Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Muslim Association of Greece and the Turkish NGO IHH, by Andreas Banoutsos

In March 2011, I wrote an article (1) about the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the Muslim organizations in Greece which are affiliated or connected in one way or another to the global network of the MB. The Muslim Association of Greece (MAG) and its President Naim El Ghandour was one of these organizations. In this article I am going to examine the connections between the MAG and the Turkish NGO IHH.

The IHH, is a Turkish humanitarian relief fund which played a central role in organizing the flotilla to the Gaza Strip in May 2010.(2) The IHH, apart from conducting its legitimate philanthropic activities, it supports radical Islamic networks, including Hamas (the Palestinian branch of the MB). IHH was established in 1992 and formally registered in Istanbul in 1995. The head of the organization is Bulent Yildirim. IHH’s orientation is Islamist and anti-American and it is close to the MB. IHH actively supports Hamas. Since June 2007, when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, IHH organized public support conferences in Turkey.
Furthermore, IHH is a member of the Union of Good, an umbrella organization of more than 50 Islamic funds and foundations around the world, which channels money to Hamas. In 2006 the Danish Institute for international Studies conducted a research which revealed that in the past IHH had connections with Al-Qaeda and global jihad. (3) The study quotes a French intelligence report stating that in the mid-1990s IHH leader Bulent Yildirim, was directly involved in recruiting “veteran soldiers” to organize jihad activities.
The IHH has also ties with the ruling Turkish Islamist part AKP. (4) So, how is the MAG connected to the IHH? As I mentioned in my article the “MB and Greece”, the President of the MAG Naim El Ghandour participated in the Gaza flotilla in May 2010. In May 2011 he also participated in the rally organized by the leader of the IHH Bulent Yildirim in Istanbul to honor the memory of the nine Turkish “martyrs” who died in the Gaza Flotilla the previous year. (5)
In this recent event Naim El Ghandour participated as a representative of the MAG. It is clear that the MAG is publicly supporting the activities of this Turkish Islamist organization (IHH) which has close ties to the Turkish government and the terrorist organization Hamas.