One of the chief organizers of the Gaza flotilla as been identified as a Dutch national and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas support network in the Netherlands. According to Dutch media, Amin Abou Rashed is currently being held in Israeli custody:
Meanwhile, the two Dutch nationals traveling with the convoy are being held in the Be’er Sheva prison in the south of Israel. They are among almost 500 activists who have been taken into custody. According to the news agency ANP, 29-year-old Anne de Jong and 43-year-old Amin Abou Rashed have been offered a fast-track deportation procedure but have refused because they want to complete their mission.
Various sources identify Mr. Rashed (aka Amin Abou, Amin Rashid) as a founding member of the European Campaign To End the Siege on Gaza, discussed in an earlier post as one of the major members of the flotilla coalition. According to a report on the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood web site:
The European campaign to end the siege on Gaza has condemned the Israeli threats to block the Freedom Flotilla, carrying hundreds of solidarity activists and humanitarian assistance to the besieged Gaza Strip. Amin Abu Rashed, a founding member of the European campaign who is currently in Athens to prepare for the sail of the ships, said in a press release on Tuesday that the Israeli foreign ministry’s threats would not dissuade the organizers from changing their plans. He asserted that the Flotilla consisting of nine cargo and passenger ships and boats would set sail as scheduled within days, adding that the organizing alliance did not announce a date for arrival in Gaza.
Abu Rashed disclosed that the European campaign had laid down a contingency plan in the event Israeli navy intercepted the Flotilla including filing lawsuits in European courts in addition to a series of sit-ins and demonstrations before Israeli embassies. He underlined that 600 solidarity activists from 20 countries would be aboard the boats along with 5,000 tons of cement, construction material, medical equipment, educational materials, and prefabricated homes.
Another Palestinian media report identifies Mr. Rashed as “the coordinator of humanitarian affairs and representative of the European aid fleet in Holland.”
A report by the NEFA Foundation report further identifies Mr. Rashed as a part of the now defunct Al-Aqsa Foundation in the Netherlands as well as a leader in a Palestinian advocacy group:
Another former member of the Foundation al-Aqsa recently surfaced in a court case in the United States. In the U.S. government’s prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation, a Texas-based charity charged with funding HAMAS, an exhibit provided a description of the HAMAS support network in Europe.
The writer of the document was Amin Abou Ibrahim of the Foundation al-Aqsa in Rotterdam. Since the de facto closure of Foundation al-Aqsa, Amin Abou Ibrahim, whose real name is Amin Rashid, moved on to the Foundation Palestinian Platform for Human Rights and Solidarity (PPMS).
This organization was created at the end of 2005 and is by far the most active and most vocal mouthpiece for the Palestinian cause in the Netherlands. Amin Rashid was recently described in the Dutch press as being the chairman of the PPMS, although on the Arabic language website of the organization he is mentioned as being the director. A recent change in the foundation’s board left the chairmanship open.
According to another NEFA Foundation report, the Al-Aqsa Foundation Netherlands was formerly the Dutch member organization of the Union of Good, the coalition of Hamas fundraising charities headed by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi and described in yet another NEFA report as follows:
The Union of Good is a coalition of Islamic charities that provides financial support to both the Hamas “social” infrastructure, as well as its terrorist activities. It is headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, and most of the trustees and member organizations are associated with the global Muslim Brotherhood.
The Union of Good was banned by Israel in 2002 and was recently designated a terrorist entity by the United States, although neither Youssef Qaradawi nor any of the Trustees were similarly designated. Despite the fact that action has been taken against some of its member organizations in Europe, many of its other European member organizations continue to operate. Further, the Union of Good itself does not appear to be under investigation in Europe.
As discussed in an earlier post, the Turkish charity known as Insani Yardim Vakfi (aka IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedom and Humanitarian Relief) was the sponsor of the ship involved in the confrontation with Israeli naval forces and is also a member of the Union of Good. That post also discussed the connections between the European Campaign To End the Siege on Gaza and the Union of Good.
Previous posts have described the heavy participation of the Global Muslim Brotherhood in the Gaza flotilla, the Muslim Brotherhood background of the Al Jazeera journalist reporting from the Turkish ship involved in the confrontation, and the intent of the Global Muslim Brotherhood to send another flotilla to Gaza.