Hamas shuts down Iran-affiliated religious charity

Published March 14th, 2016 - 05:00 GMT
Trucks carrying mobile homes donated by Emirati charity Human Appeal International pass destroyed buildings in Khan Yunis' Khuzaa neighborhood in southern Gaza on September 13, 2014. (AFP/Said Khatib)
Trucks carrying mobile homes donated by Emirati charity Human Appeal International pass destroyed buildings in Khan Yunis' Khuzaa neighborhood in southern Gaza on September 13, 2014. (AFP/Said Khatib)

The Ministry of Interior of the Hamas-run government in the Gaza Strip reportedly ordered the dissolution of a religious charity organization on Sunday, the charity’s chairman told Ma’an on Sunday.

Al-Baqiyat al-Salihat’s chairman, Sheikh Hisham Salim, said that he was not given a clear reason for the closure on Sunday, when the northern Gaza office of the Ministry of Interior officially notified the board of directors of the charity of its decision taken three months prior to shutting down the organization.

Salim said the charity was established in 2004 to help people in need in the besieged Palestinian enclave, including the families of deceased fighters and people whose homes were demolished during the latest Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip in 2014.

Salim said the closure came after a years-long crackdown on the organization by the Gaza Strip’s government.

In a statement following the closure, Salim said he believed the Hamas-led government’s decision to shut down al-Baqiyat al-Salihat was due to the organization’s “political activities.”

“What activities do they mean and why haven't they warned us? Have there been any activities against the government?” Salim asked.

"Just as Hamas brothers denounced the (Palestinian Authority’s) decisions to close Hamas-affiliated charities and organizations, we hereby denounce this oppressive decision against al-Baqiyat al-Salihat charity,” he wrote.

In 2011, an office of al-Baqiyat al-Salihat was shut down by the Gaza Ministry of Interior in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya.

Since then all the offices of the charity had been closed across the Gaza City except for the one in Shujayya east of Gaza City, Salim said, adding that the Shujayya office had been raided in August and that its equipment had been confiscated.

Salim said his organization had met with Gaza’s minister of interior in the past, who had promised that al-Baqiyat al-Salihat’s offices would be reopened, “but the promises did not come true."

Salim is also the secretary-general of the Islamist political and military organization al-Sabirin, to which al-Baqiyat al-Salihat is affiliated.

Al-Sabirin was established in 2014 after its founders broke away from the Islamic Jihad movement. While al-Sabirin’s sources of funding are not publicly confirmed, al-Baqiyat al-Salihat has received donations from Iranian organizations.

In February, an explosive device targeted Salim’s home in Gaza City without causing casualties.


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