Written by Student Rights on 11 June 2014 at 7am

Interpal Bradford targets student volunteers

As the exam period comes to a close and many students head home for their summer holidays, it is likely that many will be thinking of either part-time jobs or volunteering during their breaks.

In Leeds however, Student Rights has found evidence that such students have been targeted by an organisation which has repeatedly been linked to extremism.

On 9th June Interpal Bradford’s fundraising assistant Amna Afzal posted a message on the Facebook page of Leeds University Palestine Solidarity Group saying:

...why not volunteer with Interpal Bradford and help your brothers and sisters in Palestine!

We are recruiting volunteers for different activities throughout the blessed month so don't miss out!

If you could spare a few hours in the week to help us then please contact us”.

Interpal was forced to disassociate from the designated Hamas fundraising organisation Union of Good in 2009, and as of December 2013 remained a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organisation in the US.

Chairman Ibrahim Hewitt describes terrorist groups including Hamas as “legitimate Palestinian resistance”, and has been criticised for claiming that homosexuals would suffer “severe punishments” in an Islamic state. 

The Bradford branch of the charity reaching out to students has a particularly worrying history, with local representative Ibrahim Dar sharing video online of Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki telling viewers:

Brothers and sisters, if we are not going to fight today, then when will we fight? Muslim land is occupied, oppression is widespread, the laws of the Quran are neglected. What other time is better for jihad than today?

Dar has also been accused of posting video of Taliban fighters attacking US troops online, and writing that Mujahideen only have victory, and they get the highest rewards, there is no such thing as being defeated, the ultimate success is Islam”.

Afzal meanwhile has described the Taliban leaders released recently in exchange for US POW Bowe Bergdahl as “Lions”, and has also volunteered for ‘Helping Households under Great Stress’ (HHUGS).

That students are being targeted by this group via the social media of Student Union societies should concern the university authorities, and we hope that they will discuss this issue with their students.