Islamism,  Israel/Palestine

Al Aqsa Foundation solidarity from the MCB

According to The Jerusalem Post the ‘Al Aksa’ institution (or Al-Aqsa Foundation) has had its offices raided in the Israeli-Arab City of Umm al-Fahm. Injunctions have also been issued freezing the organisation’s bank accounts. Shin Bet said the Al Aqsa Foundation ran joint activities with Hamas, and stated that material gathered in the raid showed monetary and logistical aid for Hamas’s Jerusalem activities. Money transferred to Hamas was used to fund terror activities.

The Al-Aqsa Foundation is linked to the Northern Islamic Movement which denies the right of the state of Israel to exist and supports HAMAS. Their leader, the hot-head Sheikh Raed Salah, has a different view:

“To [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert and to [Defense Minister Ehud] Barak, we say: ‘You closed the Al Aksa institution, but you still occupy Jerusalem, the al-Aksa mosque, the West Bank and Gaza,” he said, adding, “We will stick to our position until victory at al-Aksa.”

“We will not hold negotiations on Jerusalem because it belongs to us. Israel has no right to hold al-Aqsa,”

Five years ago the UK and US froze the assets of the Al-Aqsa Foundation, since they believed the organisation fed money to HAMAS enabling attacks on civilians within Israel. The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Luxembourg and Switzerland have also taken action against the Al-Aqsa Foundation, which the US considers is a “critical part of Hamas’ transnational terrorist support infrastructure”.

How strange then to find that the MCB has issued a press release calling for the UK government to intervene after these latest raids on the Al-Aqsa Foundation. The MCB:

deplores Israel’s closure of the Al Aqsa Foundation and seizure of thousands of historic documents which preserve the heritage of the Islamic and Christian sanctuaries in Jerusalem. We urge the British government to intervene and ensure all the confiscated documents and stolen money are returned immediately to their rightful owners.

In order to prevent possible confusion in the mind of the reader, it is important to note that the Israeli authorities did not raid the Al-Aqsa Mosque, but some offices in another town. It also appears that the documents included, according to Israeli authorities, information related to monetary and logistical aid for HAMAS. The Al-Aqsa Foundation are not some Middle Eastern National Trust organisation, preserving the local heritage, as the MCB press release might suggest.

The MCB also find time to commemorate an anniversary:

Coinciding with the 37th anniversary of the Zionist arson attack on Masjid Al Aqsa the MCB views this latest Israeli outrage as a gross provocation to Muslims everywhere.

As we have already noted, the Al-Aqsa Foundation is not based in the mosque, so apart from the name I’m not sure what this adds to this “gross provocation” as they attempt to characterise what seems to be a fairly legitimate attempt to close down terrorist funding. It does fit with a narrative of supposed Israeli intentions to take over the mount, a narrative that Salah is very keen on.

And what was this Zionist arson attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque? In 1969, a man did attempt to burn down the mosque. He was arrested, found insane, hospitalised and later deported from Israel. His name was Denis Michael Rohan. He was a 28 year-old sheep-shearing Australian Christian who considered himself the “Lord’s emissary”. He was hoping to hasten the arrival of Jesus on earth again and in the process become “king over Jerusalem and Judea.”

At the time the Israelis were blamed, and even as the fire burned it was claimed Israeli fire trucks fighting the blaze were carrying petrol rather than water. They were stoned and had their hoses cut by onlookers. One theory put forward at the time was that the fire was deliberately started as a Reichstag tactic. Both conspiracies were wrong, but since then terror attacks by Hezbollah and HAMAS have also commemorated the arson attack by arguing the the arson attack was zionist, performed by a Jew or even that Rohan had been trained by Israel. Two days ago the Palestinian News Network repeated the accusation that the fire was started by an “Australian Jew”.

I wonder if it is entirely sensible of the MCB to:

  1. Call for the UK government to help an organisation which is linked to terrorism.
  2. Propagate Islamist conspiracy theories which have no basis in fact.

if they wish to make themselves more government friendly.

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, as they say.