Charity gone bad: When western charities and Islamism combine

We ought to be careful when deciding which NGOs and charities to support. Some are not as helpful as they may seem, especially where Islamism is concerned

by Oliver Williams on 17 June 2014 17:39

The case of, what I would describe as, sham ‘human rights organisation’ Cage Prisoners (now rebranded Cage) is by now well known. Bankrolled by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Anita Roddick Foundation, and feted by Amnesty International, the group’s founder Moazzam Begg has recently appeared in court on charges of providing terrorist training and funding terrorism.

This is not the only example of charities being complicit with Islamist radicalism. Take the charity War on Want. It has been the recipient of funds from both the British government and the European Union. For decades it has been amongst the most politicised and radical of charities.

Its executive director John Hilary, in a discussion hosted by the Guardian [31.40 minutes in], asked “Whose side are you on here? For War Not Want we work with the resistance forces. In Iraq and Palestine that’s been our call.”

The international NGO Médecins Sans Frontières is the beneficiary of millions of pounds from western governments. In a book released by the charity aptly titled Everything is Open to Negotiation, the organisation admits that they are sometimes seen as “the opposition’s war surgeons.”

The book reveals that the organisation established “a constructive working relationship” with al-Shabaab and that this Somali terrorist organization “even wrote to us in January 2008 to offer us their encouragement.”

Al-Shabaab is a group that has warned of a “nightmare that surreptitiously looms on British shores” that will “eclipse the horrors” of all previous terror attacks combined. When they started taxing aid workers, one of MSF’s projects was unaffected which, according to the authors, “proves just how important the project is to al-Shabaab.”

And while MSF published press releases highly critical of the American-backed forces in the country, it never asked al-Shabaab not to use civilians as a human shield.

Similarly, in Pakistan MSF established relationships with “organisations considered by the west as the competition in the scramble for the population’s ‘hearts and minds’”. After the US invasion of Afghanistan, MSF engaged with what it called the ‘armed opposition’.

These contacts included the Haqqani Network and the Quetta Shura. ‘Approval’ for their Kabul project was easy: the armed opposition “judged the selected hospital located in a Pashtun area to be easily accessible by their constituency, and planned surgical activities opened up the prospect of treatment for their wounded combatants.”

Tellingly, in the war against terror MSF stated, “We refuse to choose sides.”

Says it all, really...

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