Arabic media is reporting on several workshops in Gaza and the West Bank initiated by the Qatar Charity in preparation for an international humanitarian summit planned in Istanbul during 2016. According to a translation of the report by the pro-government Qatari news portal Bawabat al-Sharq, the summit is jointly organized by the Humanitarian Forum and an office of the United Nations:
The Qatar Charity has organized workshops for national dialogue in Gaza and the West Bank, in preparation towards the planned World Humanitarian Summit due to take place in Istanbul during 2016. The summit is jointly organized by the Humanitarian Forum and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and more than 100 humanitarian organizations are due to take part in it. According to the report, more than 150 participants, representing more than 100 civil society organizations dealing with Palestinian humanitarian issues participated in the workshops, as well as representatives of different Palestinian government sectors. In the West Bank, the workshop was opened by the Director of Qatar Charity’s West Bank office Mohammed Joudat al-Jamal.
The summit referred to in the above report is an initiative of the UN Secretary-General and described on its website as:
The first global summit on humanitarian action of this size and scope, it will be held in Istanbul in May 2016. The goal of this summit is to bring the global community together to commit to new ways of working together to save lives and reduce hardship around the globe.
The upcoming summit illustrates important developments in the Global Muslim Brotherhood and is unusual in that it is taking places under UN auspices and with the seeming approval of the UK Charity Commission. A briefing on the summit also found on the website confirms that UK-based Dr. Hany El-Banna, head of the Humanitarian Forum and relationship to the Muslim Brotherhood founder if any unknown, is playing the lead role with respect to the participating Islamic organizations. The Humanitarian Forum explains its origins as follows:
In 2004, Oxfam, The British Red Cross and Islamic Relief began discussions with a range of European organisations and governments, to find ways of integrating Muslim organisations into the international field of humanitarian relief and development cooperation. The discussions resulted in a London conference, where a number of humanitarian actors came together with other stakeholders, including the US Embassy, DFID, the FCO, the Charity Commission and international NGOs. Our current Advisory Group emerged from this conference, bringing together key humanitarian organisations from the West, Islamic countries and the multilateral system to solve problems “in the field”. So began The Humanitarian Forum.
To begin, Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) is headquartered in the UK where it’s chairman of the board of trustees is Ibrahim El-Zayat, a leader in both the European and the German Muslim Brotherhood. Over the years, many of the other IRW trustees/officers have been important leaders in the Global Muslim Brotherhood and the organization was one of the founding members of the Union of Good, the global Hamas fundraising network headed by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi. The Humanitarian Forum itself is headed by the Hany El-Banna whose bio describes him as follows:
Dr Hany El Banna has founded several charities including The Humanitarian Forum, Islamic Relief and the Muslim Charities Forum. He is also a board member of the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty (CIFA). He has visited over 60 of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries on behalf of these organisations. Dr El Banna originally trained in Medicine, both in Egypt and the UK. Amongst his many achievements, he has been awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE), the Ibn Khaldun Award for Excellence in Promoting Understanding between Global Cultures and Faiths (UK) and the UK Muslim Power 100 Lifetime Achievement award.
In addition to Islamic Relief, already discussed, the GMBDW has recently reported that the UK has stripped state funding from the Muslim Charities Forum (MCF), an umbrella group for charities, some known to have been part of the Union of Good (UOG) including Islamic Relief. In addition, the Muslim members of the Humanitarian Forum Advisory board are all either part of the Global Muslim Brotherhood or, in the case of the Iranian member close to the Iranian government:
- Qatar Charitable Organisation (see below)
- International Islamic Charitable Organisation (IICO) – Kuwaiti charity tied to Youssef Qaradawi and many GMB groups/leaders
- Islamic Relief Worldwide – see above
- Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) – sponsor of the 2010 Gaza Flotilla
- World Assembly for Muslim Youth (WAMY) – Saudi youth group close to the GMB
- Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation – (close to Iranian government)
The Forum Advisory Board also lists Oxfam and the UK Charity Commission, charged with regulating all Uk charities, as a member. The participation of Oxfam is not surprising given the organization’s track record with the UK Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas groups but the relationship of the UK Charity commission is a real puzzle, particularly given its current direct who has recently said that “Islamic extremism was “potentially the most deadly” problem faced by the commission.”
The four Humanitarian Forum trustees are also all well-known individuals tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood:
- Hany El Banna (founder and President, see above)
- Ibrahim Hassaballa (Treasurer, former director of the ICCO, bagman for the SAAR Foundation)
- Abdul Wahab Noorwali (WAMY trustee)
The planned summit is no doubt yet another example of the Qatari-Turkish axis which has emerged in recent times as a major supporter of the Global Muslim Brotherhood including Hamas. The notion that Qatar has ceased its patronage of the Muslim Brotherhood appears to have begun in September when the GMBDW reported on the announcement by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood that a number of its leaders had been asked by Qatar to leave the country. As we have said in that and other posts, the GMBDW has doubts that Qatar has fully withdrawn its patronage of the Global Muslim Brotherhood. To begin with, we do not see evidence that Qatar has done anything to dismantle the significant infrastructure located in Qatar propping up the Brotherhood and which includes Qatar charity, sponsor of the workshops described above. As we described in September:
Qatar is a major sponsor of the Global Muslim Brotherhood networks though its official and quasi-official organizations such as Qatar Charity, the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, and the Qatar Foundation. Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi and Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal are also hosted and resident in Qatar which itself is a major funder of Hamas. The GMBDW reported in late August that the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), a Turkish group close to the Global Muslim Brotherhood, has signed a ‘strategic cooperation agreement’ with Qatar. Earlier this month, we reported that Qatar Charity had sponsored an conference in Istanbul at which GMB leaders announced a $1 billion fundraising campaign for Gaza and the launch of a new organization appearing to unify Hamas fundraising and flotilla efforts.
Since then, relevant developments have included:
- In January. Qatar and Turkey signed signed a series of agreements including a memorandum to establish a ‘Supreme Strategic Committee’ and a deal on military cooperation.
- Also in January we reported that Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal attended the annual conference of the ruling Turkish AKP Party and met with the Turkish Prime Minister.
- In December of last year the GMBDW reported on the launch of multiple new Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated TV station, mostly located in Turkey and said to be financially backed by Qatar.
- In September of last year, the we reported on the launch of a $1 billion campaign ostensibly for the rebuilding of the Gaza strip and initiated by a new organization headed by a well known UK Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood figure. As noted, the event was held in Istanbul and sponsored by Qatar Charity.
As we have often noted, a 2011 report report authored by the GMBDW editor concluded that since 2006, Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. Last month, the GMBDW reported on that Israel had arrested dozens of members of a Hamas terror network said to be funded and directed by Hamas officials in Turkey.
For a profile of Hany El Banna, go here.