This is a guest post by habibi
As readers of this blog know, the charity Interpal has long been suspected of ties to Hamas. It has been banned for this reason in the US, Canada and Australia. In the UK, the Charity Commission has taken a different view. Its new report on Interpal, the third since 1996, makes some criticisms of the charity, but it could have been much harsher.
In fact, the Commission should open yet another enquiry.
Here’s one reason why: Mr Majdi Akeel (sometimes spelled Aqil).
He is a Palestinian from Gaza who lives in the UK now. He is Interpal’s Manchester area representative. As discussed here before, he is also a trustee of the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), a band of openly pro-Hamas radicals. Ghassan Faour, an Interpal trustee, is also a trustee of the PRC.
The Charity Commission should have demanded that any links between Interpal and the PRC be cut. Instead, it did not mention them in its report. Perhaps it does not even know about them.
Here’s something else the Commission apparently doesn’t know. Majdi Akeel is not just a member of a pro-Hamas political group. I believe he was actually a member of Hamas, and may still be one.
In this 1994 Ha’aretz article, he is named as a Hamas “activist” as well as a lecturer at the Islamic University of Gaza, a Hamas stronghold.
In this 1988 New York Times article, he is named as one of a number of Hamas members and Islamic University employees arrested by Israel in anti-Hamas operations.
Furthermore, Akeel appeared in two court exhibits of the Holy Land Foundation case in the USA. The first is an entry for him in the address book of top Hamas man Mousa Abu Marzook, which was confiscated when Marzook was arrested in New York in 1995. Marzook has played an important role in fund-raising for Hamas.
The second is the transcript of an intercepted telephone conversation in 1994 between Haitham Maghawri, a former director of the Holy Land Foundation who has been found guilty in absentia of providing material support to Hamas, and Muin Shabib, a Hamas operative mentioned in the BBC Panorama programme about Interpal. The wording of the conversation is somewhat cryptic, but it seems fairly clear that Maghawri was supporting a visa application of Akeel (one of the “brothers”), presumably to a US embassy for a visit to the USA, where Akeel would help Maghawri advance radical causes they shared.
So there you have it. Never mind links to Hamas. Interpal actually has a Hamas man on its own books. And it continues to operate in the UK.
When will Parliament investigate the Charity Commission’s poor record in counterterrorism? It is failing the country, repeatedly and inexcusably.