Good Day World!
Urban legends, and rumors, are often interesting reads. There’s usually just enough truth in them to tweak our curiosity. Examples abound on the internet.
Today, I’m sharing one of those – shall we say rumors? – with you. It’s a recent story that will cause many Americans to pause before patronizing this business.
This story also serves as a backdrop for the war between Israel and Hamas.
Since at least as far back as 2012, rumors have circulated claiming that brothers Tariq and Kamran Farid, who founded Edible Arrangements International, are "devout Pakistani Muslims" who have, through their Tariq Farid Foundation, donated money to organizations linked with Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist movement engaged in armed resistance and terrorism against Israel.
Edible Arrangements International is a U.S.-based business that specializes in selling "fruit bouquets," fruit baskets designed like floral arrangements. As of 2014, the company was a 1,200-store chain with outlets in 14 countries, including the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Italy, Turkey, Hong Kong, Oman, India and China.
The Anti-Defamation League (whose stated mission is to "stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all citizens alike") said of such rumors back in 2012 that:
We have received several such inquiries regarding recent allegations by Debbie Schlussel in an article critical of the owners of Edible Arrangements, which sells fruit baskets and the like. Schlussel claims that the owners of Edible Arrangements are funding Palestinian terror organizations, including Hamas, through their Farid Foundation.
In our judgment, Schlussel's allegations lack context and nuance and she does not offer any clear evidence to support them. Even if the Farid Foundation has provided funding for some of the American Muslim groups she references, we believe it is an unsupported stretch to conclude that the Foundation or Edible Arrangements is funding Hamas.
In June 2014 Islamic Relief WorldWide (IRW) was banned from operating in Israel due to that country's belief that IRW "funnels cash to Hamas":
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon [has] signed a decree banning Islamic Relief Worldwide from operating in Israel.
Israel believes IRW, which markets itself as a charitable agency that solicits donations from all over the world, funnels cash to Hamas. Ya’alon’s ban was decided upon after the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), the coordinator for government activities in the territories, and legal authorities provided incriminating information against IRW.
The organization has representatives worldwide, including Australia, the United States, and Britain, where it is headquartered. Some of their local branches in Gaza, Judea, and Samaria are run by Hamas operatives.
Ya'alon's decree makes it illegal for IRW to function anywhere in Israel, Judea, and Samaria. It will also be forbidden from transferring funds to any destination in Judea and Samaria.
“The IRW is another source of funds for Hamas, and we have no intention of allowing it to operate and assist terrorist activity against Israel," Ya'alon said.
"This is another in a series of steps that we are taking against Hamas in Judea and Samaria and the pressure we are applying, the goal of which is to harm the organization’s leadership and rank-and-file as well as its civilian infrastructure. These serve as the foundation from which Hamas operates among the local population."
WHO GOT CHARITY DONATIONS?
Farid Foundation makes significant contributions to Islamic causes and organizations, including the Farid Foundation Pakistan; the Salma K. Farid Academy; Islamic Circle of North America Relief; the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut; the Inner-City Muslim Action Network; the Wallingford Islamic Center; Masjid AI-Islam; and the Islamic Association of Southern Connecticut.
WHAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE?
Time for me to walk on down the road…