In the latest public relations news, The Belew Law Group, led by Wendell Belew, a past chief counsel on the House Budget Committee has registered to lobby for the Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammed al-Thani Charitable Foundation, which has been linked to Al-Qaeda, Hamas and other terrorist organizations.
This charity was banned by Israel in 2008, after providing funds to Hamas. At the time, the Israeli military noted that it was part of “a roof organization for foundations operated by Hamas around the world, especially in Europe and the Persian Gulf countries.” Hamas is illegal in the United States and much of Europe. The Washington Post reported that the founder of this association, Abd Al-Rahman al-Nuaimi, was named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the United States government for his role in facilitating financing and communications for Al-Qaeda.
This is not Belew’s only brush with controversy – he has represented the now-defunct Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation (AHIF). That organization funded Al-Qaeda, and in 2014 was described by CBS News as a major source of funds for the charity. There were direct links between the foundation and Osama Bin-Laden and until the organization folded, the leader was wanted by Interpol for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts of activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of” Al-Qaeda.
Belew is not alone. In the past few years, Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations have used lobbying firms to influence lawmakers. From The Raben Group’s work for Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), which is considered a terrorist organization by multiple governments for supporting Hamas, to Brown Lloyd James, an American Public Relations firm who has worked for the Assad firm there are many unfortunately working for questionable interests.
As Richard Edelman, CEO of the world’s largest Public Relations firm noted “PR is not like the law – Not everyone deserves representation.”
Ronn Torossian is a Public Relations entrepreneur, and author of the best-selling book, “For Immediate Release.”