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Monday, October 30, 2006

Law enforcement reduces Muslim donations

There's good news from the New York Times this morning: the fear of government investigations has reduced 'charitable donations' to Muslim groups in the United States. According to the Times,
Fearful that donations to an Islamic charity could bring unwanted attention from federal agents looking into potential ties to terrorism, many Muslim Americans have become reluctant to donate to Islamic causes, including charities.


When Mrs. Bazzy calls people to solicit contributions, they quickly beg off and hang up, telling her later in the grocery store or the bank not to ask them for money on the phone because the government is probably eavesdropping.

Nobody wants to write a check for any amount, and they look at her in horror when she offers a receipt — some of the largest donations she still receives have been anonymous wads of $100 bills stuffed into envelopes.

The developer of the new building that had volunteered office space for her charity begged off, saying that even the potential for a raid might drive away other tenants and bring down rents. The irony, she points out, is that she deliberately avoided any connection with a religious institution, even taking out a loan on her house to finance her longstanding dream of starting the charity. But given her headscarf, many people assume it is a faith-based organization.
And when things don't go right for Muslims, you can guess what they do: they blame Israel.
Yet, his gleaming new $15 million mosque here, a handsome white structure with a gold dome and soaring twin minarets that is billed as the largest in America, remains $6 million in debt. Contributions dropped sharply this summer after the war in Lebanon, the imam said, when the Bush administration expressed its unreserved support for Israel. Other mosques report similar difficulties. The general sentiment is that the American government’s tilt toward Israel extends to hounding anyone supporting Arab causes.
Then the Times tries to make the case that Muslim charities should not be hounded, and goes off into Fantasyland:
The Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the Treasury Department has shuttered five major Muslim charities in the United States since 2001, seizing millions of dollars in assets, yet not a single officer or organization has been convicted of anything connected to terrorism. Muslim charities operating overseas have been directly linked to terrorist operations, but if such evidence exists in the United States it has remained secret.
That begs the question. In December 2004, a Federal judge in Chicago ruled that the Holy Land Foundation, the Islamic Association of Palestine and the Quranic Literacy Institute were liable for the murder of David Boim, HY"D, a 17-year old dual citizen of the United States and Israel, who was gunned down by terrorists in 1996 while awaiting a ride outside the gates of his Yeshiva in Beit El.

On October 19 of this year, the trial of Abdelhaleem Ashkar began in a Federal courtroom in Chicago. Ashkar is charged with funneling tens of thousands of dollars through his bank account to Hamas, which used the money to perpetrate terror attacks in Israel. Ashkar's co-defendants are Moussa Abu Marzook, the number two man in Hamas' politburo, who lives in Syria and therefore is not present at the trial, and Muhammad Salah, an Illinois 'businessman.'

On July 27, 2004 a federal grand jury in Dallas,Texas returned a 42-count indictment against the Holy Land Foundation. Charges include: conspiracy, providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, tax evasion and money laundering. The indictment alleges that the Holy Land Foundation provided more than $12.4 million to individuals and organizations linked to Hamas from 1995 to 2001, when their asset were frozen. The indictment also names specific officers of the Holy Land Foundation: president Shukri Abu Baker; chairman, Ghassan Elashi; and executive director, Haitham Maghawri and four others: Mohammad el-Mezain, Akram Mishal, Mufid Abdulqader and Abdulraham Odeh. Five of the seven have been arrested. Maghawri and Mishal have not been found and are considered fugitives.

In sum, the organizations have been convicted, and the individuals are on their way to being convicted.

It should be added that Mr. Ghassan Elashi, Holy Land Foundation (HLF) chairman, is among the founders of the Texas branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Texas). Mr. Elashi was also vice president of InfoCom Corporation of Richardson, Texas, indicted along with Hamas' Marzook. InfoCom, an Internet company shared personnel, office space, and board members with the HLF. The two organizations were formed in California around the same time, and both received seed money from Hamas leader Marzook. InfoCom also maintained the web sites for HLF and IAP.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. was founded by former members of the Hamas front organization Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), with funding from HLP. The Anti-Defamation League states that the HLF is a daughter organization of IAP.

The Times notes that the Muslims have not stopped giving, except that they are now giving cash for their zakat (charity) and they are giving it to needy individuals rather than to terror funding organizations. They are also giving less. Maybe that's because it costs less to help needy individuals than it costs to fund terror.


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