In another example of what appears to be propaganda designed to mislead the public – and boost its image – the Izz-a-din al-Qassam "military wing" of Hamas claimed Thursday that Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo had donated 1.2 million euros ($1.6 million) to Gaza.
Ronaldo has not confirmed the story, but it was reminiscent of another claim by terror groups last week that World Cup star Mesut Özil was donating $300,000 to “the children of Gaza” - a claim that Ozil later denied.
In a Facebook posting Thursday, the terror group praised Ronaldo for his donation.
“He is a legend and we hope he will convert to Islam,” the group said. “He donated over a million euros to Palestine, we gave him in return a Quran. We have a great deal of respect for him,” the group said, adding that Ronaldo was “well known” in his admiration of Islam.
Last week, Hamas reported that Özil, a third-generation, German-born Turkish Muslim who plays for Germany, was donating $300,000 – money awarded him for being part of the winning World Cup team. Özil is known to recite Koranic verses before games, but did not fast during the current month of Ramadan, when adult Muslims are expected to refrain from eating and drinking during the day and break the fast only at sundown.
Özil's publicity agent later denied the report, saying the money had been donated to orphanages in Brazil.
Earlier, the Algerian team voted to donate all of its collective winnings – 5.25 million British pounds ($9 million) – to Gaza. According to team captain Islam Slimani, the team made the decision because “Gaza needs the money more than we do.”