A Kuwaiti charity begins work in Somalia, risky business?

A day after harakat al-shabaab al-mujahideen (hsm) spokesman Shaykh ‘ali dheere relayed the movement is allowing aid agencies to do relief work inside areas of the country controlled by them, a Kuwaiti charity organisation in a press release revealed its intention to provide upto a million dollars of emergency relief aid.

Al-shabaab will more than likely welcome such charities, that do not dabble in politics, furthermore apart from being Islamic organisation, the charity espouses exactly what al-shabaab have been advocating since kicking out western aid agencies, that is to “teach how to fish” aid  strategy. rather than simply dumping aid, which estimated 50% of it was essentially being stolen/diverted by WFPs own contractors and other factions according to UN report, to emerge later in Mogadishu’s black markets, in turn devastating local farm produce economy.

Heres a my almost full article translation of a piece by al-Qabas Kuwaiti daily news paper covering the press release.

Original arabic article: http://www.alqabas.com.kw/Article.aspx?id=717488

06/07/2011

The International Islamic Charitable Organization ((IICO) based in Kuwait, announced the launch of its relief program in Somalia, under the supervision of its delegation that has already began implementing the first stages of the relief campaign and in coordination with local charities, with the value of the program reaching one million dollars, donated by a Kuwaiti philanthropist.

The head of the aid organization Dr. Abdullah Maatouq in a press statement said, that the program is designed to provide urgent relief for families affected by drought, to help them overcome the current crises, by  providing them with quantities of food, including basic materials «rice, sugar, flour and oil», and providing medicines and medical treatments for patients , and also contribute to the infrastructure construction of dams and the drilling for artesian wells and surface water, and providing seeds to (subsistence) farmers to help them provide their food.

He also expressed gratitude to the philanthropist, praising his humanitarian gesture, and his continued commitment to support charitable projects, noting that the agency had already sent a a relief delegation to implement the first phase, which includes a package of projects, including digging wells, providing food baskets, organizing medical convoys to examine patients, also providing them with medicines and necessary treatment ,whilst also supplying small farmers with seeds, which help them to grow different crops and yields, which shall acts as their livelihood source. “

Dr.al-Maatouq reiterated that Somalis (in the horn), with a population of 17 million people, are still suffering from the effects of the civil war that led to the displacement of millions from their homes to safer places inside and outside Somali territory, and that Somalia is one of areas prone to natural disasters, which  turning the lush green fields bone dry condition, thus directly contributing to the lack of food resources in all 18 provinces of Somalia….”

The  Kuwaiti charity founded by emiri decree in 1986 is headed by Dr. Abdullah al-Ma’tooq (pic left with emir of kuwait), who once served as Kuwait’s Minister of Awqaf and IslamicAffairs and acting Minister of Education and Higher Education.

In the light of this revelation,It’s worth noting the US authorities since 2001 have been highly suspicious of Islamic charities working especially in territories under control Mujahideen movements.

Back in 2002 the US government designated the Kuwaiti Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS) offices in Afghanistan and Pakistan due to as claimed “their support for al Qaida”, before designating the whole group for allegedly for “Bankrolling al Qaida Network” in 2008.

More specifically the United States Treasury Department accused the charity group of funding “al Qaida and like-minded terrorist groups in Somalia”, but more worryingly is uncertain language with which  the Treasury went on to say that the “Al Qaida supporters in Somalia reportedly have historically received significant funds through RIHS. In addition, RIHS provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to a university controlled by Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya.”.

Having said that US treasury somehow, conveniently I must add managed to pin point the charity’s address in Somalia as Kismayo, which didn’t come as a surprise at time of releasing the statement, due to the fact the port city was known and still is one of Al-shabaabs strong holds.

The Kuwaiti government at the time vehemently rejected the blanket ban against the charity, saying that the US claims “are not based on evidence” after a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

Almost two years later the Kuwaiti government still under pressure from United states to clamp down on charities, yet again questioned the US treasury department claims, when kuwait’s Social Affairs Minister Mohammad Al Afassi stated that “there is no evidence that Kuwaiti charity groups are involved in terrorist activities

Ibrahim Hassaballa former Director General of the International Islamic Charitable Organisation (IICO) in an interview in 2009 commenting on US accusations said he does not ” think the existing organisations have relationships with groups like al Qa’eda, maybe individuals do. There were accusations, but I don’t think they were proved.” so the question is, would the mere suspicion or contact with Al-shabaab to facilitate relief work on the ground in somalia, would that constitute funding terror, or is the US government or is all about aid politics?

If you have any questions, complaints or simply want to impart ideas or knowledge please contact us on the following e-mail address: Somaliwarmonitor@gmail.com

                    

One thought on “A Kuwaiti charity begins work in Somalia, risky business?

  1. Doing charity is never risky….Even if we talk about Somalia or any other country people doing charity work are welcome. People there shouldn’t think about politics, because this action has nothing to do with this area. And let me tell you that Somalians are very friendly people. when I went there thanks to Yuri Mintskovsky’s charity organization I was surprised to see this side of them because I heard they are not so friendly.

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