October 17, 2006

Foreign donations to Islamic groups help Hamas

Even though the Western boycott has rendered the Hamas government impotent, it hasn't stopped foreign money from reaching the militant group's network of social welfare affiliates such as schools, hospitals, and alms societies. Islamist charities continue to get money from Muslim groups in the Persian Gulf, Europe, and the U.S., filling the vacuum of government services and preserving a core of support for political Islam. But domestic critics charge that Hamas is using the charities to protect its own during the crisis. "There is a lot of money in Hamas," says Abdel Nasser Najjar, a columnist for Al Ayyam, a newspaper of the opposition Fatah party. "The problem now is that Hamas is only giving to their own people."