate the need for a confronation at sea?

    • Kanwi

      Ships of this nature can be supplied with weapons in a rendezvous at sea. The time to inspect is at or near the front gate of where ever.

    • USMCSniper

      Oh dear, let's not upset all those Jihadists on board from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran without passports by confrontation. Listen My dear Kim, if any foreign cargo ship sailed into New York Harbor and refused to be boarded or stopped, Either Armed SWAT teams from helicopters would board it or the Coast Guard would fire on it!

    • pappy86us

      From what I hear they did request permission… they didn't answer. Apparently, six or seven vessels did allow the Israelis to board. The ship that was boarded and attacked did not answer.

      • reason

        The ship did answer: "Negative. Negative. Our destination is Gaza."

  • cecilgranger
  • Cuban Refugee

    If IHH supports the global jihad, and its respective terror networks, and Israel was acting in perfectly legal self-defense, what are we to make of our president, the supposed leader of the free world, who condemns Israel at every turn? Has he finally taken off his slimy poseur mask and declared himself an anti-Semitic, Muslim sympathizer? Certainly, his actiions since taking office — from the millions of dollars spent at a time when this country could least afford to support Palestinian refugees, to his recent shabby treatment of Netanyahu, to his duplicitous statements and other questionable actions — have already begun to expose him for the inexperienced, but dangerous, communist, Islamofascist ideologue that he has hidden from the average American behind the skirts of MSNBC, ABC, NBC, the NY Times, and the rest of the sycophantic, conspiratorial media.

    • American Eagle

      You nailed it, "Cuben Refugee".

      His ACTIONS speak for themselves. All we have to do is draw conclusions. And no, 'obama is stupid' or "obama is a coward" or "obama is an appeaser-chamberlaine" are not the conclusions supported his actions and will to perform those actions.

      He is the leader of the anti-american cabal, which is
      generally described as the Left (both domestic and international). They want to destroy and take over america and, if Obama's announcements (and actions) are any guide, the whole world.

      The only question is—what are we, the people of these United States are going to do about it? Again,
      if history is any guide—both past and most recent one—you can not and will not be allowed to defeat
      the beast by any procedural means—elections, writing to the senators, 'electing conservatives' in Nov (if Nov ever happens), protesting in DC, challenging the constiutionality of their actions in SC, none of this is going to work. The beast has its
      boot on your collective neck. Why would he simply let go? Just because we wave the Constitution and 'rule of law' sermons in his face? Ain't gonna happen. Never has before, either. Look at all the tyrants Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Mao … not once in the history of mankind a tyrant has willingly given up power once he has the victim under his boot. Not even the ones who came to power through
      "democratic means". At least two such come to mind—hitler and mussolini, and oh, Peron of Argentina … This latter is perhaps the most apt analogue of Obama. Both came to power with little
      more than charm, through democratic means, with
      HUGE popular expectations. Both ran their respective countries (argentina was a superpower then—IIRC, 7th largest economy in the world).
      Both, immediately after coming to power, started deliberately breaking their countries. In both cases,
      their tyrannical natures came to fore gradually, in direct proportion to the opposition they met—popular AND political. End result? Argentina was turned into one of the poorest nations in the world,
      with Peron and later his wife taking turns to rage a decades-long war on the people. Peron never held
      an honest election during his regime. Why would he?
      To give up his power just because the Constitution
      says so?

      These are not ordinary times, folks. You are about to loose your Republic, the one that was given to you with words, "if you can keep it." You can't take it back by conventional methods. Simply because the
      enemy does not abide by those rules that you hold so precious. Its an uneven field. A british night fighting a duel, in keeping with all the rules of the day, and his opponent, fighting precisely in order to overturn those rules. Time to stop deluding ourselves, folks. Before it's too late.

      • mhg

        Unfortunately or fortunately, most of the people who read FrontPageMag, already know this.

        The thing is what do we do?

        I have been emailing all these different politicians, both sides, and words don't seem to be working. And, trying to tell liberals what is happening, goes on deaf ears.

        You are correct, the real enemy we have right now, is the one with all the power, Obama.

        I do not understand how there are people out there actually supporting him, still.

        • Carolina Don

          mhg: 'trying to tell liberals what is happening, goes on deeaf ears'.
          This is because the liberals already know what is going on and are behind it one hundred percent. I have said from the beginning that BHO would be the last president that America would elect. As he grabs more and more power, he will not let go. This is just like the muslims…and he is one.

  • glenkille

    Workers of New York Unite!!……union and non-union………refuse to work on this disgusting mosque (in Arabic mosque is 'mehrab' meaning, "place of battle") near Ground Zero. Out of respect for your city, the victims of 9/11, your troops and Vets and your country. No workers, no mosque……………….(readers: please pass this on and post on any and all websites. We can stop this insult)

  • USMCSniper

    Watch the movie "Unthinkable" on…. It is about an American Muslim terrorist who plants four nuclear bombs in three cities where millions will die. And they do because the woman agent isn't up to why extreme torture is necessary for the information extraction for the bomb locations.

  • jac

    One can expect some of the naive, wilfuly ignorant, and gratefully outraged in the West mounting further flotitllas to provoke direct confrontations so as to exploit national honor and further turn the tide of popular opinion of their respective countrymen in support of Hamas.

  • Andres de Alamaya

    Thank you, for a fully informative piece. I suspected this all along and it is good to know that my suspicions were warranted. But what we need is for mass media to disseminate this. So much of the world is blind to these facts. Israel itself should do much more in letting the world know about who they are dealing with and how we are all affected.

  • BS1977

    As usual the Israel and Jew haters are finding more propaganda for hurling vile and unsupported venom at Israel for merely trying to protect itself from terrorist explosives and weapons. They urged the ship to dock and be inspected…all humanitarian aid would go to Gaza, no problem….but the ship refused. When boarded, the troops were attacked by the "peace activists" with deadly weapons, knives, wrenches etc etc….The UN is a pile of rotten garbage…just days before over 100 people were slaughtered in Pakistan ( members of an Islamic sect)….and the UN, the leftist media etc etc…silent.

  • GodsSeer

    And they will build a Msoque near ground zero. WHAT was it we were not going to ever forget?

    And the beat goes on.