A Hamas-run organization in the Gaza Strip managed by two terrorists personally responsible for the stabbing and bombing of Israeli civilians is organizing public events in the United Kingdom and receiving support from multiple British charities, an investigation by FWI has found.
The revelation comes just a week after the publication of the British government-commissioned Prevent review, which concluded that “those who fundraise for Hamas or break the law in support of the group’s activities must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” in the same manner as “those who support Islamic State, National Action, or other proscribed organisations.”
FWI has identified five British groups – including prominent British Islamist charity Interpal – that are funding or are in partnership with the Qawafil Al-Khair Association, which two Hamas terrorists, Mansour Rayan and Ali Al-Mughrabi, established in 2015.
Rayan and Al-Mughrabi were released from Israeli jails in 2011 as part of the “Wafaa al-Ahrar” deal, Hamas’s agreement with Israel for the return of imprisoned terrorists in exchange for the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli solider kidnapped by the terrorist organization.
Both Rayan and Al-Mughrabi have blood on their hands. In 1994, Rayan broke into the home of Israeli civilian Yoram Sakuri in the West Bank Israeli community of Kiryat Netafim, stabbing him to death, and wounding his wife.
As for Al-Mughrabi, he was part of a terrorist cell that organized multiple attacks in Israel, including the suicide bombing of the Moment café in Jerusalem in 2002, in which 11 were killed, and 54 injured. According to Haaretz, Al-Mughrabi served as a “right hand man” for his elder brother, the cell’s leader. Al-Mughrabi “transferred funds, stole cars for [the] attacks and photographed the suicide bombers,” for which he received two life sentences.
Rayan and Al-Mughrabi are not the only terrorists involved in Qawafil Al-Khair. According to a flattering profile of Al-Mugrabhi in Al Jazeera, which neglects to mention the reason for his imprisonment, the Qawafil Al-Khair “team” includes “17 former detainees” of Israeli jails released in the 2011 prisoner exchange deal.
Today, Qawafil Al-Khair, originally called Ruba Al Khair, serves as a major Hamas institution. Its projects include building homes and providing care for the families of Palestinian “martyrs” killed in fighting with Israeli forces. Videos posted on social media by the charity show Hamas fighters parading the dead bodies of these martyrs in question, and praising their sacrifice as the greatest “honor.”
The charity also builds mosques funded by major Qatari donors. On its website, Qawafil Al-Khair boasts that events held to “inaugurate” the mosque are attended by senior Hamas figures, including the “head of the political bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh.”
Along with close collaboration with official Hamas media, other recent events hosted by the charity include keynote speakers such as the leader of the Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip, “Brother Abu Imad Shehadeh,” as well as senior Hamas leader Ismail Radwan, who reportedly used the event to praise the mosque built by the charity as a key “jihadist” institution for the “armies of monotheism.”
Both Rayan and Al-Mughrabi remain personally involved with Hamas as well. Rayan regularly tweets of his involvement in Hamas events.
And in January 2022, Palestinian media reported that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh had phoned Rayan to “congratulate” him on the “martyrdom of his brother,” Amir Rayan, who had carried out a “heroic stabbing operation” in the Israeli West Bank community of Ariel, killing one Israeli.
Meanwhile, Al-Mughrabi even appears to serve, alongside his “charity” work, as a media spokesperson for Hamas’ Office of Prisoners’ Affairs.
Qawafil Al-Khair, when not advancing Hamas’s interests in the Gaza Strip, can be found working closely with its British patrons. In 2019, Qawafil Al-Khair organized an event in the English city of Bristol, in collaboration with the British Islamist charity, Interpal.
In the U.S, Interpal itself is designated as terrorist organization because of its Hamas ties. In the years following the U.S. designation, the Middle East Forum notes, multiple terrorism investigations, government inquiries and television documentaries have all continued to catalog Interpal’s link to the Palestinian terror group.
In 2006, a BBC documentary concluded that funds provided by Interpal “helped build up Hamas into what it is today.” And according to the U.S. government, Interpal founder and longtime official Essam Mustafa (also known as Essam Yusuf), even “served on the Hamas executive committee under Hamas leader Khaled Misha’al.”
FWI attempted to contact Interpal, but emails were returned undelivered by the charity’s server.
Recently, other British charities have also worked to support Qawafil Al-Khair. British groups and registered charities such as the We Care Foundation, A.R To The World And Back Foundation, Seven Spikes Relief Foundation and the Reading ILM Group all fundraise for the Hamas organization.
The Hamas-run charity also appears to have other Western patrons. On its website and social media, Qawafil Al-Khair thanks an unnamed donor in the United States for his support. Meanwhile, the charity’s Facebook page notes that the charity is not just managed from Gaza, but also from Belgium.
In its plea for funds, the We Care Foundation states “Qawafil al- Khair is a registered organisation in Gaza […] they have promised to deliver 100% of your donation to those in need.”
Jonathan Spyer, the Middle East Forum’s Director of Research, told FWI “Qawafil Al Khair does indeed appear to be a registered charity in Gaza, where it is close to the ruling authorities. But the Gaza Strip is in the hands of Hamas, a designated terror organization in the US and Europe. Any funds raised by such organizations in the West will be going directly to assist the families of terror operatives, or indeed to incarcerated terrorists themselves.”
Britain’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman has declared that the “Prevent” review, which urges the British government to take a far tougher line on Islamism, including Hamas supporters, has been fully accepted by the government.
It is difficult to presume Western donors are unaware of Qawafil Al-Khair’s terrorist links. Along with Rayan and Al-Maghrabi’s well-known, violent backgrounds, Qawafil Al-Khair’s Hamas connections are public and well-documented. Writing in one forum dedicated to the discussion of aid distribution in the Gaza Strip, one Palestinian aid worker notes: “Qawafil Al-Khair support only the sons of Hamas and those affiliated with the movement … the association’s officials are Hamas.”
Sam Westrop is the director of Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.