Bogus orphans charity banned, raided for financing HezbollahApril 20, 2014
On April 8, German authorities announced a ban of the Hezbollah-funding Islamic “charity” known as Orphans Project Lebanon and raided their offices across the country.
Orphans Project Lebanon had been under scrutiny for several years. It lost its preferential tax treatment a few years ago, but was allowed to continue operating, as Money Jihad highlighted last year, partly because the EU did not consider Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization at the time. Since then, the EU has changed its policy, and German authorities have presumably been building their case against Orphans Project Lebanon behind the scenes.
Thanks to Puneet, Sal, and El Grillo for sending in links about this. From AFP/The Local:
Germany outlaws ‘Hezbollah fundraisers’
German authorities banned a group on Tuesday accused of raising millions of euros for Lebanese militant organization Hezbollah and helping the families of suicide bombers. Police staged raids across the country.
The interior ministry said it had outlawed the “Waisenkinderprojekt Libanon” (Orphan Children Project Lebanon) with immediate effect, although on Wednesday morning the group’s website was still up and running.
“The name of the group masks its actual purpose,” ministry state secretary Emily Haber said in a statement.
She said the organization, based in the western city of Essen, had raised €3.3 million in donations between 2007 and 2013 for the Lebanese Shahid Foundation, an “integral” part of Hezbollah.
The ministry said the funds were used to recruit fighters “to combat Israel, also with terrorist measures” and compensate the families of suicide bombers.
“Organizations that directly or indirectly from German soil oppose the state of Israel’s right to exist may not seek freedom of association protection,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said in the statement.
He said the group’s goals violated Germany’s constitution.
Around 160 police officers searched premises across six states and confiscated cash, computers and 120 boxes of files. The raids took place in Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Bremen, Lower Saxony and Rhineland Palatinate.
Two bank accounts with a total of around €104,000 were frozen but no arrests were made.
The ministry said it had kept Waisenkinderprojekt Libanon, which has about 80 members, under surveillance since 2009…
As Money Jihad has pointed out several times, orphans are often exploited by jihadist groups as a cover for transferring money toward their own purposes.