December 11, 2007, - 2:54 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
One of my favorite European blogs is Tundra Tabloids by KGS. It features news on the Middle East, Islamists, etc. that you won’t find elsewhere.
Today, KGS sends me this story (which he hasn’t yet posted on his site) from Austria.
Rememer Kurt Waldheim? The former Austrian President, who died earlier this year, was a Nazi and participated in Nazi atrocities while he was in the Wehrmacht. Well, it seems the current Austrian President, Heinz Fischer, is trying to out-Waldheim Waldheim by honoring the new Nazis taking over Europe.
Sicherheite-Heute reports that Fischer shook hands with and welcomed Palestinian Islamic terrorist Adel Doghman. Doghman hosts youth camps for children of HAMAS officials and raises money for the terrorist group–financing its murderous activities. And there’s a pic of Fischer and Doghman together, too. Here’s the translation of the German article on S-H, courtesy of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff.
It has echoes of the story I broke in 2001 about President Bush hanging with terrorist Sami Al-Arian on the campaign trail and other stories about terror suspects Bush has hosted at Iftar dinners:
Terror Suspects Shakes Hands with Austrian President
By Stefan Beig
November 24, 2007
This handshake (between the Austrian president and terror suspect Adel Doghman) has caused major irritation in the Austrian political landscape. And it‚Äôs not the first controversial handshake either. In December 1975, the former Austrian minister of interior shook hands with terrorist Carlos at Vienna’s airport. Ten years later, a minister of defense welcomed a Nazi war criminal back to Austria.
However, it is not yet certain whether those officially invited by Austrian President Heinz Fischer, Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer, and Vienna mayor Michael Haeupl are terrorists. It is a fact, though, that the ministry of interior has filed charges of terrorism.
On November 7, MPs from the Austrian People’s Party asked Chancellor Gusenbauer for clarifying information about Adel Abdallah Doghman (Abu-al-Baraa), which so far has not been provided. They wanted to know why Austria officially invited known terror suspects. Doghman is Lebanese, an Islam teacher, and a regular guest at annual “Iftar” gathering sponsored by the Austrian political leadership.
Doghman is no stranger to the FBI and the public. In 2003, President Bush termed the PVO (Palastinensische Vereinigung in Osterreich; Austrian Palestinian Association) a part of the European terror network. Doghman was a co-founder. The money donated to the PVO apparently were not collected for humanitarian purposes but to finance Hamas projects in Gaza.
A detailed FBI report identifies Doghman together wth Islam teacher Hani Abdelhalim, medical doctor Usamah Shumriyah, Al Hajj Salih Tartusi, Hani Ibrahim, and Iyad Fathi as prominent Hamas supporters in Austria.
PVO accounts were frozen in 2003, the ministry of interior filed charges against Adel Doghman and Hani Abdelhalim on terror suspicions. In 2003, the homepage www.no-racism.net featured a press release by PVO, which denied “any connection with political or religious groups in Palestine. We are focusing on the needy, especially orphans.”
There has not been an indictment so far. In 2005, the interior ministry gave an all-clear in the matter: the accusations could not be verified. The interior ministry spokesman admitted that nothing had happened due to lack of evidence. The PVO was very confident already in their 2003 press release: “In the end, we are grateful to the Austrian government for its adherence to the rule of law. We very much appreciate their stance.”
In July 2007, new turbulences appeared when Ahmed Hamed, the correspondent of the Palestinian news agency, Wafa, said in an interview with an Austrian newspaper (“Wiener Zeitung”, Vienna Newspaper), “Hamas is presentable in Austria. The leaders of the Islamic Religious Association in Austria are helping hands in the background.” Money is collected for the purchase of weapons. Austrian politicans are not unaware, but inactive. The Islamic Religious Association rejected all accusations, however, there is something to be said about the allegations.
As a teacher of Islamic religious studies in a small town near Vienna, Adel Doghman receives his salary from the Austrian state. All appointments of teachers are made by the Islamic Religious Association. Doghman has been living in Austria since 1991, but grew up in a Lebanese refugee camp. He was registered as PVO chairman until 2006.
Unnoticed by the public, the public prosecutor’s office reindicted Doghman and Abdelhalim in spring 2007. On March 6, the prosecutor transferred the file to the court in Vienna. According to Palestinian witnesses, house searches also took place shortly thereafter.
In the meantime, criminal proceedings are underway “for the formation of terrorist association”. The law says, “Whoever participates in a terrorist association can be penalized for one to ten years.”
In 2003, the year that saw PVO on the FBI terror list, the Palestinian Humanitarian Association – Austria (PHV) was founded. According to the FBI, PHV continued all of PVO’s charity activities. Adel Doghman’s colleague, Hani Abdelhalim, is PHV’s chairman. It is hard to believe that Doghman has nothing to do with PHV. On October 28, 2006, Doghman sent a thank you note in the name of PHV from his own PVO e-mail account.
PHV lists well known Hamas organizations such as “Zakat Committees” and the “Al-Salah Islamic Committee” in Gaza as recipients of donations. In 2006, PHV collected 140.135 euros during Ramadan, of which 41.135 euros were transferred to the Al Salah Committee, which in turn had already received approximately 30 percent of all donations.
“Hamas uses Al Salh to finance its terror program,” explains Adam Szubin from the “Office of Foreign Assets Control” on August 7, 2007. Al Salah is considered one of the largest and best financed Hamas insitutions. Al Salah sponsored Hamas fighters during the first intifadah. Al Salah recruited teenagers and indoctrinated and prepared them for support operations for Hamas.
In addition to PHV and PVO new organizations with new names have recently surfaced in Austria. On October 6, 2007, the “8th Benefit Evening for Orphans in Palestine” took place in a hotel in Vienna. The event was sponsored by the “Coordination Forum to Support Palestine” and the “Austrian Arab Union”.
The invitiations, however, were sent out from Doghman’s PVO e-mail address. Along with Adel Doghman and Hani Abdelhalim, the leadership of the Islamic Religious Association was also present that evening: President Anas Shakfeh and his assistant, Mouddar Khouja. According to journalist Ahmed Hamed, Hamas supporters are hiding behind new aliases. He adds that money for the Gaza Strip was also collected in the hotel in Vienna.
Doghman is very active: He organized the “First European Palestinian Youth Camp” in Vienna, which took place in March 2007. More than 100 teenagers from Austria, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Great Britain, France, and Italy took part. Most of the youthful campers are part of well known Hamas families.
The camp ended with a joint lunch with members of the cultural association “Liga Kultur”, which, according to Thomas Schmidinger, an expert in Islam, is managed by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. Critics believe the purpose of the youth meeting to have been the establishment of a Hamas Youth Network. As one of the few adults present, Palestinian doctor Ibrahim Hamami – traveling from London – visited to the camp. Hamami is a well-known Hamas-activist.
Austrian politicians apparently quickly forgot about the indictments against Doghman and Abdelhalim. On the other hand, ceremonious Iftar dinners with hundreds of Muslims invited have become a tradition. Vienna mayor Michael Hauepl invited Muslims for an Iftar dinner for the first time in 2003. A large room in city hall was transformed into a temporary prayer room.
Iftar dinners have been taking place at the seat of the Austrian president. “This reception is not to be taken for granted. This can happen only in Austria,” says Anas Shakfeh, the president of the Islamic Religious Association in Austria, during the latest Iftar dinner with Austrian president Heinz Fischer on October 16, 2007.
On October 18, 2007, the Austrian chancellor, Alfred Gusenbauer, invited Muslims for Iftar for the first time. This ceremony emphasizes the special status of Muslims in Austria, Gusenbauer said. President Shakfeh dismissed the demand the religious minorities in Muslim countries should enjoy the same freedoms in religion and belief demanded by Muslims in Austria. It is unnatural to compare the situation of minorities in Muslim countries with that of the Muslim minorities in Europa in order to determine the extent of freedom of a minority in Europe according to the basis of reciprocity.
Omar Al-Rawi, the representative for integration of the Islamic Religious Association and member of the Vienna city council, led the efforts for the institution of the new iftar tradition in Vienna. The Arab website www.ramadan2.biz thanked Al-Rawi in September 2007 “for his outstanding efforts in organizing the Iftar dinner in the federal chancellory, and for his role in building bridges between the Muslim minority in the country as well as the Austrian political and media elite and the political parties.”
The fact that terror suspects have been invited to Iftar dinners for the last years went uncommented by Al-Rawi. So far no statements have been offered to counter the accusations. The authorities are refusing any comments as to why the Austrian state invites people as honored guests who the state itself suspects of terrorism.
“The invitation list was put together with the help of the Islamic Religious Association and its president, Anas Shakfeh”, the presidential spokesman says. Guests of the president are simply not commented on. The ministry of interior did not respond whether Austrian politicians were informed about the criminal proceedings prior to the Iftar dinner.
Austria’s status as a neutral country was helpful to many interests during the Cold War. Great powers as well as radical groups took advantage of the neutral ground to hold strategic meetings. The “Austrian way” prevents open conflicts and tries to appease all sides. However, its “liberal” association with radical elements sometimes leads to bizarre situations, which often go beyond what is acceptable according to the rule of law.
News update: December 3, 2007.
According to insider information, twenty-eight terror suspects were invited to the above mentioned Iftar dinners. In the meantime, the money tranfers made by Doghman and Abdelhalim are beyond dispute.
Translation: Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, M.A.
Islamic Jihad terrorist Sami Al-Arian in the Bush White House. HAMAS terrorist Adel Doghman in the Austrian Prez’s House.
And you wonder why we are losing.
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