Farooq Kathwari, “true internationalist” and chairman of the Board of Refugees International

This is a post simply to save more biographical information on an important mover and shaker in the refugee industry.   We have reported on Mr. Kathwari on several previous occasions including here and here.

This is from a fluffy-puffy piece entitled, “View from America: Wisdom of the ages,”  from something called The Dawn Media Group.

There are many prosperous American-Pakistanis who make individual and corporate donations to charities back in Pakistan. The one name that gets mentioned to me often is that of Farooq Kathwari. The Srinagar-born Kashmiri is the CEO of one of the largest US furniture chains called Ethan Allen. He’s been heading it for 22 years. According to Nafis Sadik, Kathwari gave a substantial donation to DIL (Developments in Literacy*) an NGO in Pakistan which is actively engaged in educating the poor and disadvantaged children in underdeveloped regions of Pakistan.

Kathwari’s son was a Jihadist, and I thought it was interesting to see that Kathwari’s involvement with the Muslim separatist movement in Kashmir has angered the Indian government and gotten him banned from Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Kathwari, 64, lost his eldest son, Irfan, in 1992. Irfan was a medical student at Harvard and had gone to Afghanistan to fight with the mujhaideen. Farida, his wife of 41 years, co-founded Funkar International, which promotes Kashmiri classical music. As a peace activist Kathwari demands of India that Kashmiris live in dignity and honour. ‘By showing Americans what was really going on in Kashmir, Kathwari angered Indians. At about the time the (Indian) government made it clear he was no longer welcome (in Indian-held Kashmir)’ wrote the USA Today some years back. The Kashmir Study Group that he founded in 1996 has since been bringing together former diplomats, academics and American politicians to set up a framework for discussion between Indian and Pakistani negotiators ‘sparring about control of the region.’The only time I met Farooq Kathwari was at a Pakistan Day reception hosted by the then Pakistan ambassador to the UN Munir Akram several years ago in New York.

Kathwari came across as an intensely serious person focused on the fate of Kashmir. He seemed disinterested in small talk. ‘He’s so intellectually curious and has more interests outside his work than any CEO I’ve ever known,’ said Tracy Mullin, CEO of the retail federation. ‘Farooq is a true internationalist.’

Note in this article they are all busy setting up more NGO’s throughout this region of the world.  No doubt you, the taxpayer, will be contributing to their ‘good will’ gestures.  And, then who knows where the money is really going!

* Developments in Literacy, hummm!, I thought that rang a bell.  Here is some information I found about them almost a year and a half ago!

According to the Muslim Observer article. Mr. Jafari is also involved with an organization that sends money to kids in Pakistan.  It’s called Developments in Literacy and is headquartered in Long Beach, CA.  A check of its 2006 Form 990 shows that they raised $1,548,683 to help schools in Pakistan.    $879,971 was spent for “conferences, conventions and meetings.”    There was a hotel bill for $154,000 and dinner entertainment for $46,000.  Maybe the IRS gives no category for reporting money to Pakistan so accountants must place it in the “conferences” category.  How much went to kids?  Who knows?   Another story?

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