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Did Former Labour Minister, Shahid Malik, Just Praise Hamas? [UPDATED]

Here’s what the Palestinian Ma’an news agency says:

Prime Minister of the Hamas government in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh said Monday that he was proud and thankful for the support of international activists, who arrived in Gaza Sunday with the European aid convoy Miles of Smiles.

Former British minister of international development, Shahid Malik, who arrived with Miles of Smiles, described the Palestinian people and its leaders as a great example to be followed.

Shahid Malik lost his seat at the last election.

UPDATE

Here is a photograph of Shahid Malik with leading Hamas politician, Ahmad Al-Kurd.

Ahmad Al-Kurd is in charge of an important part of Hamas’ fundraising operation. Both he and his Al Salah society have been “designated” by the US Government, as part of the Hamas terrorist network.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated the Al-Salah Society, one of the largest and best-funded Hamas charitable organizations in the Palestinian territories.  Al-Salah Society’s director, Ahmad Al-Kurd, was also designated today.

“Hamas has used the Al-Salah Society, as it has many other charitable fronts, to finance its terrorist agenda,” said Adam Szubin, Director of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  “Today’s action alerts the world to the true nature of Al-Salah and cuts it off from the U.S. financial system.”

The Al-Salah Society supported Hamas-affiliated combatants during the first Intifada and recruited and indoctrinated youth to support Hamas’s activities.  It also financed commercial stores, kindergartens, and the purchase of land for Hamas.  One of the most senior Gaza-based Hamas leaders and founders, Ismail Abu Shanab, openly identified the Al-Salah Society as “one of the three Islamic charities that form Hamas’ welfare arm.”  The Al-Salah Society has received substantial funding from Persian Gulf countries, including at least hundreds of thousands of dollars from Kuwaiti donors.

The Al-Salah Society is directed by Ahmad Al-Kurd, a recognized high-ranking Hamas leader in Gaza.  Al-Kurd’s affiliation with Hamas goes back over a decade.  During the first Intifada, Al-Kurd served as a Hamas Shura Council member in Gaza.  As of late 2003, Al-Kurd was allegedly the top Hamas leader in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza.  Since mid-2005, he has served as the mayor of Deir Al-Balah, elected as a Hamas candidate.

The Al-Salah Society has employed a number of Hamas military wing members.  In late 2002, an official of the Al-Salah Society in Gaza was the principal leader of a Hamas military wing structure in the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in Gaza.  The founder and former director of the Al-Salah Society’s Al-Maghazi branch reportedly also operated as a member of the Hamas military wing structure in Al-Maghazi, participated in weapons deals, and served as a liaison to the rest of the Hamas structure in Al-Maghazi.  At least four other Hamas military wing members in the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in Gaza were tied to the Al-Salah Society.

The Al-Salah Society was included on a list of suspected Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad-affiliated NGOs whose accounts were frozen by the Palestinian Authority as of late August 2003.  After freezing the bank accounts, PA officials confirmed that the Al-Salah Society was a front for Hamas.

Combined with Shahid Malik’s reported praise for Palestinian “leaders” – which must, in context, mean Hamas – this is a very significant step indeed.

Can you imagine a an ex-minister going to the West Bank, fraternising with the worst of the worst of the Mosque burning “price tag” settlers, and praising them?

This is much much worse.

UPDATE 2

I should have mentioned that Muslim Brotherhood/An Nadha activist and Islam Channel supremo also can be seen.

“Bored” below points out that Labour London Assembly member Murad Qureshi also appears in the picture. He was certainly in Gaza, and also appears to have been involved in this meeting with Hamas’ Ahmad Al-Kurd:

Edmund Standing adds:

This is the same Shahid Malik who, speaking at the 2008 ‘Global Peace and Unity’ Islamist fest, spoke of Muslim MPs and boasted ‘at this rate, the whole Parliament will be Muslim’, adding: ‘But just to say – in case there are journalists here today – that is not my objective’.

Make of that what you will.

It’s certainly the objective of his new friends:

Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was, as was prophesized by our Prophet Muhammad. Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and has planted the brothers of apes and pigs in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam — this capital of theirs will be an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread through Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, and even Eastern Europe.

Alan A adds

Shahid Malik’s speech at GPU was clearly a light hearted joke. Indeed, Malik had a very good reputation as an opponent of antisemitism and extremism.

But bloody hell – to make such a joke at GPU, where there are in fact co speakers who are the very opposite of social democratic politicians and are involved in extreme racist, misogynist and homophobic sectarian politics, was the height of stupidity.

Everybody I have spoken to is utterly flabberghasted that Shahid Malik, of all people should have gone to Gaza, met with a senior Hamas fundraiser like Al Kurd, and then – reportedly – praised the political “leaders”.

So, basically: crikey! Tell us it ain’t so, Shahid!