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International Hamas Support Groups Organize “Al-Aqsa International Week”

March 12th, 2021 11:54

In late Feb­ru­ary, the UK-based Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA) announced the kick-off of this year’s edi­tion of the Pales­tin­ian “Al-Aqsa Inter­na­tion­al Week,” an online event sched­uled for 6–12 March described in an announce­ment as follows:

We are call­ing upon uni­ver­si­ty soci­eties, fam­i­lies, mosques, work places, halaqas, local coun­cils and par­lia­ments around the world to hold events under the ban­ner of #LoveAqsa. Aqsa Week should be marked by organ­is­ing var­ied events that bring to fore the cen­tral­i­ty of Al-Aqsa and the plight of the Pales­tini­ans. The events should also recog­nise oth­er oppressed and colonised peo­ple. Aqsa Week should be used to teach Mus­lim and non-Mus­lims of the great her­itage of Masjid Al-Aqsa and how to sup­port the occu­pied peo­ple around the world.

Read the rest here.

Al-Aqsa Inter­na­tion­al Week is being host­ed by the FOA in coop­er­a­tion with the Amer­i­can Mus­lims for Pales­tine (AMP), a US-based Pales­tin­ian advo­ca­cy group with strong ties to both the US Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and the Hamas sup­port infra­struc­ture in the US. The event was com­prised of vir­tu­al sem­i­nars, work­shops, and pan­el dis­cus­sions that brought togeth­er a large num­ber of indi­vid­u­als tied to the inter­na­tion­al Hamas sup­port net­work and/or Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood (GMB), an inter­na­tion­al influ­ence oper­a­tion mon­i­tored by the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR). The event sched­ule includ­ed top­ics such as “Aqsa and Jerusalem: The Judi­aza­tion Project” and “Lib­er­at­ing Al Aqsa: Salahudeen & The Crush­ing of the Crusades.”

The FOA said the “Al-Aqsa Inter­na­tion­al Week” had gar­nered offi­cial sup­port from inter­na­tion­al Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tions and sev­er­al of the region’s admin­is­tra­tions, includ­ing the Min­istry of Awqaf Jerusalem, the Turk­ish Min­istry of Reli­gious Affairs, and the Inter­na­tion­al Union of Mus­lim Schol­ars, a long-time part of the GMB. Fea­tured appear­ances includ­ed the fol­low­ing individuals:

  • Zaher Birawi, a promi­nent British pro-Hamas activist and long-time Direc­tor of the Pales­tin­ian Return Cen­tre (PRC). In Decem­ber 2010, the Israeli gov­ern­ment declared the PRC to be an ille­gal orga­ni­za­tion, stat­ing it func­tioned as “Hamas’s orga­ni­za­tion­al branch in Europe.”
  • Hatem Baz­ian, UC Berkley Pro­fes­sor and AMP Chair
  • Ismail Patel, FOA head
  • Taher Herza­l­lah, AMP Asso­ciate Direc­tor of Out­reach and for­mer AMP Cam­pus Coor­di­na­tor
  • Anas Altikri­ti, a leader of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in the UK and a founder of the Cor­do­ba Foundation
  • Issam Adwan, head of the Hamas Refugee Affairs Depart­ment who has said that Hamas had the “right” to attack Israeli embassies and officials
  • Omar Suleiman, an Islam­ic schol­ar who has spo­ken at mul­ti­ple joint con­fer­ences of the Mus­lim Amer­i­can Soci­ety and the Islam­ic Cir­cle of North Amer­i­ca, both part of the US Mus­lim Brotherhood.
  • Ramzy Baroud, for­mer Deputy Man­ag­ing Edi­tor of Al Jazeera Online and for­mer Man­ag­ing Edi­tor of Mid­dle East Eye, a pub­li­ca­tion tied to the GMB
  • Raja Abdul­haq, a for­mer AMP vol­un­teer and co-founder of Pales­tin­ian media plat­form Quds News Net­work, whose accounts were sus­pend­ed by Twit­ter in 2019 for vio­lat­ing its poli­cies. Abdul­haq has also pub­licly defend­ed Hamas and com­pared Israel to Nazi Germany.
  • Naeem Baig, for­mer Pres­i­dent of the Islam­ic Cir­cle of North America.

An intel­li­gence cen­ter linked to the Israeli intel­li­gence ser­vices has described the FOA as:

(…) a pro-Hamas British orga­ni­za­tion based in Leices­ter which advo­cates Israel’s elim­i­na­tion. The orga­ni­za­tion takes part in all aspects of the cam­paign to dele­git­imize Israel in Britain: boy­cotts of Israel, dis­sem­i­na­tion of anti-Israel pro­pa­gan­da, involve­ment in con­voys and flotil­las for the Gaza Strip, and anti-Israel demon­stra­tions in London.

Pri­or GIOR report­ing about the inter­na­tion­al Hamas sup­port net­work has included:

  • A March 2021 report about a vir­tu­al “revival” con­fer­ence by the inter­na­tion­al youth/student orga­ni­za­tion of the GMB that brought togeth­er a large num­ber of GMB leaders.
  • A Jan­u­ary 2021 report that the Euro­pean Hamas sup­port net­work had estab­lished a new front group.
  • A Decem­ber 2020 report about a vir­tu­al Pales­tin­ian advo­ca­cy con­fer­ence that fea­tured Hamas sup­port groups and three US Congresswomen.