A Qatar-based charity accused of funding Hamas has hired a lobbyist to represent it in the United States.
The Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammed al-Thani Charitable Foundation, located in Doha, Qatar, recently brought aboard Wendell Belew, a Washington D.C.-based lawyer, to lobby on its behalf. Belew, who will work on issues dealing with ‘NGO regulations and charity best practices,’ previously served as chief counsel of the House Budget Committee.
The foundation was one of 36 organizations banned in Israel in July 2008 for its links to fundraising for Hamas.
‘This is a significant step against the global network which assists Hamas in raising funds. The order outlaws a great number of bodies that are active abroad and which are responsible for raising very large sums,’ the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs said at the time of the foundation bans.
Abd al-Rahman al-Nu’aymi, a founding member of the organization, was said by U.S. officials in 2013 to have funneled millions of dollars to al Qaeda in Syria and Iraq.
The Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on Nu’aymi in December 2013 after he was named a specially designated global terrorist for being a ‘financier and facilitator who has provided money and material support and conveyed communications to al-Qa’ida and its affiliates in Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen for more than a decade.’
Nu’aymi ordered the transfer of $600,000 through an al Qaeda representative in Syria with the intention of transferring at least $50,000 more at a later date, according to the Treasury. Additionally, he oversaw a transfer of $2 million per month to al Qaeda in Iraq for an unspecified period of time.
This is not the first time that Belew has worked on behalf of a group with ties to terrorist organizations. Belew previously represented the Saudi Arabia-based Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, an organization that was found to be a significant backer of al Qaeda.
Read the rest here.
According to his LinkedIn resume, Wendell Belew is a former Chief Counsel for the US House of Representative, Committee on the Budget and an attorney based in the US. His resume also says that from 2004 – 2009, Mr Belew was the President of the US-based Friends Of Charities Association (FOC). The FOC was a Saudi-initiated organization engaged during those years in the legal and/or public defense of numerous Saudi Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas charities under government scrutiny following the 911 attacks including the notorious Holy Land Foundation. Since October 2012, Mr Belew has been the President of FARIS SPM with offices in London, Vienna, Riyadh and Washington and described as:
…a full service global consultancy firm tailored to international clients who require first class access, advice, analysis and information in order to secure meaningful relationships with appropriate high quality representatives.
Evidence suggest that FARIS SPM is actually a lobby firm representing the interests of Saudi Arabia but also claims to have Introduced and brokered a $55 million contract for fibre-optical sensor installation, into a landmark real estate development project in the United Arab Emirates. In addition, the FARIS SPM Research Director is listed as a participant in an August 2014 Gulf Research Center (GRC) workshop. In June 2011, Gulf media reported that after more than ten years of operating in Dubai, the GRC was denied a renewal of its professional license in the UAE. The GRC issued a statement at that time saying its ten-year professional license was not renewed by Dubai’s Department of Economic Development due to “objections by the Dubai government to various aspects of the GRC’s work”.
Another online bio states that Mr Belew serves as the Vice-President of the International Bureau Of Humanitarians (IBH). The purpose of the IBH is not entirely clear but material posted on the IBH website suggests that the organization was set up in 2003 as an alternative to “Northern NGO’s” and as a reaction to what in was called “an unprecedented war waged by the American administration against all organizations of any Islamic shade” following the September 11 attacks. The Saudi International Islamic Relief Organization (IIROSA) identifies itself as a founding member of the IBH and the IBH lists offices in Paris and Geneva. The IBH Geneva address is the same as the Alkarama Foundation whose President Abdul Rahman Omeir Al Naimi, also an IBH board member, was designated by the US as a terrorist financier as reported above. An IBH web page identified the organization’s leaders in 2004:
- Haytham Manna (Syria) President
- Abdel Rahman Al-Nouaimi (Qatar) Vice-president
- Wendell Belew (USA) Vice-president
- Pierre De La Croix (France) Vice-president
The 2004 IBH webpage referred to above also identified Issam Mustafa from the UK as an IBH member, presumably the individual also known as Essam Mustafa and/or Essam Yusuf, the head of INTERPAL and formerly the head of the Union Of Good, both organizations designated by the US in connection with fundraising for Hamas. The Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammed al-Thani Charitable Foundation which hired Mr. Belew as a lobbyist is known to have been a member of the Union of Good.
Abdul Rahman bin Umair Al-Nuaimi is also the President of the Global Anti-Aggression Campaign (GAAC), a Salafi-led international umbrella organization that brings under its wings Salafi, Salafi-Jihadi, Global Muslim Brotherhood and HAMAS leaders and that is the subject of a forthcoming Global Muslim Brotherhood Research Center report.
For our report on the US designation of al-Nu’aymi, go here.