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Commentary :: Human Rights : International
Arab Charity Not Visable
07 Jul 2006
Saudi Charity Begins...Nowhere
Upon hearing Warren Buffett’s announcement on June 25, 2006, of giving $37 billion to charitable foundations, mostly to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Nihad Awad, declared that Muslim organizations “are lagging behind,” only because of intimidation by the West. The Muslims, he said, are in “the cycle of fear,” [of] “being accused of funding suspicious organizations that fall under the scrutiny of anti-terrorism investigations.” One wonders why they are funding “suspicious organizations” in the first place.

Instead of blaming America and the West, as CAIR constantly does, it could initiate the establishment of a new Muslim foundation with a similar mission to that of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This new Muslim foundation could supply immunization, HIV and anti-malarial medication, and medical means to reduce cervical cancer incidence and deaths in poor Muslim countries, feed millions of refugees from Muslim atrocities in Darfur, and generally “bring innovations in health” to Third World Muslim countries. Indeed, Awad himself pointed out that, “We in the Muslim world are lagging behind when we should be pioneers as per our Islamic beliefs.”



To be sure, there is no shortage in oil billionaires in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. According to Forbes Magazine 2006 list of the World’s Richest People, Saudi and Gulf billionaires are worth at least $134 billion. Muslim billionaires in Egypt, Turkey and Lebanon are worth additional $29.4 billion. This is not taking into account Muslim billionaires and millionaires in Asia and elsewhere. Moreover, the oil boom in the Middle East generated at least 300,000, new wealthy millionaires in the region.



According to the Department of Energy, Saudi Arabia is estimated to gain $154 billion in oil revenues in 2006, alone, and has at least $110 billion in foreign assets.



Yet, despite all this wealth, Muslim charities do not focus on alleviating the suffering of millions of poor Muslims and provide for their economic development the way the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) does. Instead, Muslim charities, led by the Saudis, continue to pour billions into madrassas to spread Wahhabism and hatred of the West around the globe – and not only in the Muslim world.



Testifying before the House International Relations Committee on June 29, 2006, Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer stated, “Saudi Arabia has become a leading financier of the Islamic takeover of Somalia.” And in the Middle East, Saudi and Gulf cash, smuggled into Gaza under the watchful eyes of the Egyptians, helped Hamas pay the salaries of at least 130, 000 employees of the Palestinian Authority, according to Middle Eastern sources. And more money is coming. On July 5, The Arab League announced in Cairo the transfer of $50 million to the West Bank and Gaza, and $15 million to pay for o Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and to employees and diplomats in Palestinian embassies and Palestinian representative. In addition, the U.S. “good ally,” Saudi Arabia, “also provided $50 million.” This is at the time that President George W. Bush, declared: "In order for there to be peace, Hamas must be dismantled."



Two years ago, the Saudi government gave at least $12 billion per year to Muslim charities. In light of their growing oil revenues, it is reasonable to assume that they are contributing more now.



According to testimony given before the Senate Banking Committee by Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey on on April 4, Saudi money “is going to Iraq. And it's going to Southeast Asia and it's going to any other place where there are terrorists.” He added Saudi promises to stop the financing of terrorism “haven't been uniformly implemented.”



While the Saudis work hard to fight domestic terrorism, they have yet to turn off the flow of money from wealthy Saudis and their charities that continue to fuel terrorism against the West. Instead, the Kingdom increased its public relations offensive in the U.S., spending tens of millions of dollars on Washington lobbyist, and in contributions to U.S.-based Muslim organizations such as CAIR, who oppose the government’s condemnation of Palestinian terrorism and Hamas.



Last month, CAIR announced that it was “launching a massive $50 million media campaign involving television, radio, and newspapers as part of its five-year program to create a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in the U.S.” Following their Saudi paymaster’s lead, CAIR now orchestrates a media offensive demanding that President Bush come to Hamas’s rescue and condemn Israel.

Clearly, the idea that the $50 million CAIR spends to promote Hamas’ culture of death can instead help millions of Muslims to live better, just did not cross Awad’s mind.

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