Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > The Muslim Brotherhood - Militant Islamist groups banned in the Middle East set up terror network in the US and Europe
The Muslim Brotherhood - Militant Islamist groups banned in the Middle East set up terror network in the US and Europe
From Al Qassam in Gaza to Al Qassam in Tampa -All roads lead to Sami Al Arian
August 15, 2004
MIM : The founder of Al Qaeda, Abdullah Azzam, was listed as an esteemed scholar on the Muslim Brotherhood website : A recent probe of terrorist organisations and funding fronts in Virginia showed that members of the Muslim Brotherhood formed the beginning of "Bin Laden's Golden Chain -which inevitably links to Sami Al Arian and other South Florida Islamists .
HERNDON, Va. -- On a cloudy March day two years ago, scores of heavily armed federal agents raided the homes and businesses of numerous Muslim residents in this Washington suburb. Guns drawn and clad in black, the agents scooped up computers, address books and correspondence, handcuffing some of the startled targets of the sweep.
The government says the massive search has been one of the most productive forays in a 2˝-year investigation into the financing of international terrorism. The targets of the raid say it amounted to law-enforcement overkill.
The man who has done more than any other investigator to chart the course of the probe is a little-known customs agent named David Kane. The 34-year-old former financial planner drafted the 99-page affidavit justifying the March 2002 raid and helped carry it out....
He continues to spearhead an investigation that since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has taken him from a chicken farm in rural Georgia to the Swiss Alps estate of a leading figure in the Muslim Brotherhood, the forefather of Islamic fundamentalist groups.
The cast of characters Mr. Kane has tracked includes a leader of the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas, a loquacious Egyptian banker and the equally talkative wife the banker left behind in Virginia. Earlier this month, U.S. officials confirmed that a Muslim activist who formerly worked with some of the people targeted in the raid -- and who is now in custody -- is suspected of involvement in a plot to assassinate the ruler of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Abdullah. Nancy Luque, a lawyer representing members of the Herndon group, says the Muslim activist, Abdurahman Alamoudi, has no connection with her clients and last worked for a Herndon entity in 1990.
As it expands into Europe and the Middle East, the probe is shedding new light on what one government witness called the "Golden Chain": a purported list of Osama bin Laden's earliest financial supporters.
_MIM: Click here to see a list_of Osama Bin Laden supporters known as the Golden Chain.
The Kane investigation shows that disrupting the flow of money allegedly used to fuel terrorism and extremism is extraordinarily difficult. Funds move around the world along convoluted paths, tended to by a vast array of players. The line between legitimate and illegitimate activities is often blurry, making it all the more difficult to distinguish the criminals from mere activists and bankers.
At the center of Mr. Kane's probe is a cluster of more than 100 charities and companies based in and around Herndon, a town of 21,000 whose middle-class houses sit on quiet streets with names like Rock Ridge Road and Marjorie Lane. Following the establishment there in the early 1980s of a research organization called the International Institute of Islamic Thought, Herndon attracted a stream of Muslim immigrants. A group of elders help run, in addition to the institute, a mosque, an Islamic graduate school and a mutual fund that follows Islamic investing principles, such as avoiding interest payments.
Today, it's a close-knit Muslim community under siege. In addition to the activist suspected of trying to finance the killing of the Saudi crown prince, another man with alleged ties to the community has been convicted of immigration fraud and has been indicted again for making false statements to the government. A team of Justice Department prosecutors in the eastern district of Virginia have said they are preparing additional charges against others in Herndon.
Members of the Herndon group are fighting back in court, and their main target is Mr. Kane. One of the Herndon figures has filed a civil lawsuit against the customs agent, accusing him personally of sparking a witch hunt based on erroneous information and deliberate falsehoods. Ms. Luque, who represents the Herndon group's leaders, says she has been told by the FBI that her clients aren't under investigation for terrorism and adds that her clients are loyal Americans.
Federal officials have barred Mr. Kane from commenting. Represented by lawyers from the Justice Department, he hasn't yet had to respond formally in court. The government has said in a statement that the raid in Herndon was "completely lawful."
The Customs Service, which in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks has become the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the Department of Homeland Security, has long specialized in untangling complicated monetary misdeeds. With his oblong eyeglasses and quiet manner, Mr. Kane more closely resembles a European college professor than a gun-toting federal agent. He is fluent in German and can hold his own in Italian.
Before joining the government in 1997, he did a stint in the mid-1990s as a financial planner for mostly middle-class customers. On the side, he earned a master's degree in international transactions from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., to complement his undergraduate degrees in German and public policy. He then followed in the footsteps of his father, a longtime customs official who analyzed intelligence on smuggling and other international crimes.
The younger Mr. Kane joined a customs squad in the Baltimore area, quickly earning a reputation in drug-related money-laundering cases for his sharp mind and extraordinary memory. "He just retains everything, almost to a fault," says Allen Doody, his supervisor at the time.
Mr. Kane's record includes an embarrassing flop. In 2000, a prosecution in which he was the lead investigator and main government witness fell apart. The federal-court jury quickly acquitted an immigrant from Ghana accused of illegally transmitting tens of thousands of dollars to Africa.
Then came Sept. 11. The well-financed international conspiracy behind the terrorist hijackings resulted in an urgent call from Washington for federal agents who speak foreign languages and understand global finance. Mr. Kane was drafted to join the investigation. Later, the Federal Bureau of Investigation pushed the customs agency aside to take the lead in the financial probe. But Mr. Kane, who had distinguished himself in mastering the relevant government files and identifying people the government needed to learn about, remained the lead agent in the Herndon case.
One of the most tantalizing pieces of the terror-finance puzzle, investigators and prosecutors discovered, was in their own backyard: the cluster of interlocking charities and businesses in Herndon that had popped up at the fringes of other terrorism probes going back to the mid-1990s. By December 2001, Mr. Kane and a newly formed squad of customs, Internal Revenue Service and FBI agents were closely scrutinizing the Virginia organizations, many of which had addresses listed in a small office building at 555 Grove St., Herndon.
What they found was a maze of corporations and nonprofits, ranging from the Child Development Foundation to an Islamic chicken processor called Mar-Jac Poultry Inc., which had operations in rural Georgia. Over time, many of the groups "dissolve and are replaced by other organizations under the control of the same group of individuals," Mr. Kane wrote in his March 2002 affidavit. He concluded that many were "paper organizations," designed to confuse any outsider who tried to sort them out.
Ms. Luque, the lawyer representing members of the Herndon group, says the firms have all been legitimate. Many have been short-lived because they were set up for particular real-estate deals, a common industry practice, she says. Other organizations are simply neighboring tenants, with no ties to her clients, she adds.
The government files Mr. Kane sifted, according to his later court statements, showed that the Herndon group had come under investigation in the mid-1990s for possible financial support of Palestinian terror groups. Those groups included Hamas, which is notorious for orchestrating suicide bombings aimed at Israeli citizens. In addition, the Herndon organizations came under scrutiny in 1998 when an employee of the Islamic institute delivered a satellite-phone battery to Osama bin Laden, government court filings state.
Other aspects of the institute's history also hint at why the Herndon group has been of such keen interest to Mr. Kane. Incorporated in the U.S. in 1980, the institute traces its conception to a meeting in 1977 of senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Lugano, Switzerland, investigators have discovered.
The Brotherhood was founded in the 1920s in Egypt to promote an Islamic revival. It quickly grew into a broad and sometimes violent movement opposing Western and secular influence in the Middle East. While it pushed social and political reform in some countries, the Brotherhood also spawned terrorist offshoots. These include Hamas and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which was merged into the al Qaeda network in 1998.
Ms. Luque acknowledges that some of her Herndon group clients have historical ties to the Brotherhood, but she says these men are all peaceful and supportive of democracy. The U.S. hasn't designated the Brotherhood itself as a terrorist group. "To the extent [the Brotherhood] embraces violence, it is rejected by these guys," Ms. Luque says.
But Mr. Kane and his colleagues allege they found links between the Herndon group and Hamas. Also raided in March 2002 was the nearby Falls Church, Va., home of Mr. Alamoudi, a top Muslim lobbyist and alleged Brotherhood leader who formerly worked for one of the Herndon entities. The search yielded a memo in Arabic on large transactions involving Hamas, operations against the Israelis, and the notation "Met Mousa Abu Marzook in Jordan." Mr. Marzook, 53, is a top Hamas leader, now thought to be in Syria.
Mr. Kane's filings in federal courts in Virginia and Georgia indicate that he pieced together disparate mentions of Mr. Marzook in sporadic U.S. investigations going back more than a decade. A seemingly perpetual college student, the Palestinian moved from city to city on an educational visa and had $3 million in the bank when he first came under scrutiny by customs agents in 1989, according to law-enforcement officials and government court filings. A Justice Department filing in 1995 said that another Hamas operative told Israeli investigators that Mr. Marzook came to the U.S. to round up people with expertise in "chemical materials, toxins, physics, military education and knowledge of computers."
Now under indictment in the U.S. on terrorism and fraud charges, Mr. Marzook surfaced in 1994 on Lebanese television to take credit on behalf of Hamas for a suicide attack on a pedestrian mall in Jerusalem. "Death is a goal to every Muslim," he said. Other evidence connected the Herndon group to another suspected Palestinian terrorist in Florida (_see chart_ (http://online.wsj.com/article_email/#CHART ) ).
The multiplying alleged connections to Palestinian terrorists and the Muslim Brotherhood led Mr. Kane to the south of Switzerland and a septuagenarian banker named Youssef Nada. A Brotherhood elder, Mr. Nada fled Egypt in the 1960s, after a crackdown on the banned movement. Mr. Kane journeyed to his mountainside villa near Lugano in June 2002.
Villa Nada is decorated with Arabic quotations from the Quran. In an airy sitting room overlooking shimmering Lake Lugano, Mr. Kane quizzed Mr. Nada about his long banking career and ties to the Herndon group. Mr. Nada has been barred from entering the U.S. since 1999 because of his alleged links to Hamas. In November 2001, the U.S. Treasury designated him as a banker for al Qaeda.
According to Mr. Nada, the federal agent questioned him politely, even though Mr. Nada concedes he became agitated at times. "I said to him, 'I am sorry I was talking to you loudly. I consider you a professional. You have a job to get done. It doesn't mean you are my enemy,' " Mr. Nada, 73, said in a subsequent interview with The Wall Street Journal. The financier said he had served as the Muslim Brotherhood's longtime foreign liaison and confirmed his ties to many of the Herndon group figures, but he denied any dealings with terrorist organizations, saying such groups pervert the Brotherhood's principles.
Back in the U.S. in the spring of 2003, Mr. Kane got a lucky break. Federal records show that the wife of a key figure in the investigation named Soliman Biheiri called local police to say that she feared that her husband, who had left the country following the big March 2002 raid, was planning to return and take their children back to the Middle East, against her will. Word of the call soon reached Mr. Kane. He and a colleague from the IRS paid a visit on the wife, Mahshid Biheiri.
Ms. Biheiri, who couldn't be reached for comment, described her husband's relationships with numerous alleged members of the Muslim Brotherhood, both from the Herndon group and abroad, according to a summary of the interview written by the agents. One of her husband's closest associates, she said, was Mr. Alamoudi, the American-Muslim lobbyist. Mr. Alamoudi was an investor in BMI Inc., a now-defunct real-estate investment firm run by Mr. Biheiri.
The firm, Mr. Kane found, had received millions of dollars in funding from Mr. Marzook, top Muslim Brotherhood figures in the Middle East and several Saudi bankers under investigation for possible involvement in terrorism (_see chart_ (http://online.wsj.com/article_email/#CHART) ). The FBI alleges BMI was used to channel funds to Hamas.
Mr. Alamoudi is the Muslim activist under investigation in an alleged plot to kill the Saudi crown prince. Prosecutors allege in court that he is "deeply connected" to some Herndon group leaders. So far, a federal grand jury has indicted Mr. Alamoudi on charges of illegal dealings with Libya, and he is in custody. He has pleaded not guilty.
A month after Ms. Biheiri first spoke to the federal agents, she called Mr. Kane back with another tip: Her husband Soliman was coming to Virginia, court records show. On June 15, 2003, Mr. Biheiri was ending a 20-hour trip from Cairo at Washington's Dulles International Airport when Mr. Kane and another agent plucked him from the immigration-and-customs line. Mr. Bihieri, 52, agreed to an interview. The five-hour interrogation showcased Mr. Kane's expertise, as he covered 56 prominent Muslim individuals, 17 Islamic-run corporations, nine Islamic banks, 13 Islamic charities, and tens of millions of dollars of investments, donations, and other transactions, according to a report written by the agents.
Mr. Biheiri, who has economics degrees from two Swiss universities, told the agents that he enjoyed longstanding ties to Muslim Brotherhood exiles from Egypt who since the early 1970s had built a network of banks and financial companies in Europe and the Middle East. These men also had frequent dealings with some of Saudi Arabia's wealthiest businessmen, he said. He dropped bits of trivia, such as the value of Brotherhood leader Youssef Nada's Swiss villa when it was bought in the 1970s. And agents later broke the encryption on Mr. Biheiri's laptop computer, revealing his alleged relationship with the Hamas leader Mr. Marzook.
Perhaps most significantly, Mr. Biheiri provided new information about the Brotherhood's connections to the list of Osama bin Laden's early financial backers. In March 2002, a raid by FBI agents and Bosnian police on an al Qaeda front group in Bosnia produced a list in Arabic from the late 1980s of early bin Laden supporters. Soon thereafter, a senior al Qaeda leader held by the Justice Department in New York confirmed the document's authenticity in an interview with the FBI, referring to it as the Golden Chain, U.S. government court filings say.
The trail has led to some powerful people in Saudi Arabia, one of the closest U.S. allies but also widely considered a wellspring of funding for terrorism. While the 9/11 commission said last week that there is no evidence the Saudi government funds al Qaeda, the terrorist network "found fertile fund-raising ground in the kingdom." The names on the Golden Chain list refer to some of Saudi Arabia's richest business families, including the billionaire Al Rajhi banking clan. But the family "denies any suggestion that it has ever supported terrorism," and the list is not evidence to the contrary, says Chris Curran, a lawyer for Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corp.
Thanks in part to Mr. Biheiri's interrogation, prosecutors say they are drawing up a broader set of charges against the other leaders of the Herndon group. But members of the Herndon group are fighting back.
Iqbal Unus, a Ph.D. nuclear physicist who has served on the boards of several Herndon Islamic organizations, has sued Mr. Kane in federal court in Alexandria, Va., over alleged infringement of privacy and other constitutional rights in connection with the March 2002 search of the Unus home. The suit also targets Rita Katz, a private terrorism researcher, who in a book last year wrote that she provided Mr. Kane with information about the Herndon group. Ms. Katz is an expert witness employed by Dow Jones & Co. in a libel suit against The Wall Street Journal Europe filed in London by the Al-Rajhi family, who the government alleges helped fund the Herndon group.
No member of the Unus family has been charged with any crime. The government has said the searches were done properly.
Ms. Luque, a partner in the law firm of Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich, filed the Unus suit and other challenges to the U.S. probe on behalf of the Herndon group. She has worked with a lawyer in rural northern Georgia on a civil suit against the government on behalf of the Herndon group's Islamic chicken operation there.
Ms. Luque says that Messrs. Marzook, Biheiri and Alamoudi aren't connected with her clients "in any way, shape, or form." The government plans to dispute that and will have a chance to elicit more information from Mr. Biheiri in coming months. After being convicted of immigration fraud in October, Mr. Biheiri, who is currently imprisoned, was indicted anew for allegedly lying to Mr. Kane during part of the Dulles airport interview. He has denied the charges. His lawyer, Danny Onorato, says, "After years of scrutiny, the government has not been able to prove that Mr. Biheiri was involved in any terrorist activities." One star witness at his upcoming trial could be Mr. Kane.
Roger Thurow in Zurich contributed to this article
MIM: Information on the Muslim Brotherhood terrorism financial network
Bankers, Brotherhood Leaders and Accused Terrorists
The Saudi-funded international Islamic network that the Justice Department is trying to unravel has three basic groups. The first is a collection of Muslim political organizers and businessmen in the U.S. Much of their funding comes from rich Saudi Arabian businessmen, some of whose names are on a purported list of Osama bin Laden supporters known as the Golden Chain. Linking these two groups are top leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe and the Persian Gulf.
Ran the American Muslim Council, a lobby group founded by a top Muslim Brotherhood figure. Mr. Alamoudi, who prosecutors say is also in the Brotherhood, is suspected in a plot to kill Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah and has alleged ties to Hamas.
A federal grand jury has indicted Mr. Alamoudi on charges of illegal dealings with Libya. He has pleaded not guilty.
An Egyptian banker who worked in the U.S. and founded an investment firm backed by wealthy Saudi businessmen called BMI Inc., which the FBI says may have been used to fund terror. David Kane claims Biheiri told him about the Muslim Brotherhood's financial network, admitted ties to alleged terror supporters Alamoudi, Marzook, Qadi, and Al-Arian, and said he first met the leaders of the Herndon group through a Brotherhood leader in 1985.
Is in prison for immigration fraud and is under U.S. indictment for lying about ties to Hamas leader Marzook.
Mousa Abu Marzook
Is the political director of Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization. A former U.S. college student, he now lives in Syria and was a major investor in BMI.
Is under U.S. indictment on charges of illegal dealings with Libya and violating other terrorism sanctions. He is listed by the U.S. as a terrorist.
Jamal Barzinji, Ahmed Totonji and Hisham Al-Talib
Leaders of the Herndon group, this trio of Iraqi immigrants founded the International Institute of Islamic Thought. They have longstanding ties to Youssef Nada of the Muslim Brotherhood and to Saudi businessmen involved in promoting Islam world-wide. Beginning in the 1960s and '70s, they helped found and run several top Saudi-backed U.S. Muslim groups.
Messrs. Barzinji, Al-Talib and Totonji are under federal investigation, but they deny ties to terrorism. Their lawyer says they are no longer close to the Saudis.
The alleged North American chief of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another terrorist organization, he allegedly had extensive relationships with the Herndon group and was in a Muslim youth group affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Is under indictment in Florida on terrorism charges, which he has denied.
MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD LEADERS
An Egyptian exile based in Switzerland who has served for decades as the longtime foreign liaison of the Brotherhood. He acknowledges longstanding ties to the U.S. Muslim organizers and the Saudi businessmen.
Listed by the U.S. Treasury as a banker for al Qaeda and Hamas -- charges he denies.
Gamal Al-Din Attia
Is an Egyptian scholar and senior Muslim Brotherhood figure currently living in Saudi Arabia. Now 77, he is a former adviser to the International Institute of Islamic Thought in Herndon and founded a bank in Europe allegedly linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. He taught with Youssef Qaradawi at the University of Qatar and is an associate of Youssef Nada. He is a relative of Soliman Biheiri -- who says it was Attia who encouraged him to come to the U.S. and start BMI.
Denies involvement in terrorism and says he left the Brotherhood decades ago.
An Egyptian-exile cleric based in Qatar, he is considered a spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestinian terror group Hamas. He invested in Youssef Nada's bank and is an associate of Mr. Biheiri.
Banned from the U.S. for alleged Hamas ties since November 1999 but denies supporting terrorism.
Suleiman Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Rajhi
Is the chairman of Al-Rajhi Banking & Investment Corp., the largest bank in Saudi Arabia. The al-Rajhi family allegedly helped fund the Herndon group and the al-Rajhi name appears on the Golden Chain. Youssef Nada endorsed Suleiman A. Al-Rajhi as a longtime personal associate in a 1983 letter.
A spokesman said Mr. al-Rajhi has made donations to humanitarian charities over the years, but "is not aware of any link between these charities and any terrorist activity." The bank has filed a libel suit against The Wall Street Journal Europe.
Saleh Abdullah Kamel
Saleh Abdullah Kamel
Another multi-billionaire heavily involved in promoting Islam, he is the chairman of the Dallah Al-Baraka banking conglomerate. He invested in BMI, and his name appears on the Golden Chain.
Says he has given heavily to Islamic charities and that name appears on Golden Chain list because he backed Afghan rebels during 1980s, when the U.S. also did. Denies supporting terror.
Is an expert on Islamic banking methods and ran a Muslim charity that the U.S. has labeled as a terrorist front. He invested millions of dollars in BMI and funded a Turkish firm run by senior al Qaeda figures. Has ties to Nada and Golden Chain businessmen but his own name isn't on Chain.
Is listed by the U.S. as a "global terrorist," which he denies and is fighting in court.
A man charged last week on immigration infractions and suspected by prosecutors of financial links to terrorism is seen by government investigators as a possible key to unraveling an alleged terrorism-financing network spanning from Virginia to the secretive kingdom of Liechtenstein.
Soliman Biheiri, a native of Egypt, was convicted in a federal court in Virginia on charges of lying on his citizenship application. It is the first conviction to be handed down in a major terrorism investigation involving a cluster of Islamic charities and companies in Virginia.
While such immigration charges typically carry prison sentences of less than six months, prosecutors have asked the court to deviate from its guidelines and jail Biheiri for up to 10 years because of his potential terrorist links.
Sources close to the investigation said prosecutors asked for the unusual sentencing because they think Biheiri, who was held as a material witness before his trial, has deep knowledge of the so-called SAAR network. The network, a group of Muslim charities and companies based in Virginia, is believed to have ties in two European tax havens, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
In an affidavit filed in support of Biheiri's detention, special agent David Kane accused him of possibly funneling $3.7 million from the Virginia charities to terrorists through his New Jersey-based real estate investment company, BMI.
Kane also alleged that he had business and personal relationships with Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzook, suspected Al Qaeda and Hamas backer Yassin Qadi and Sami Al-Arian, a Florida university professor indicted for his alleged leadership position in Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
At the hearing, Biheiri's lawyer James Clark acknowledged those connections but insisted there was no evidence his client was involved in terrorism.
Clark declined to comment on the case on the record with the Forward, other than confirming that the prosecution had asked the judge to deviate from standard sentencing guidelines. The judge is scheduled to hand down his decision on January 9.
The prosecution also alleged that Biheiri is linked to a secretive financial network in Switzerland and Liechtenstein called Al Taqwa, which American and European investigators say is a financial backer of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood, often depicted as the ideological parent of most radical Islamic groups, recently has come under government scrutiny for its possible direct role in supporting terrorism, most prominently because of Al Taqwa.
The Bush administration and the United Nations have designated the Al Taqwa network and its main officials — two self-avowed Muslim Brothers and an admitted Nazi sympathizer — as supporters of Al Qaeda. As a result, their assets have been frozen and they are the focus of a Swiss investigation.
The Al Taqwa officials have repeatedly rejected the charges.
At the Biheiri detention hearing last month, prosecutor Steven Ward described Biheiri as the Muslim Brotherhood's "financial toehold in the U.S."
The prosecution said it had established links between Biheiri and the two principals of Al Taqwa, Youssef Nada and Ghaleb Himmat.
According to testimony from special agent Kane of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the addresses of Nada and Himmat were found in Biheiri's laptop computer. Kane told the court that there were "other indications" of connections between al Taqwa and Biheiri's company BMI, including financial transactions.
At that point, the prosecutor prevented Kane from elaborating further, saying he was entering the realm of classified foreign intelligence, according to an account by the Wall Street Journal that was confirmed to the Forward by a source who requested anonymity.
One company in the Al Taqwa galaxy that was designated by the United States and the U.N. as a terrorist-related entity is a Liechtenstein entity called Asat Trust.
Its director, Martin Wachter, told the Forward this year that Asat Trust operates merely as a registry for businesses and is not involved in the operation of any company. He added that the American government had wrongfully designated Asat Trust as a terrorist-related entity because it had once represented Al Taqwa in a small real estate deal in Switzerland.
Still, copies of business registration documents on file with authorities in Liechtenstein show that Asat Trust has been intimately involved with the Al Taqwa network during the last 30 years, registering changes in company names, personnel and financial structure, which may explain why Asat Trust landed on the American and U.N. terrorist lists.
The records also shed light on the involvement of one member of the royal family of Liechtenstein in Asat Trust. According to the documents, deceased Prince Emanuel von und zu Liechtenstein became a board member of Asat Trust in May 1970 and stayed until November 1990, when he was replaced by Wachter, the trust's current director.
Florian Krenkel, a spokesman for the royal family, said Prince Emanuel had died in 1987 and that he was a distant cousin from ruling prince Hans Adam II.
"There are hundreds of family members and we don't know what they are all doing," he told the Forward in a phone interview from Vaduz, the capital of the tiny European kingdom. "But I can assure you that the royal family has no links to terrorism."
There also appears to be some links between Asat Trust and a bank owned by the Liechtenstein royal family. Several Asat Trust documents feature on their letterheads "Bank in Liechtenstein AG" beneath "Asat Trust."
The royal family bank has changed its name and is now called LGT bank.
A telephone and an e-mail query to the bank's spokesman Hans-Martin Uehringer went unreturned.
Biheiri's wife told federal agents in May 2002 that her husband had left the United States in mid-2002 to work for the "Liechtenstein bank" in Switzerland, according to the sworn testimony of special agent Kane.
Biheiri himself told Kane that his job at the bank consisted of "investment banking with high net worth clients and included significant travel between Egypt and Saudi Arabia," according to the affidavit.
Biheiri was familiar with Switzerland before moving to the United States in 1985. He earned a master's degree in economics from the University of Freiburg in Switzerland and worked for a Swiss bank, according to a transcript of a deposition he made at a separate trial.
Furthermore, in 1984 he set up and presided over an Islamic and Arab student group in Zurich, according to Swiss records obtained by the Forward. Biheiri dissolved the association in July 2002, the records show.
In March 1986, he founded BMI, a Secaucus, N.J.-based investment bank specializing in real estate investments, according to copies of New Jersey corporate records provided to the Forward by the Investigative project, a Washington-based terrorist watchdog specialized in Muslim groups.
Prosecutors contend that BMI and its affiliates received $3.7 million between 1992 and 1998 from the American branch of the International Islamic Relief Organization, or IIRO, which is located in the Virginia area where the SAAR network buildings were raided by federal agents in March 2002.
The IIRO is a major Saudi charity that has been suspected by the United States of links to Hamas, Gamaa Islamiya and Osama bin Laden at least since 1996, according to a copy of a CIA report from that year obtained by the Forward.
IIRO officials have consistently denied terrorist links.
Al Taqwa also appears to have some links to the SAAR network. Two operatives from SAAR-related companies and charities, Jamal Barzinji and Hisham al Talib, were board members of one of the network's companies in Liechtenstein during the mid-1970s, according to incorporation records.
Neither man has been indicted. They have rejected allegations, in the press and elsewhere, that they have supported terrorism, according to published news reports.
There are also indications that both Nada and Himmat, the Al Taqwa principals who today live in an Italian enclave bordering Switzerland and have acquired Italian citizenship, spent time in the United States in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
According to a translated copy of a 1996 Italian intelligence report, they each had three children born in the United States -—five of them born in Silver Spring, Md., between 1979 and 1984.
According to the Kane affidavit, Biheiri also had relations with a prominent Egyptian religious leader from the Muslim Brotherhood called Sheikh Youssouf Qaradawi. He acknowledged hosting him during when the sheikh visited America several years ago, according to the affidavit.
Now living in Qatar, Qaradawi has been barred from entering America since November 1999 because of his alleged support for terrorism. He has issued fatwas supporting suicide bombings in Israel and attacks on American troops in Iraq, according to documents produced by the prosecution at the Biheiri trial.
Qaradawi is listed as one of the shareholders of the Bahamas branch of Al Taqwa bank, according to a copy of a 1999 list of shareholders in possession of the Forward.
This branch shut down in April 2001. Press reports said the closure was the result of Jordanian, French and American intelligence reports which affirmed that Al Qaeda money coming from Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates had been channeled through Al Taqwa.
According to Swiss business records, the Al Taqwa network's main company in Switzerland followed suit and shut down at the end of 2001 following its designation as a terrorist-supporting entity by the United States and the U.N.
A 1995 Italian intelligence report contends that the Al Taqwa network funded radical groups in Algeria, Tunisia and Sudan and was a major backer of the Palestine Liberation Organization during the 1970s and, later on, Hamas.
American officials have charged that Al Taqwa also funneled money to Al Qaeda before and after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The two-year-old Swiss investigation has yet to produce to any indictments.
MIM: How Secure is the Department of Homeland Security?
The fith columnist Grover Norquist and jailed terrrorism suspect former AMC leader Abdelrahman Alamoudi . Faisal Gill had ties to Al Alamoudi which he allegedly failed to disclose to HS . Both were linked to the Muslim Brotherhood network.
Counterclockwise from left: Terrorism suspect Abdurahman Alamoudi, Faisal Gill, and his patron, Republican power broker Grover Norquist.
How secure is the Department of Homeland Security? Senior Homeland Security official Faisal Gill failed to disclose that he worked for an American Muslim leader now in jail on terrorism charges.
June 22, 2004 | WASHINGTON -- The policy director for the Department of Homeland Security's intelligence division was briefly removed from his job in March when the Federal Bureau of Investigation discovered he had failed to disclose his association with Abdurahman Alamoudi, a jailed American Muslim leader. Alamoudi was indicted last year on terrorism-related money-laundering charges and now claims to have been part of a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah.
After a flurry of interagency meetings, however, Homeland Security decided to leave the policy director, Faisal Gill, in place, according to two government officials with knowledge of the Alamoudi investigation. A White House political appointee with close ties to Republican power broker Grover Norquist and no apparent background in intelligence, Gill has access to top-secret information on the vulnerability of America's seaports, aviation facilities and nuclear power plants to terrorist attacks.
A document seized in a 1995 raid of a close Alamoudi friend and political ally, former University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian, outlined a plan to "infiltrate the sensitive intelligence agencies or the embassies in order to collect information and build close relationships with the people in charge of these establishments." The unsigned document, which authorities believe was authored by Al-Arian in part because it was found among his papers, added: "We are in the center which leads the conspiracy against our Islamic world ... Our presence in North America gives us a unique opportunity to monitor, explore and follow up." It instructed members of the "center," thought to refer to an Islamic think tank that Al-Arian founded, to "collect information from those relatives and friends who work in sensitive positions in government."
Al-Arian is in a Florida prison awaiting trial next year on charges he was the North American leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a group that has targeted Israel with suicide bombings. He denies all the charges. But investigators believe Al-Arian and Alamoudi were part of a broader political Islamic movement in the United States that connects sympathizers of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al-Qaida.
This movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, is the umbrella under which terror groups have forged "a significant degree of cooperation and coordination within our borders," former White House counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke told the Senate Banking Committee last year. "The common link here is the extremist Muslim Brotherhood -- all of these organizations are descendants of the membership and ideology of the Muslim Brothers." Alamoudi, for example, has spoken openly of his admiration for the anti-Israeli Hamas, which evolved from a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Arian's circle of associates, meanwhile, overlaps with members of the Brooklyn, N.Y., precursor to al-Qaida that was responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
The ties among Alamoudi, the Muslim Brotherhood and Gill help explain why officials are concerned about whether Gill was adequately vetted. These relationships are difficult to understand without immersion in the indictments, court transcripts and case exhibits; the concerned officials said they fear that busy political operatives in the administration simply do not grasp the national-security issues at stake.
"There's an overall denial in the administration that the agenda being pushed by Norquist might be a problem," one official said. "It's so absurd that a Grover Norquist person could even be close to something like this. That's really what's so insidious."
In 1999, a group of reformers ousted Alamoudi as AMC executive director amid questions about the group's opaque finances and mysterious Middle Eastern funding sources. Alamoudi took a position at the affiliated American Muslim Foundation but remained in control of the AMC through friendly board members, the reformers said. "I had concerns about the reluctance to reveal information about the finances. They said they're not doing well, that they needed more money, but I looked at their office [in Washington], and it was very big," said one of the would-be reformers, Ikram Khan, a surgeon in Las Vegas. Khan said he resigned from the AMC board when his friend, Nazir Khaja, a Pakistani-American physician from California who was trying to open the group's books, told him that Alamoudi was not cooperating. "I said, 'If this is the case, I cannot continue to serve in the group,' and I sent in my resignation letter," Khan said.
Then, last August, a man with a Libyan accent left a suitcase with $340,000 in cash for Alamoudi outside his hotel room in London, according to the October 2003 indictment of the American Muslim leader. Alamoudi was then arrested upon his return to the United States, the indictment said. The Alamoudi mystery deepened on June 10, when the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reported that he had told authorities he was part of an alleged plot by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah, the Saudi leader. Now, the U.S. Justice Department is examining whether Alamoudi was conspiring with a London group the Saudi government says is linked to Osama bin Laden.
"Who is Abdurahman Alamoudi? We really don't know," one of the concerned government officials said. "So how can we say there is not a problem with his former aide? He [Gill] has access to information about all our vulnerabilities -- aviation, ports. He knows what is protected and what is not."
Soon after the biggest calamity happened in 1924 with the collapse of the "Khilafa", and the declaration of war against all shapes of Islam in most of the Muslim countries, the Islamic "revival" entered into the movement phase in the middle east by establishing "Al-Ikhwan Al-Moslemoon" (Muslim Brotherhood) in Egypt, 1928 . Soon after that date, it began to have several branches outside Egypt . Al-Ikhwan, since that date, began to spread the principal Islamic idea : That Islam is "Creed and state, book and sword, and a way of life" . These principles were uncommon at that time even among many muslim "scholars" who believed that Islam is restricted within the walls of the mosque . The Ikhwan, after a few years, were banned and tortured in most of the Muslim countries . However, the "mother movement" kept growing and working. Its 1st leader and guide (murshid) _Hassan Al-Banna_ prefered "gathering men over gathering information in books" , and so he emphasized building the Ikhwanic organization and establishing its internal rules so that it would keep going, unaffected by his absence. And that's what happened after his shahada in 1949 in Cairo.
Al-Ikhwan has branches in over 70 countries all over the world. The movement is flexible enough to allow working under the "Ikhwan" name, under other names, or working according to every country's circumstances. However, all Ikhwan groups, in all countries are characterized by the following with respect to their method :
1- Following the Salaf: Rejecting any action or principle which contradicts the Quran or Sunna, and inviting people to nothing but them both.
2- Establishing the Sunna: Working -as much as possible- to spread the Sunna in every aspect of life.
3- Increasing the Iman: By concentrating on the purity of hearts, loving Muslims in the sake of Allah, and remembrance (plus being away of any Sufi mistakes).
4- Political Activism: By putting political programs for "Islamising" government in different countries (after realistic studies), and establishing these programs thru the convenient ways which do not conflict with Islam.
5- Stressing Physical Health: By forming sports clubs and committing members to regular exercises.
6- Enriching Scientific Study: By enhancing the knowledge of members and others about Islam. Members with "Shari'a" major have special study programs.
7- Establishing a Sound Economic Infrastructure: By supporting and/or sponsoring any Islamic project and facing its "fiqh" problems. By the way, the ONLY accepted source of money to the Ikhwan is its members' OWN money .
8- Fostering Social ties: By maintaining brotherhood links among the members of the Islamic society.
A huge tree of "sub-goals" branches from these main objectives which are derived from the Quran and the tradition of the prophet (pbuh) [3,4]:
1- Building the Muslim individual: brother or sister with a strong body, high manners, cultured thought, ability to earn, strong faith, correct worship, conscious of time, of benefit to others, organized, and self-struggling character .
2- Building the Muslim family: choosing a good wife (husband), educating children Islamicaly, and inviting other families.
3- Building the Muslim society (thru building individuals and families) and addressing the problems of the society realistically.
4- Building the Muslim state.
5- Building the Khilafa (basically a shape of unity between the Islamic states).
6- Mastering the world with Islam.
Objectives 1 to 4 are parallel and interlinked, and continuous even after reaching 4, 5 or 6.
Main methods of education (tarbiah):
The main (not the only) way of "building" is the Islamic education "tarbiah". Its methods are briefly:
1- Halaqa (a weekly unit study and practice meeting).
2- Katibah (a monthly several-units-meeting).
1 to 7 are for members, non-members, or both, with different established goals, schedules, and leaders .
Establishing the Islamic government:
Al-Ikhwan believe that ruling a government should be the step which follows preparing (most of) the society for accepting the Islamic laws. Otherwise, ruling a totally corrupt society thru a militant government-overthrow is a great risk . Preparing the society is achieved thru plans for: spreading the Islamic culture, the possible media means, mosques, and da'wa work in public organizations such as syndicates, parliaments, student unions, ... . Parallel to that, distinct muslims should be trained to administer political, economical, social, and student organizations efficiently (and Islamically), as another preparation step. Moreover, the Ikhwan don't demand the rule for themselves; they welcome any leader who wants to establish a TRUE Islamic government to have all the Ikhwanic support and help.
Some Achievements of Ikhwan
1. Liberating Muslim lands
Throughout their history, the ikhwan have had many accomplishments. However, their philosophy is that they prefer action and work over words and propaganda. The ikhwan have played and continue to play a major role in the struggle to liberate Muslims lands. The ikhwan's bravery in the 1948 Palestine war has been recorded by all sides. The total number of volunteers from the ikhwan in 1948 numbered 10,000 from Egypt, Syria and other countries. In addition to participating in the battle to liberate Palestine, they served to raise the consciousness of Muslims all over the Islamic World and restore to them the spirit of struggle and dignity. The ikhwan have played a role in liberating Muslim lands from colonialist powers in almost every Muslim country. The ikhwan were active amongst Muslims in Central Asian Muslim republics since the '70s, and their involvement can be seen recently in such republics as Tajikistan. More recently they had a major role in the struggle for Afghanistan and Kashmir.
2. Intellectual development
The school of Ikhwan counts amongst its graduates many of the thinkers, scholars and activitsts of this century. To list but a few :
* Hassan Al-Banna
* Sayyed Qutb
* AbdelQader 'Audah
* Mustapha al-Siba'yi
* Hassan al-Hudaybi
* Umar al-Tilmisani
* Yusuf al-Qaradhawi
* Sa'eed Hawwa
* Abdullah 'Azzam
* Muhammad Hamed Abul-Nasr
* Rached al-Ghannoushi
* Mahfouz al-Nahnah
* Muhammad Ahmad Al-Rashid
* Fathi Yakan
* Shaikh Abdul-Fattah Abu Ghuddah
* Shaikh Ahmad Yaseen
* Mustapha Mashhour
* Muneer al-Ghadban
* Shaikh Abdul-Majeed al-Zindanee
* Shaikh Syed Sabiq
* Shaikh Muhammad al-Ghazali,
.........and many others
The contributions of these thinkers, scholars and activists to Muslim thought existence in the twentieth century is well-known. Stemming from the notion that Islam is comprehensive for all areas of life, the thinkers and activists who have gone through the training of the ikhwan have branhced out to address as many areas of Muslim life as possible. Theories have been developed in areas of fiqh, finance & economics, political systems ....etc. This can be discussed in detail during the discussion period.
3. Development of Institutions
Beginning in the late 50s and early 60s and up till now, the Ikhwan contributed to establishing firm basis for Islamic communities in Europe and North America. This was done mainly through fostering the establishment of local community organizations, islamic schools, national associations, and special interest organizations ( Medical, Scientific, Cultural ...etc.)
The Ikhwan were the main motivators behind setting up experiments in Islamic financing on a nationally and internationally viable scale. The theory and practical requirements needed to set up an Islamic banking system came from amongst the ranks of the Ikhwan. From the earliest years, establishing an Islamic Economic system was a priority for the Ikhwan. Hassan al-Banna, Sayed Qutb, Yusuf al-Qaradhawi and numerous other scholars laid down some of the groundwork for practical theories of Islamic finance. Further specialized writers such as provided the practical basis for Islamic Financial Institutions, a number of which were developed in Muslim countries.
Allah is our objective.
The messenger is our leader.
Quran is our law.
Jihad is our way.
Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.
 "Diary of Da'wa and Dai'iah", Hassan Al-Banna.
 "Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimoon: Events That Made History", Mahmoud Abdel-Haleem.
 "The Messages of Al-Imam-u-shaheed", Hassan Al-Banna.
 "An introduction to the Da'wa of Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimoon", Saiid Hawwa.
 "Means of Education of Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimoon", Ali Abdel-Haleem.
Important Disclaimer : The maintainer of this page is not a member of Al-Ikhwan patry and does not approve or agree with everything they say. This page is there for the soul perpose of answering the questions you always had and never knew who to ask.
This page has no political perpose of any kind and no connection what so ever to any organization or institution.