Mitt Romney

JERUSALEM – Republican presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney cited the social welfare network of the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group as a role model the U.S. should copy to help promote “goodness” and “freedom” around the world.

Sections of Hezbollah’s social welfare network, including schools and camps, are routinely used by the terror group to indoctrinate students in anti-Israel propaganda, instruct in military tactics and promote Shiite Islamic beliefs, including the waging of a final, apocalyptic world battle against “evil.”

The former Massachusetts governor last weekend was asked during a campaign stop in Iowa whether he would renew President Bush’s $50 million campaign to combat AIDS in Africa.

Romney said he would and then proceeded to explain the U.S. should aspire to implement the kind of social action network carried out in recent years by Hezbollah.

The Romney campaign has not responded to WND’s request for comment.

In remarks caught on camera by C-SPAN, Romney stated, “Did you notice in Lebanon what Hezbollah did? Lebanon became a democracy some time ago, and while their government was getting under way, Hezbollah went into southern Lebanon and provided health clinics to some of the people there, and schools.

“And they (Hezbollah) built their support there by having done so. That kind of diplomacy is something that would help America become stronger around the world and help people understand that our interest is an interest towards modernity and goodness and freedom for all people in the world. And so, I want to see America carry out that kind of health diplomacy.”

Hezbollah the past few years has helped built a civilian infrastructure in southern Lebanon – largely funded by Iran – that includes schools, health clinics and even inexpensive apartment buildings.

Israeli security officials say Hezbollah’s social infrastructure works to endear the group to the local population to help generate domestic support since Hezbollah also functions as a Lebanese political party. The security officials state Hezbollah’s civilian infrastructure in southern Lebanon, including hospitals and apartment buildings, is routinely used by the terror group to store and utilize rockets, weapons and other munitions.

Hezbollah has built schools in southern Lebanon that reportedly are used to recruit youngsters to the group’s guerrilla army. Some of the schools reportedly train students in military tactics.

Hezbollah’s Mahdi Scouts hold plastic rifles in parade on anniversary of outbreak of the second intifada (Center for Special Studies)

WND reported Hezbollah’s Youth Scouts, part of the group’s social welfare network cited by Romney, instructs tens of thousands of children and teenagers in military tactics and indoctrinates them with radical Shiite Islam beliefs, according to materials found by Israel during last month’s war in Lebanon.

“Hezbollah established its Imam Mahdi Scouts to attract Shiite children and adolescents, to influence their hearts and minds and to prepare new generations of youth indoctrinated with radical Shiite Islam, which propounds the idea of the return of the Mahdi (messiah) as one of Hezbollah’s central principles,” stated a report by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at Israel’s Center for Special Studies.

“Hezbollah wants to create a new generation of operatives for its own ranks who will take part in its violent campaign against Israel,” the report stated.

The first lesson Hezbollah teaches scouts and students, according to an August 2006 article by the Egyptian daily Ruz al-Yusuf Egyptian, is the destruction of Israel.

“(This lesson) is always an important part of the curriculum and is always aimed at children and adolescents who are new to the program. (The objective is to train a) high-caliber Islamic generation of children who would be willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of Allah in the campaign against Israel,” stated the Egyptian article.

Hezbollah last summer engaged in 34 days of confrontations with Israel provoked after the group kidnapped two Israeli soldiers. During the Lebanon war, Hezbollah fired more than 3,000 rockets into Jewish population centers, killing 43 Israeli civilians.

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