The world is aghast at what Israel did early this morning off the coast of Gaza. It is shocked — shocked! — at the indiscriminate slaughter of “unarmed civilians” in the Free Gaza Flotilla.
According to AKI, the Italian foreign minister is outraged:
“I strongly condemn the killing of civilians,” Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini said Monday in response to the incident. The Italian government asked the Israeli ambassador in Rome for an explanation about the attack. [emphasis added]
And the Turkish foreign ministry condemned Israel’s actions:
“Israel has once again clearly demonstrated that it does not value human lives and peaceful initiatives through targeting innocent civilians,” the statement said. [emphasis added]
Leaving aside for the moment the adjectives “innocent” and “unarmed” modifying the word “civilians” — how civilian were the operatives who attempted to run the blockade into Gaza?
The Israeli government insists that the organizers of the flotilla were no more “civilian” than terrorists are:
Deputy Israeli foreign minister Danny Ayalon on Monday sought to justify an attack on an aid flotilla bringing supplies to Gaza by saying the organisers of the blockade-breaking effort had ties to international terrorists…
“We couldn’t allow the opening of a corridor of smuggling arms and terrorists,” Ayalon said during a news conference at the foreign ministry.
But what were the specific connections between “Free Gaza” and Islamic terrorism?
Our Flemish correspondent VH has answered this question for us: the trail of breadcrumbs leads back to the militant Turkish Islamic organization Milli Görüs. Many thanks to VH for compiling the following report based on English-language articles and material translated from the Dutch:
First, from Trouw:
Turkish organization IHH linked to extremism
The Turkish organization IHH, also known as “Foundation for Human Rights and Freedom and Humanitarian Relief” [its German sister organization is “Internationale Humanitäre Hilfsorganisation”, and the Dutch branch is “Internationale Humanitaire Hulporganisatie”], is an international Turkish NGO operating in over a hundred countries and enjoying consultative membership status in the United Nations Economic and Social Council, which was present at one of the ships in “aid convoy” to Gaza, has two faces: a relief organization and friend of extremists. In Turkey the organization primarily enjoys support from “conservative” Muslims.
Founded in 1992, IHH was one of the largest aid agencies, active in Turkey and worldwide. Early this year they offered assistance to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. On the other hand, IHH is not secretive about its ties with the strict Islamic movement Hamas, which holds power in the Gaza Strip.
IHH supports Hamas financially. The support is further evidenced by, among other things, exhibitions, information briefings, and the publication of books on the situation in Gaza (and not the problems in other Palestinian areas). The ship that sailed in the convoy to Gaza departed last week from Antalya on the Turkey’s southern coast, brings both faces together.
In the late nineties there was a criminal investigation in Turkey against IHH. The organization was suspected of involvement in supplying arms to Muslim terrorists. That did not lead to a ban of the organization. During disaster relief in Turkey itself, such as earthquakes, the IHH has indeed been kept at a distance ever since.
Last year, the PVV [Party for Freedom] in the Netherlands, asked parliamentary questions [Dutch language, pdf] on financial aid by the Turkish Milli Görüs and IHH to Hamas. The Minister of integration, Van der Laan [PvdA, Labour Party, Socialists] replied that there was no evidence that Milli Görüs and the Dutch branch of IHH were involved in “support for Hamas in favor of facilitating terrorism.”
And from Elsevier:
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Milli Görüs chairpersons involved in support of Hamas
by Robbert de Witt
Several chairpersons of the Turkish Islamic organization Milli Görüs work closely together with a German foundation that supported the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas, as newspaper “De Telegraaf” writes.
The Turkish mosque association “Milli Görüs” was one of the organizers of the demonstration against Israel, in which SP MP Harry van Bommel and Gretta Duisenberg called together the Palestinians for an intifada against Israel.
As the newspaper states, two directors of Milli Görüs Amsterdam are also board members of the Foundation for International Humanitarian Aid, which works closely with the German Internationale Humanitäre Hilfsorganisation (IHH).
According to Israel, the IHH is part of a network of organizations that fund Hamas. The Israeli Defense Ministry has banned IHH for that reason. Also in America the network of organizations — the Union of Good [link to Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center: “The Union of Good: an umbrella organization comprised of more than 50 Islamic charitable funds and foundations worldwide. It in fact channels ‘charity’ money and provides other items for Hamas-affiliated institutions in the Palestinian Authority-administered territories, contributing to sustaining the support-system infrastructure of Palestinian terrorism through the so-called financial jihad,” and shows “Part of a Union of Good (UG) table of shahids, including suicide bombers in Israeli cities.”] — is placed on the list of terrorist organizations.
Leader of the Union of Good is Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who is the ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood, and also a source of inspiration to the Dutch PvdA [Labour Party, Socialists] candidate for Parliament, Ahmed Marcouch. In 2005 Marcouch and Milli Görüs tried to invite the controversial sheikh to the Netherlands [following the murder of Theo van Gogh, to help “build bridges”].
In De Telegraaf Milli Görüs denies that it has any links with the German IHH. Also, the Dutch IHH would not transfer money to Hamas. In September 2008 an analysis of the Regional Intelligence Service showed that Milli Görüs has ties with financiers of terrorism and extremism. According to an intelligence report, the German director Ibrahim El-Zayat is a representative of the extremist Muslim Brotherhood.
Earlier on, the Dutch Milli Görüs Chairman Fatih Dag came into disrepute when he threatened riots by Muslims if the construction of the controversial Wester Mosque in Amsterdam failed to go through.
Questions from members Fritsma and Wilders (both PVV) to the Minister for Housing, Communities and Integration on the news that Milli Görüs financial supports the terrorist organization Hamas (Submitted January 15, 2009)
1. Are you aware of the report “Milli Görüs indirectly supports Hamas? 2. What is your assessment of the fact that the directors of the very large (in the Netherlands) Islamic organization Milli Görüs are active in the “Internationale Humanitaire Hulporganisatie” [international humanitarian relief organization] (IHH), which (according to Israel and the U.S.) financially supports the Hamas terror organization? 3. Do you agree that this is unacceptable, since it is clear that Hamas is bent on the destruction of Israel and has willfully murdered many innocent Israeli civilians? If not, why not? 4. Are you prepared, just as Israel and the U.S. have done, to ban the foundation IHH, which is part of the dangerous “Union of Good”? 5. What steps are being taken against the relevant directors of Milli Görüs, who are active in the foundation IHH? 6. Are you prepared to cut all ties with Milli Görüs now that leaders of this organization (indirectly) support Islamic terrorists? 7. Does Milli Görüs (still) receive a subsidy? If so, are you willing to put a hold on it? If not, why not?
Reply from Minister Van der Laan (Housing and Integration), also on behalf of the Ministers of Interior and Kingdom Relations and Justice (received April 1, 2009). See also Appendix to Proceedings, session 2008-2009, No 1522
1. Yes. 2. The AIVD [Dutch Intelligence Service] does not currently have any indication that Milli Görüs in the Netherlands is involved in serious radicalization and terrorism, nor that Milli Görüs or the IHH Foundation in the Netherlands is involved financial support for Hamas in favor of facilitating terrorism. 3. See answer to question 2. 4. There is no reason to, see answer to question 2. 5. No, see answer to question 2. 6. No, see answer to question 2. 7. Under integration policy, Milli Görüs no longer receives subsidies. The organization previously received financial support for four subprojects to address integration-related problems. The two most recently funded sub-projects were completed in 2008.
 De Telegraaf, 9 January 2009.
Additional material on Milli Görüs:
At the beginning of the 1970’s, the decision of the Turkish Constitutional Council to outlaw Rafah, an Islamist political party directed by Necmettin Erbakan, encouraged a number of its members to create Milli Görüs, meaning “nationalist view” in Turkish (and named after the manifesto by Necmettin Erbakan of 1975, in which he promoted the political Islam and was opposed to rapprochement with Europe], which since 1995 has called itself “The Islamic Community of Milli Görüs [IGMG]”). One of the principal founders was the former Prime Minister of Turkey, Necmettin Erbakan, who was forced out of power in 1997 by the Turkish military and found too radical by the Turkish constitutional court.
This organization was initially based in Germany and France, but soon spread over the whole of Europe via the Turkish diaspora. The article “Milli Görüs, wolves in sheep’s clothing,” states: “The Islamic Association of Milli Görüs is Europe’s largest ‘radical’ Islamic religious association, monitored [in Germany] by the Office of the Protection of the Constitution”. In Germany, for instance, they helped a Turkish immigrant family who did not want their children “to learn poems that describe Christian traditions” and refused to let them join swimming lessons and children’s birthday parties as a part of their battle against school authorities and their demand to enforce Islamic rules in school.
When the French branch decided to “place emphasis on the Europeanization” of their political identity, a schism on this issue caused the founding of the Milli Görüs offshoots COJEP (Coordination des jeunes patriotes) and from that LICEP (Cojep League of Popular Education), which both lobby for Turkey’s accession to the EU. That the “schism” and offshoots are cosmetic is not only shown by their cooperation and share of the cojep.com domain, but even more in their having a shared frontman of the “Federation LICEP-COJEP”, General President Muhammed Çavus.
On its website today, COJEP states it is “launching an urgent appeal to the world community, governments, solidarity organizations and NGOs working against anti-Semitism to voice their strongest condemnation against the barbaric attacks by Israeli commandoes on unarmed flotilla of boats going to Gaza with 700 passengers and ten thousands tons of relief supplies including food and medicine,” and threatens: “We also know that an unfortunate side effect of this cowardly action would be an increase in primitive anti-Semitic excesses throughout the world and especially in Europe.”
According to the German Protection of the Constitution office, the IGMG in its ideology states the “the Western social order, democracy, human rights, and rights of equality and freedom are worth nothing.”
An internal memo from Milli Görüs, discovered by the German Interior Ministry in 1999, reads: “The Community (i.e. the Turkish community) is a means working for an end — the end being to Islamize (German) society.” […] “Milli Görüs is a shield that protects our compatriots from European barbarity.” […] “Democracy is a Western error.” (source)
Hat tip for AKI: C. Cantoni.