Colombo-Arabs in La Guajira deny Hezbollah links

The Colombo-Arabic community in La Guajira Thursday denied links with Lebanese Islamist group Hezbollah as suggested by Israel’s Foreign
Ministry.

The allegations have no basis and are only a stigmatization of those who have been victims for over a decade for simply being Muslims, Omar Elneser Osman, president of the Islamic Association of Maicao, told newspaper El Tiempo.

“To say that there are Hezbollah cells in Maicao [La Guajira department] is a lie. We have our mosque and we don’t use it for what they say. Among the pillars of Islam there is something known as zakat which is a voluntary donation you make every day or every week,” Elneser Osman explained.

Dorit Shavit, director of The Foreign Ministry’s Latin America office, said recently that the Hezbollah has infiltrated mosques in the north of Colombia and is collecting money to be sent to the Middle East.

Elneser Osman sees no reason why the Islamist organization would want to enter Colombia. “This is a group that defends Lebanon against Israel. It has nothing to do with America or Colombia,” the president of the Islamic Association said.

Representatives of the Islamic community, backed by civil authorities of Maicao, are preparing a statement to protest. “We are upset with this situation because it cannot be that year after year such allegations are being made simply because a foreign minister of Israel comes to Colombia,” Elneser noted.

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