Controversial Conference in Istanbul Showcases Hamas and PIJ Leaders

The “Freedom for Palestine” conference was organized in Istanbul last month by the Al-Quds International Institute (QII), a group raising funds for Hamas, The International Union of Muslim Scholars, which is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue. Other organizations and political parties, including the South African branch of QII, also participated in the event, which was aimed at re-incriminating Zionism as a racist ideology. Speakers at the conference included leaders of Hamas and other terrorist groups, as well as politicians and religious figures. The conference also featured videos from Hamas and interactive exhibitions about life in Gaza. Sheikh Hamid Al-Ahmar, the head of the Al-Quds International Institute, praised Hamas and called for support for “the resistance.” Al-Ahmar is an influential Yemeni businessman with close ties to Hamas and other terrorist organizations. Despite his connections to these groups, he has not been designated as a terrorist by the U.S. government.