US media is reporting that a Hamas leader has commented on the controversial “Ground Zero mosque.” According to a report in the New York Post:
A leader of the Hamas terror group yesterday jumped into the emotional debate on the plan to construct a mosque near Ground Zero — insisting Muslims “have to build” it there. “We have to build everywhere,” said Mahmoud al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas and the organization’s chief on the Gaza Strip. “In every area we have, [as]Muslim[s], we have to pray, and this mosque is the only site of prayer,” he said on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on WABC. “We have to build the mosque, as you are allowed to build the church and Israelis are building their holy places.” Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf (inset) got support from Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar (above left, with Gaza political leader Ismail Haniyeh), who spoke on WABC Radio yesterday in favor of Rauf’s proposal to build an Islamic center in this downtown location two blocks from Ground Zero. Hamas, he added, “is representing the vast majority of the Arabic and Islamic world — especially the Islamic side.”…Zahar said Muslims around the world, including those who live in this country, are united in a common cause. “First of all, we have to address that we are different as people, as a nation, totally different,” he said. “We already are living under the tradition of Islam. “Islam is controlling every source of our life as regard to marriage, divorce, our commercial relationships,” Zahar said. “Even the Islamic people or the Muslims in your country, they are living now in the tradition of Islam. They are fasting; they are praying.” …Hamas first came up in the mosque debate earlier this summer when Abdul Rauf refused to describe the group as a terrorist organization.
The Hamas charter states that it is ” is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and an Israeli TV station has reported that in 2008, Muslim Brotherhood “representatives” traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the open border to meet with Hamas. An earlier media report indicated that shortly after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives were present to review Hamas military formations. Last June, a Hamas journalist acknowledged the role that the “international Muslim Brotherhood” has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons.
The head of the Federation of Islamic Organizations In Europe (FIOE) has also expressed his support for the proposed mosque:
Shakib Bin-Makhlouf, president of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, lauded President Obama’s endorsement of the mosque, adding that it could improve strained American-Islamic relations in the post-9/11 era. This may deepen American resentment of Islam, but it could also have a good effect. There is no room for pessimism.” Bin-Makhlouf told The Media Line. “Islam has nothing to do with the events that happened on 9/11,” Bin-Makhlouf added. “Unfortunately, the media has contributed in tying terrorism to Islam. When a non-Muslim commits an act of terror, no-one referrers to his religion.”
A report on FIOE by the NEFA Foundation describes the organization as follows:
The Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE) claims to be an independent organization representing the interests of Muslims in Europe. In reality, the FIOE is an umbrella group that comprises the global Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. Strong links connect FIOE’s leadership central institutions and member organizations to the Brotherhood, as well as to Saudi Arabia. Funding for the FIOE is derived largely from Gulf sources, including some of the ruling families of the United Arab Emirates. The FIOE has strong ties to Hamas and Hamas fund-raising organizations, and some FIOE member organizations show evidence of links with Al-Qaida. The FIOE recently opened a headquarters office in Brussels and has had some success in positioning itself as a “dialog partner” for the EU and other important institutions.
A previous post has discussed the suppot for the Ground Zero moque expressed by the US Muslim Brotherhood.