National Security

Qatari Group Accused of Funding Hamas Hires D.C. Lobbyist

Founding member Abd al-Rahman al-Nu’aym funneled millions to al Qaeda in Syria, Iraq

The Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammed al-Thani Charitable Foundation (website screenshot)

A Qatar-based charity accused of funding Hamas has hired a lobbyist to represent it in the United States.

The Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammed al-Thani Charitable Foundation, located in Doha, Qatar, recently brought aboard Wendell Belew, a Washington D.C.-based lawyer, to lobby on its behalf. Belew, who will work on issues dealing with "NGO regulations and charity best practices," previously served as chief counsel of the House Budget Committee.

The foundation was one of 36 organizations banned in Israel in July 2008 for its links to fundraising for Hamas.

"This is a significant step against the global network which assists Hamas in raising funds. The order outlaws a great number of bodies that are active abroad and which are responsible for raising very large sums," the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs said at the time of the foundation bans.

Abd al-Rahman al-Nu’aymi, a founding member of the organization, was said by U.S. officials in 2013 to have funneled millions of dollars to al Qaeda in Syria and Iraq.

The Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on Nu’aymi in December 2013 after he was named a specially designated global terrorist for being a "financier and facilitator who has provided money and material support and conveyed communications to al-Qa'ida and its affiliates in Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen for more than a decade."

Nu’aymi ordered the transfer of $600,000 through an al Qaeda representative in Syria with the intention of transferring at least $50,000 more at a later date, according to the Treasury. Additionally, he oversaw a transfer of $2 million per month to al Qaeda in Iraq for an unspecified period of time.

This is not the first time that Belew has worked on behalf of a group with ties to terrorist organizations.

Belew previously represented the Saudi Arabia-based Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, an organization that was found to be a significant backer of al Qaeda.

In July 2004, Aqeel Abdulaziz Aqeel al-Aqeel, the foundation’s leader, was put on the United Nations Security Council Special Notice list of terrorists associated with al Qaeda.

In September 2004, the Treasury announced that the foundation’s American branch, which is based out of Oregon, had direct connections with Osama Bin Laden.

The Treasury investigation found "direct links" between the American branch and Osama bin Laden. It also alleged that the foundation had violated tax laws and engaged in other money laundering offenses. Individuals associated with the branch tried to conceal funds intended for Chechnya by omitting the information from their tax returns and instead claimed that the money was intended to purchase a prayer house in Springfield, Mo.

The Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation is now defunct. Wendell Belew could not be reached for comment.