In quite an expected move, the United States has rejected an offer of help for Americans hit by Sandy storm from the chairman of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), Hafiz Mohammad Saeed.
Saeed, the founder of the banned Lashkar-i-Taiba (LeT), who has a $10 million US reward on his head, said his charity was ready to help to those affected by the storm. However, the offer was turned down by the American authorities.
Acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner recalled that Saeed is wanted for the 2008 attacks which killed 166 people, including six Americans. The LeT has also been designated a foreign terrorist organisation by the US State Department.
Toner stated, “We have great respect obviously for the Islamic tradition of social assistance to those who are in need, no matter where they might be. But this particular offer strikes us as very hollow.”
Sandy hammered the eastern United States early on Tuesday, flooding much of New York City, causing a trail of damage across several states and leaving more than 100 people dead.
Saeed, who is now head of JuD, said in a statement his organisation was ready to offer every possible help “volunteers, doctors, food, medicines and other relief items on humanitarian grounds if the US government allows us.
“America may have any opinion about us, it may fix bounties on our heads but as followers of the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), we feel it is our Islamic duty to help Americans trapped in a catastrophe.”
JuD is seen as a front for LeT, and in April the United States offered $10 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Saeed, who lives in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore.