Since 1991, the Al-Aqsa Foundation has posed as an Arab charity assisting widows and orphans. But its real purpose was to help terrorists -- and make more widows and orphans. The United States has now frozen its assets. U.S. Secretary of the Treasury John Snow said that this action has "deprived the Hamas terrorist organization of a vital source of funding" and "shut off yet another pipeline of money financing terror."
Hamas terrorists have conducted most of the suicide bombings that have killed and wounded hundreds of Israelis -- and a number of Americans and other foreigners -- in the past two years. Al-Aqsa is one of a number of so-called charities used by Hamas to raise tens of millions of dollars each year. Mahmoud Amr, director of Al-Aqsa, is an active member of Hamas.
The terrorist front group was headquartered in Germany until authorities there shut it down in August 2002. In January, German police arrested Sheik Muhammad Ali Hassan Al-Muyad, head of the Yemeni branch of Al-Aqsa, for providing support to Hamas and al-Qaida. The Yemeni Al-Aqsa organization is believed to have provided more than three-million dollars to Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian terrorist groups. It also supplied money, arms, recruits, and communications equipment to Al-Qaida.
The Danish government has charged three Al-Aqsa officials with providing money to Hamas terrorists, and authorities in the Netherlands have blocked the assets of the Dutch branch of Al-Aqsa because of its support for terrorism. International cooperation is paying off, as Secretary of State Colin Powell pointed out: "The financial bloodlines of terrorist organizations have been severed. Since 9/11 more than a hundred and thirty-four million dollars of terrorist assets have been frozen."
Al-Aqsa is one of eighteen phony charities identified by the U.S. as terrorist fundraisers. Besides supporting murder and mayhem, these crooks defraud donors of good will and rob honest charities and their recipients. That's why the U.S. and its allies are putting a stop to the perversion of charitable organizations for terrorist ends.