The U.S. Treasury Department has designated the Union of Good, a worldwide collection of charities headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, as a terrorist entity as a result of its fund-raising activities on behalf of Hamas. According to a just-released Treasury announcement:
Union of Good was designated today under Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists, terrorist organizations, and those providing financial, technological, or material support to terrorists, terrorist organizations, or acts of terrorism. Any assets the Union of Good holds under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the Union of Good. The leadership of Hamas created the Union of Good in late-2000, shortly after the start of the second Intifada, in order to facilitate the transfer of funds to Hamas. The Union of Good acts as a broker for Hamas by facilitating financial transfers between a web of charitable organizations—including several organizations previously designated under E.O. 13224 for providing support to Hamas—and Hamas-controlled organizations in the West Bank and Gaza. The primary purpose of this activity is to strengthen Hamas’ political and military position in the West Bank and Gaza, including by: (i) diverting charitable donations to support Hamas members and the families of terrorist operatives; and (ii) dispensing social welfare and other charitable services on behalf of Hamas. Among the primary financiers of Union of Good projects are several organizations designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 for providing support to Hamas and other terrorist groups, including the International Palestine Relief and Development Fund (Interpal), Al- Aqsa Foundation, Comite de Bienfaisance et de Secours aux Palestiniens (CBSP), the Association de Secours Palestiniens (ASP) of Switzerland, the Palestinian Association in Austria (PVOE), and the Sanabil Association for Relief and Development in Lebanon. The Union of Good facilitates the transfer of tens of millions of dollars a year to Hamas- managed associations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Funds raised by the Union of Good affiliates have been transferred to Hamas-managed organizations in the West Bank and Gaza. In addition to providing cover for Hamas financial transfers, some of the funds transferred by the Union of Good have compensated Hamas terrorists by providing payments to the families of suicide bombers. One of them, the Al-Salah Society, previously identified as a key support node for Hamas, was designated in August 2007 under E.O. 13224. The Society employed a number of members of the Hamas military wing and supported Hamas-affiliated combatants during the first Intifada. The Union of Good’s executive leadership and board of directors includes Hamas leaders, Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs), and other terrorist supporters. The secretary general of the Union of Good, for example, also acts as the vice-chairman of the United Kingdom-based Interpal, which was designated in 2003 for providing financial support to Hamas under the cover of charitable activity. As of mid-2007, this official served on the Hamas executive committee under Hamas leader Khaled Misha’al. Board members of the Union of Good include a West Bank Hamas member, and Abd al a Yemen-based Hamas fundraiser who was designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 in 2004 for providing support to al-Qaida. In 2006, Zindani delivered a fundraising speech at a Hamas conference in Yemen where the crowd pledged millions of riyals for Hamas.
Curiously, the Treasury annoucement makes no mention of Youssef Qaradawi who is the head of the Union of Good.
As previous posts have discussed, actions against Union of Good member organizations had already been taken in many countries. The United States designated the Al-Aqsa Foundation and Interpal on May 2003 while Germany and the Netherlands acted to close the Al-Aqsa Foundations branches in those countries. In Denmark, the leaders of Al-Aqsa were charged but later acquitted of terrorism-financing charges. Other European countries such as the U.K., France, and Belgium have never acted against Union of Good members in those countries although the U.K. based Interpal has been the subject of several investigations by local charity regulators. The Union of Good itself has never previously been banned or the subject of any other governmental actions, although it still maintains a website and solicits donations with a server located in the U.S., possibly in violation of U.S. terrorism-financing laws. The U.S. also has never acted against Qaradawi himself despite his support for suicide bombings and his role as the head of the Union of Good.
For numerous posts referencing the Union of Good, click here.