Left: The front cover of a book about the Mavi Marmara flotilla which was published in Turkey. Right: A picture from the book showing a banner hung on the upper deck of the Mavi Marmara. The names on the banner, Sarajevo, Gorazde and Srebrenica, were sites of massacres during the 1992-1995 war Bosnian war. It illustrates the direct line drawn by IHH from the organization's military involvement in Bosnia to the aid it gives Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
1. On August 25, 2010, Yazdan Karimi, an Iranian researcher considered an expert on Palestinian issues, was interviewed by the Iranian news agency Fars, which has a conservative editorial policy and is close to Ahmadinejad. The interview centered around the Turkish Islamist organization IHH, its founding and its participation in the fighting aboard the Mavi Marmara.
2. The interview was conducted following Karimi's weeks-long visit to Turkey, where he met with and interviewed the IHH leader and organization operatives. Sympathetic to IHH and the flotilla, the interview was printed under the title "Gaza's ship of liberation [i.e., the Mavi Marmara] sailed [on waves of] the Ayatollah Khomeini's ideology."
3. Karimi described the circumstances surrounding the establishment of IHH in 1992. He said it was founded as a jihadist Islamic organization which sent fighters (mujahideen) to Bosnia to help the local Muslims fight the Serbs. IHH, headed by Bülent Yildirim, later established a financial-social network using charity money (zakat) to extend its activities to many locations around the globe. He noted that IHH provided Muslim communities with material, educational and religious aid (i.e., in addition to its humanitarian activities, IHH operates like other "charitable societies" of the same nature, such as those of Hamas and Hezbollah, to indoctrinate radical Islamic ideology).
4. Following the publicity IHH received in the Mavi Marmara flotilla, an American website dealing with the study of terrorism and the Middle East posted an article about IHH's involvement in the fighting in Bosnia entitled "IHH: From the War in Bosnia to the Gaza Flotilla" (See Appendix III). A recent article in the Serbian daily Banja Luka Glas Sprske claimed that IHH is still active in Bosnia and that funds collected in Bosnian mosques are transferred to Hamas (See Appendix IV). IHH is a participating member of the Union of Good, which sends funds to Hamas, and for that reason it was outlawed by Israel.
5. The fighting aboard the Mavi Marmara as described by Karimi is based on statements made by IHH operatives and its leader, Bülent Yildirim. The description is one-sided and distorted, accuses Israeli soldiers of indiscriminately shooting at Mavi Marmara passengers and of mistreating them after the takeover of the ship. Similar descriptions appeared in Turkey and in our assessment may correspond to the spirit of the "testimonies" given by IHH operatives to the investigating committees of the Turks and of the UN Human Rights Council, which sent a "fact-finding" team to Turkey and took statements from flotilla passengers.
6. At the end of the interview Karimi stated that IHH was inspired by the ideology of the Ayatollah Khomeini. He said that IHH operatives told him they believed in Khomeini's famous dictum, that if each Muslim threw a bucket of water on Israel, it would be erased. According to Karimi, the slogan appeared on a banner at the memorial service for the flotilla casualties (second half of July).
7. The Appendices:
A. Appendix I -- The main points of the interview with Yazdan Karimi, Iranian expert on Palestine, about IHH and the fighting aboard the Mavi Marmara.
B. Appendix II -- The ideological dimension of transferring Islamic charity funds to finance terrorist activity
C. Appendix III -- "IHH: From the War in Bosnia to the Gaza Flotilla," an article by Jean-Charles Brisard, from the analyst-network.com website
D. Appendix IV -- Banja Luka Glas Sprske September 15, 2010 article, "IHH raises funds in Bosnia for Hamas"
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