Report: German Refugee Program Money Given to Hezbollah Operatives
Hezbollah activists continue to operate freely in Germany and serve as senior employees of a German government-funded theater project intended to aid refugees in the country, according to the Berliner Zeitung daily — and reported by the Jerusalem Post.
Two directors of the Refugee Club Impulse (RCI), sisters Nadia and Maryam Grassman, were central organizers of the annual pro-Iran/pro-Hezbollah al-Quds Day rally in 2015 featuring “antisemitic slogans” and calls for “the abolition of Israel.”
Video and photographic evidence showed Nadia chanting on a loudspeaker while Maryam disseminated fliers and posters and collected donations during the antisemitic rally. It is uncertain whether the donations were intended to fund Hezbollah’s terrorist operations in Syria and against Israel.
The RCI is expected to receive €100,000 ($113,260 USD) from the German government for the refugee project. Public taxpayer money has been transferred to the organization for several years.
There are roughly 250 active Hezbollah operatives in Berlin, and a total of 950 Hezbollah members throughout Germany, according to a 2014 Berlin intelligence report summarized by the Jerusalem Post. The number of Hezbollah supporters is believed to be far higher in Germany than listed in the report.
Radical Islamists are “the greatest danger to Germany…Germany is on the spectrum of goals for Islamic terrorists,” said Hans-Georg Maassen, president of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency – the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV).
In 2014, Germany closed down the Lebanon Orphan Children Project for providing money to the al-Shahid (“The Martyr”) Association in Lebanon. Al-Shahid was “disguised as a humanitarian organization” and “promotes violence and terrorism in the Middle East using donations collected in Germany and elsewhere,” German security expert Alexander Ritzmann said in a 2009 European Foundation for Democracy report.
While the European Union, including Germany, designated Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist entity, Germany allows Hezbollah’s political wing to operate freely in the country. The US, Canada, and the Netherlands designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization entirely. Even senior Hezbollah officials have noted the futility in distinguishing between its political and military wings, acknowledging that Hezbollah is a hierarchical and bureaucratic organization with a clear chain of command. Therefore the organization’s terrorist and military wings answer to its senior leadership and political echelons, including its main benefactor — Iran.
Steven Emerson is the Executive Director the Investigative Project on Terrorism (www.investigativeproject.org) where this article first appeared.