Urge State Dept to Investigate Flotilla Passengers

We, the undersigned, support the petition of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, and call upon the State Department to investigate any and all of the passengers of the Mavi Marmara and other ships from Turkey’s IHH flotilla who apply for visas to enter the United States on a speaking tour. It has been announced that a number of these passengers plan to speak in New York City in the coming weeks.

In 2006, a report issued by the Danish Institute for International Studies stated that during the 1990s the IHH maintained links with al-Qaida and a number of “global jihad networks.”

The report also stated that the Turkish government launched an investigation into the IHH starting December 1997 after receiving intelligence that the IHH had bought automatic weapons from Islamist terrorists. According to the report, the Turkish government launched a raid on the organization’s Istanbul offices where they found weapons, explosives, and instructions for bomb-making. The report added that an examination of documents found at the IHH office indicated that the group was planning to take part in terrorist activities in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Bosnia. In addition, a French intelligence report found that in the mid-1990s IHH leader B’ulent Yildirim recruited soldiers for jihad activities in a number of Muslim countries and that the IHH transferred money, firearms, and explosives to jihadists in a number countries.

According to Section 212 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, the State Department will deny visas to representatives of and those providing assistance to terrorist organizations. The significant documentation proving that IHH is a terrorist organization provides a prima facie argument that the passengers of the “flotilla” are inadmissible to the United States.

We respectfully urge the U.S. State Department to exercise its statutory obligation to investigate and determine that any such applicants demonstrate, by clear and convincing evidence, that the he/she did not know, and should not reasonably have known, that the IHH is widely considered a terrorist organization and associated with Hamas and the Union of the Good, an Islamic umbrella affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Furthermore, applicants should prove, by the above standard, that the cash in the possession of the passengers of the Mavi Marmar was not meant to fund or to give things of value to support terrorist activity or a terrorist organization, namely Hamas.

Any such visa applicant, who cannot provide the requisite clear and convincing evidence or proof, should be deemed inadmissible to the United States.


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