Militant Islam Monitor > Weblog > Imams pulled off plane linked to Bin Laden
Imams pulled off plane linked to Bin Laden
November 22, 2006
The MSM has with some exceptions helped the Wahhabi backers of CAIR by portraying the story of six Muslims who were removed from a plane in Minneapolis from an Imam conference of the North American Imam Federation as being the victims of religious discrimination. The clerics, (which included Omar Shahin head of the Islamic Center of Tuscon who has been tied to Al Qaeda and Hamas (see below) were taken off the plane after passengers complained they were acting suspiciously, and had made anti American remarks. Instead of investigating the Imams for radical Islamist ties, the MSM obediently broadcast press conferences of CAIR officials threatening to sue, claiming that the Imams were targeted as innocent victims of gratuitous discrimination. In addition to having 4 of their employees and members in jail for terrorism related charges, including their former civil rights advisor and communications specialist Ismail Randall Royer, a member of the 'Virginia Paintball Jihad Network' who who is serving a 20 year sentence on weapons and explosives charges.
MIM: 11/28/06 Update: As predicted the Imams suspicious behaviour was an attempt to test the limits of security and their actions were orchestrated to bring about an arrest which would be presented as religious discrimination by previous arrangement. In addition to testing the reactions of passengers and crew, their calculated actions also lead to calls to dismantle profiling and other security measures.
"...Witnesses said three of the imams were praying loudly in the concourse and repeatedly shouted "Allah" when passengers were called for boarding US Airways Flight 300 to Phoenix.
MIM: The actions of the Imam were Pysops 'Jihad' techniques straight from the Islamist play book. Provoke an incident-cry discrimination- use the publicity to promote the messenge that any scrutiny of Muslims by security will be depicted as bias and result in legal action and boycotts.
(see CAIR: Moderate Friends of Terror " http://www.danielpipes.org/article/394
MIM: The Council on American Islamic Relations are are also named as defendants in a 9/11 terrorism lawsuit brought by the family of FBI Agent John O' Neill who was killed in the WTC attacks and charges that: "
86. Council on American Islamic Relations and CAIR Canada (collectively, CAIR), have aided, abetted, and materially sponsored and al Qaeda and international terrorism....
88. The role of CAIR and CAIR-Canada is to wage PSYOPS (psychological warfare) and disinformation activities on behalf of Whabbi-based [Wahhabi-based, DP] Islamic terrorists throughout North America. They are the intellectual "shock troops" of Islamic terrorism. In the years and months leading up to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 these organizations were very effective in helping to ensure that North American law enforcement and intelligence officials were sufficiently deaf, dumb, and blind to help pave the way for the attacks on the United States. The role played by these entities is an absolutely essential part of the mix of forces arrayed against the United States as they help soften-up targeted countries so as to facilitate and enhance the likelihood for a successful attack..."http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/394
MIM: True to PYSOPS template - CAIR immediately demanded government hearings on airline security measures in the wake of this likely staged incident.
Contact: Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR, 202-488-8787; 202-744-7726 or [email protected]
WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called for congressional hearings on religious and ethnic profiling at airports after six Imams, or Muslim religious leaders, were removed from a domestic flight yesterday in Minnesota. http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=76678
MIM: No better example of CAIR's and other groups attempts to 'soften up' targetted countries can be found the choreographed incident -which included a press release prepared even before the Imams were removed from the plane and a visit to the ticket counter by CAIR affiliate Imam Omar Shahin with an entourage of reporters when he attempted to buy a new ticket knowing he would be refused. Apparently the Imams tried a new tactic and refused to leave the plane -taking a page from the old civil rights playbook. One anchor compared the Imams to Rosa Parks - not surprising in light of the fact that Saudi funded Hamas front group CAIR refers to themselves at the "Muslim NAACP".
Omar Shahin, 40, is the Imam and director of the Islamic Center of Tucson, located at 901 E. First St., next to the UA. He's lived in Tucson for three years. A native of Jordan, he also serves as the president of the UA's University Religious Council.www.tucsonweekly.com/.../
MIM: A Google of Imam Omar Shahin reveals that he is the Imam of a mosque whose former director Wael Hamza Julaidan the logistics director of Bin Laden. Note surpisingly Shahin has also defended funding of Al Qaeda and is presently the youth director of the Muslim Boys Youth Group of the Islamic Center of Tucson of which his son is also a member. http://www.ictucson.com/youth/4.htm
MIM: A bio from the Texas Da'wa (Islamic propagation aka Jihad through conversion) conference states that Shahin 'was a fundraiser for 'various organisations'.
Br. Omar Shahin
MIM: Besides fundraising for terrorists Imam Shahin also raises money for political candidates and has formed the Arizona Muslim Political Action Committee and seems to have a problem with hseparating church and state both in airplanes and on the ground, according to the writer of the blog "Classical Values":
MIM: On the Youth group forum for the Islamic Center of Tucson Imam Omar Shahin posted this 'Reminder' to his 'dear brothers and sisters' that the purpose of this life is to prepare themselves to stand in front of Allah'.
MIM:Jihad Watch has points out how The Council on American Islamic Relations is spinning the story as one of discrimination instead of a routine security concern caused by unusual behaviour in public.
A video of Imam Shahin intimidating and bullying a US Airways clerk, who told him he could not buy a ticket showed one cynically declaring that ‘We are America (sic) we are being discriminated against' with Imam Shahin warning ominously that that this will not be the last of the incident declaring ‘I will never allow ignorance to destroymy beloved America" .(Watch how one of the men was treated at a US Airways desk )
MIM: According to one new accounts:
What the press failed to note is that radical Islamist Imam Omar Shahin declared that he does expect America to become an Islamist country, and found that non Muslim airline personeel and the public had not deferred appropriately to accomodate and show their appreciation for public manifestations of Islamic observance. (The act of praying in public is a form of cultural Jihad, aimed at forcing Americans to take note of Muslims and get used to seeing Islam practiced in all public places as a foretaste of what it will be like in 'The United States of Allah'.
According to a news report Shahin, who believes Americans should live under shari'a.
'Expressed frusturation that may Americans no so little about Islam -despite extensive efforts by him and othere Muslim leaders since even before the terrorist attacks of September 11,2001. MIM: Shahin's arrogantly asserted that Americans should know about Islam - and revealed his intent to continue waging cultural Jihad to get the desired 'submission' on the part of Americans " If up to now that dont know about prayers this is a real problem".
MIM: Shahin's disdain and contempt for America was evident when he justified The Islamic Center of Tucson's fundraising activities for Al Qaeda, no surpise since the former leader Wael Hamza Julaidan, is also the director of logistical planning for Bin Laden.
. "Osama bin Laden was made in America. Our government was sponsoring and supporting him. We are following our government."
Excerpt from American Muslim non profits face scrutiny in the West (complete text below)
MIM: Note the Islamic Center of Tucson website tells a different story about the dates and funding of the mosque funding of the mosque then the article below.
Ejected imam linked to Hamas, bin Laden
Posted: November 21, 2006
One of six Muslim imams pulled from a US Airways flight in Minneapolis last night by federal authorities is affiliated with a Hamas-linked organization and acknowledged a connection to Osama bin Laden in the 1990s.
Omar Shahin, who served as a spokesman for the clerics, is a representative of the Kind Hearts Organization, which had its assets frozen by the U.S. Treasury pending an investigation, notes Islam scholar Robert Spencer on his weblog JihadWatch
Treasury spokesman Stuart Levey in February said KindHearts "is the progeny of Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, which attempted to mask their support for terrorism behind the façade of charitable giving."
The imams had attended a conference in Minneapolis of the North American Imams Federation, said Shahin, who is president of the group.
"They took us off the plane, humiliated us in a very disrespectful way," Shahin said after the incident last night.
Today, Shahin called for Muslims and non-Muslims to boycott US Airways unless the company changes its policy.
"They know what they have to do, they have to be fair and just with everybody," he said.
The Washington, D.C., based lobby group Council on American-Islamic Relations planned to file a complaint, said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.
"Because, unfortunately, this is a growing problem of singling out Muslims or people perceived to be Muslims at airports, and it's one that we've been addressing for some time," Hooper said.
CAIR, however, has its own ties to Hamas, having been identified by two former FBI counter-terrorism chiefs as a spinoff of a front group for the Palestinian terrorist organization.
A Sept. 28, 2001, story in the Arizona Republic that said Arizona appears to have been the home of an al-Qaida sleeper cell, named Shahin as one of three part-time Arizona residents who "fits the pattern" of the terrorist group.
Shahin, identifed as being with the Tucson Islamic Center, said members of his mosque may have helped bin Laden in the early 1990s when the al-Qaida leader was fighting against the Russians.
The CIA at that time, Shahin said, called bin Laden a "freedom fighter."
"Then they tell us he is involved in terrorist acts, and they stopped supporting him, and we stopped," he said.
In the story, Shahin expressed doubt that Muslims were responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks and said he "didn't trust much of what the FBI has divulged - including the hijackers' identities."
As for Al-Qaida nests in America, Shahin said, "All of these, they make it up."
Witnesses to the imam's explusion last night said some of them made anti-American comments about the war in Iraq before boarding the flight, according to Minneapolis airport spokesman Patrick Hogan.
Also, some of the men asked for seat belt extensions even though a flight attendant thought they didn't need them.
"There were a number of things that gave the flight crew pause," Hogan said.
Shahin claimed three members of the group prayed in the terminal before the six boarded the plane. Last night, however, he said they had prayed on the plane.
The imams boarded the plane individually, Shahin said, except for a blind member who needed assistance. They didn't sit together and "did nothing," he contended. http://www.discoverthenetwork.org/Articles/Ejected%20imam%20linked%20to%20Hamas%20bin%20Laden.html
MIM: The Constitution of the Islamic Center of Tuscon was adopted in 1989 but some reports on the center claim it 'was started by students in 1997'. The OCT is a Saudi funded 'satellite' of the North American Islamist Trust (a group which owns 80% of the mosque in North American and propagates Wahhabist (fundamentalist) Islam aimed at converting people by da'wa (Jihad of the tongue). The OCT's radical Islamist agenda is to "Propagate Islam among Muslims and non Muslims" i.e.bring Muslims towards a strict observence of shari'a and make non Muslims submit by converting to Islam.
MIM: The Imams who were taken off the plane for provoking a situation which would cause anxiety among the passengers and lead to demands that Islam be accomodated in airports and by airlines were returning from a conference of a group called the North American Imam Federation ak Imams of America whose goal is to turn American into the United States of Allah by forcing acceptance and implementation of shari'a in North America. The group's name and mission statement indicates that they foresee themselves as the future Islamist leaders of all of North America.
"....NAIF is committed to and focuses on supporting Imams in their sacred loftiest mission, namely calling people to the way of Allah and encouraging them to observe the Islamic acts of worship..."
"...NAIF looks forward to the day when all Imams become certified and give their sermons in English..."
Among the terror linked Imams belonging to the group are Omar Shahin whose Islamic Center of Tucson was directed by Bin Laden's logistics head Wael Julaidan, a co founder of Al Qaeda. Another terror linked member is Siraj Wahhaj who is an unindicted co conspirator of the 1993 WTC bombings.
Click here for information about the conference:
MIM: Bio info on Imam Muwafaq Al - Ghalaieni aka Imam Al Ghalayini aka Muhammed Muwaffak Abd Allah Al Ghaylany from the Shifa Foundation website, another da'wa organisation whose stated mission is "the establishment of our intellectual heritage (Islam) here in North America while invigorating the noble aspects of Western civilisation.
MIM: Imam Waleed Edrees aka Sheik Walid Ben Edris Al Minisy is a member of the North American Imam Federation and also on the board of the Muslim Jurists of the Assembly of Muslim jurists of North America (AMJA) whose recent conference in CAIRO highlighted their radical Islamist agenda with a discussion of 'political participation of Muslims in Western Societies' indicating that Muslims only recognise the rule of Allah, but see politcal involvement as a means of furthering and imposing their Islamist agenda. The recent election of Keith Ellison to Congress, whose supporters shouted Allahu Akhbar at his acceptance speech in Minnesota is a case in point.
CONSTITUTION OF THE ISLAMIC CENTER OF TUCSON, Inc. (ICT)
Praise be to Allah (God), the Lord of the worlds, and Peace and Blessing of Allah be upon His messenger Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, his family, his companions and his sincere followers.
This constitution was adopted on April 1, 1989, revised on October 1, 1999 and on April 7, 2000.
ARTICLE I: NAME, NATURE, AND AFFILIATION
Section 1: Name
This organization is called the Islamic Center Tucson; Incorporation hereinafter referred to as the ICT.
Section 2: Nature
This organization is dedicated to Allah, and its goal to please Him in accordance with the Qur'an and Sunnah. It shall be a center for the people of Sunnah and Jama'ah. Wherever the word Muslims comes hereinafter, its meaning is the People of Sunnah and Jama'ah.
Section 3: Affiliation
This organization shall establish and maintain continuous affiliation with Al- Huda Islamic School and with the Islamic Society of North America, hereinafter referred to as ISNA. currently headquartered in Plainfield, Indiana.
ARTICLE II: AIMS AND PURPOSES
The aims and purposes of the ICT are to (gain the pleasure of Allah) serve the best interests of Islam and the Muslims in the Tucson metropolitan area, but not limited to, southeast Arizona counties enabling them to practice Islam as a complete way of life. Toward this end, the ICT shall, in cooperation with ISNA:
Help the Muslims of southeastern Arizona area carry out Islamic programs and projects in accordance with guidelines of the Qur'an and Sunnah.
Assist Muslims in organizing themselves for the entire spectrum of Islamic activities
including, but not limited to, social, cultural, religious, and educational activities.
Strengthen fraternal bonds and brotherly relations among Muslims.
Mobilize and coordinate human and material resources in Muslim communities.
Real estate purchased and donated to the ICT shall be held as a religious endowment (waqf), in accordance with the Trust Agreement, a copy of which is attached hereto. The North American Islamic Trust (hereinafter referred to as NAIT) shall act as a trustee, and the ICT shall be the beneficiary, pursuant to the terms of the Trust Agreement.
The ICT shall maintain an office on the premises of the Center. The Muslim Student's Association, Tucson Chapter, Arizona (hereinafter referred to as MSA) and the Muslim Arab Youth Association (hereinafter referred to as MAYA) have the right to maintain their offices on the premises of the Center. Given that MSA and MAYA are required to abide by the rules and articles of this constitution while on the grounds of the ICT or its premises. The ICT welcomes any cooperation or action with the MSA and/or MAYA in any Islamic Service or cultural activity, in accordance with the teachings of Islam as in the Qur'an and Sunnah and the Constitution of the ICT.
ARTICLE III: MEMBERSHIP
All Muslim living in the southeast of Arizona with generally acceptable practices, and sound Islamic beliefs as in the Qur'an and Sunnah, and who are in good standing within the Muslim community and who are 17 years of age or older, and who accept the general policies of the ICT will be qualified for membership. Acceptance of membership shall constitute the member's agreement to strictly abide by and support the goals, objectives, constitution, rules and regulations of the ICT.
Application for membership shall be accepted throughout the year. The following steps must be taken by the secretary of the Executive Committee to meet the requirement of new voting membership in the ICT:
A. Completion of an ICT membership application form.
A. Payment of an application fee in an amount equal to membership dues. In the event the application is accepted, the application fee shall be credited toward membership dues.
B. Not to be a member of any group, club, or organization that is known to have enmity toward Islam or Muslims.
C. Approval by the Board of Trustees (See Article IV) based on "A" through "C" above and Section 1 of this article.
There shall be two classes of members: Voting Members and Non-Voting Members. Voting Members are those members whose membership exceeds four months. Non-Voting members are those members who have been admitted to membership within the last four months. For all purposes, the date of acceptance of the member's application by the Board of Trustees shall serve as the anniversary date of a member. The board shall have no longer than two weeks to answer the application.
The amount of the membership fee shall be determined by the Board of Trustees (See Article VI) and shall be collected on an annual basis. It shall be the responsibility of the ICT to notify members when fees are due. The Board may grant fee waivers, for people who cannot pay. The Board shall not increase the membership fee amount more than 20% per year without the approval of the Assembly (See Article V).
All the voting members will constitute the General Assembly of the ICT.
The Board (See Article VI) may suspend the voting of any member who has failed to pay the membership dues after fourteen calendar days of notifying him /her at his/her known address of the possibility of suspension. The suspended member can reapply after a period of at least four months of the date of suspension.
By majority, the Board (See Article VI) may suspend or cancel the membership of any member, according to the recommendation of the Executive Committee, if they find that such member is in violation of Islamic principles or the rules and regulation of the ICT, or is involved in activities that harm or misrepresent Islam and /or the ICT.
An appeal for suspension or rejection will be in writing and submitted within fourteen calendar days from his/her notification date to the Secretary of the Board of Trustees to be discussed with the presence of the Imam.
ARTICLE IV: ORGANIZATION STRUCTURE
The ICT shall have the following structure:
1. The General Assembly
1. The Board of Trustees
3. Executive Committee:
A. President to be elected.
B. Eight non-paid committee members to be elected: Treasurer; MSA representative; Da'awa coordinator; Social Affairs coordinator; Public Relations coordinator; Education & Youth coordinator; Maintenance and Cemetery coordinator; and Prison program coordinator. Each member would establish his own subcommittee after consultation with the Executive Committee.
C. The Executive Committee will elect a vice president and a secretary among themselves in their first meeting after election.
In case of hiring an Imam/director, he will be President of the Executive Committee, and the current president will serve as the Vice President until the end of his due term. If the Imam is not the Director, he will be a member of the Executive Committee.
In case of the existence of a hired Imam/director at the time of the election for the next due term, there will be no presidential election.
None of the above organs has the power to violate the Shari'ah (the commands of Almighty Allah and His messenger (PBUH)).
By LISA GETTER,CHUCK NEUBAUER and ROBERT J. LOPEZ, November 4, 2001 L.A.Times
From Boston to Burbank, federal authorities are intensifying their scrutiny of Islamic American nonprofits as possible sources of funding for Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. In a recent confidential letter to state charity officials, the U.S. Treasury Department sought financial records on eight Islamic American groups, including some of the largest Muslim charities in the United States. The inquiry is the first examination of domestic nonprofits to come to light since U.S. authorities launched a global anti-terrorism initiative in response to the Sept. 11 attacks linked to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network.
Treasury has pressured banks across the world to freeze the assets of 66 individuals and organizations with suspected ties to terrorism, including several overseas charities. Bush administration officials now believe that money raised by American charities has also ended up financing Bin Laden's network. "There's significant fund-raising taking place in the United States right in front of our noses," an administration official said.
Investigators are looking for Al Qaeda connections in a wide range of nonprofits--from a multimillion-dollar relief agency that received money from an alleged Bin Laden front organization to an obscure Islamic center once headed by a man now identified as Bin Laden's chief of logistics. Evidence appears to be emerging that shows links between Al Qaeda and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group. The Bush administration added Hamas and 21 other terrorist groups to its broad financial dragnet Friday. Charities tied to Hamas have been under investigation in the U.S. for years.
The confidential Treasury letter names two charities that the State Department removed last year from its international aid program. Citing classified evidence, the department refused to explain in detail the reasons for its decision. In letters to the charities, it said only that funding them would be "contrary to the national defense and foreign policy interests of the United States." The State Department ruling did not prevent the groups from raising money in the U.S. or shipping it overseas. The two charities--the Islamic American Relief Agency in Missouri and the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development in Texas--collected nearly $16 million in contributions last year.
Representatives of those and other groups say they do not finance or support terrorism. Some of the officers said they had nothing to hide and welcomed federal scrutiny, while others said the Treasury investigation reeked of "McCarthy-era treatment." Each of the eight nonprofits under scrutiny has condemned the Sept. 11 attacks. The six that are formally registered as charities are soliciting funds for the victims on their Web sites.
Experts say it will be difficult to determine with certainty whether any of the millions of dollars sent overseas by U.S.-based charities winds up in the hands of terrorists--or if it does, whether the groups had knowledge of its illicit use. Past investigations have yielded little solid evidence. "Often you'll find there are rotten veins in charities that also do good work," said Daniel Benjamin, who served on the National Security Council in the Clinton administration and is a terrorism expert.
In March, the Justice Department charged seven Iranian immigrants in Los Angeles with funneling more than $1 million to the Moujahedeen Khalq, a group committed to the overthrow of Iran's Islamic government. The U.S. has designated the Moujahedeen Khalq a terrorist organization. The FBI alleges that most of the money was collected at Los Angeles International Airport in the name of the Committee for Human Rights in Iran. The money was supposedly going to Iranian refugees overseas, but the FBI said it traced the funds to bank accounts in Turkey controlled by the terrorist group. The defendants have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.
Many Islamic charities and religious organizations within the United States contribute to each other. Then the money goes overseas as humanitarian relief, where accountability is scarce. Most foreign countries, unlike the U.S., do not require nonprofits to file annual statements on their fund-raising and expenditures--although Kuwait recently said it would tighten its regulation of charities to make sure the money does not go to terrorists. "It's very difficult because there are a mixture of funds," said Oliver "Buck" Revell, a former FBI associate deputy director who now researches terrorist groups. "Some of these organizations are pure fronts, but there are others that are obviously involved in legitimate humanitarian needs."
Legislation Has Been Seldom Used
A 1996 anti-terrorism law made it a crime to support any group designated a terrorist by the U.S., but prosecutions have been rare. Grand juries in Illinois, New York and Texas have spent several years investigating several Islamic nonprofits and their links to Hamas. The only indictments issued so far have been for refusing to testify. The U.S. government has turned more often to measures that require a lower standard of proof than criminal prosecution, such as the State Department designations and asset seizures by the Treasury Department.
In addition to the two groups already barred from the State Department aid program, the Treasury letter sought information on Islamic Relief Worldwide in Burbank; the Islamic Center in Tucson; Care International Inc. of Boston; and the Global Relief Foundation, Benevolence International Foundation and the Islamic Assn. for Palestine, all based in Illinois. Treasury officials say they are investigating other groups and individuals who may be added to their list of suspected terrorists, but declined to name them. Treasury is relying on information from the FBI, CIA, State Department and foreign governments, as well as from its own search of bank records, public filings and even Web sites.
Israel, Canada, Britain and other countries have found evidence that Islamic charities are funneling money to terrorists. The Treasury memo about the U.S. nonprofits was sent after Sept. 11 to the National Assn. of State Charity Officials. The association disseminated it to members, who as state charity regulators keep files of nonprofits that often include income tax returns, state incorporation records and audits.
Treasury officials would not say why the eight nonprofits were singled out. But a review of hundreds of pages of tax returns, incorporation documents and court records, as well as interviews with experts and officials from the organizations revealed hints of relationships that may have stirred investigators' suspicions.
The Islamic Center in Tucson was once headed by Wa'el Hamza Jalaidan, who Treasury officials say is now Bin Laden's chief of logistics. The center was founded in 1971 by students at the University of Arizona. Its new $1.5-million mosque was funded in part by the Saudi government, said Omar Shahin, the center's imam, or spiritual leader. Jalaidan was president of the Tucson center from 1984-85, state incorporation records show. "As far as I remember, he never mentioned Osama bin Laden," said Rehmatullah Mir, who served on the center's board with Jalaidan and remains an officer. Mir, who would answer questions from The Times only in writing, said he doesn't know when Jalaidan left Arizona or where he went.
U.S. authorities believe Jalaidan was one of the founders of Al Qaeda, which was created in the late 1980s. Some other people who would later become Bin Laden's key lieutenants also spent time at the Islamic Center in the 1980s. Wadih El-Hage, Bin Laden's personal secretary, was a member of the center when he lived in Arizona in the 1980s. Mir said he could "barely recall" El-Hage. Two weeks ago, a federal judge in New York sentenced El-Hage to life in prison for helping plan the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa. Ghassan Dahduli was another member of the mosque in the 1980s. He studied landscape architecture at the University of Arizona from 1984-87.
More recently, Dahduli was picked up on immigration violations in Texas as part of the large U.S. sweep of suspects after the Sept. 11 attacks. He remains in custody. He was listed in El-Hage's phone book, found by investigations after the 1998 embassy bombings. Dahduli's attorney dismissed the entry as the result of a brief encounter at a Dallas restaurant when El-Hage recognized Dahduli from Arizona. Shahin said that members of the mosque raised money for Bin Laden in the 1980s when Bin Laden was fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, a cause supported by the U.S. "Our government, America, used to support Bin Laden," Shahin said. "Osama bin Laden was made in America. Our government was sponsoring and supporting him. We are following our government."
Shahin, like representatives of the other nonprofits, said he was unaware Treasury was gathering information about the center. "We have no problem supplying what they ask for," he said. He said the Tucson center has hosted conferences for the Islamic Assn. for Palestine, another group now under Treasury scrutiny. The center has also raised money for Holy Land, the Texas charity barred from the State Department aid program.
Holy Land first attracted federal attention because of a $210,000 contribution it received in 1992 from Mousa Abu Marzook, political leader of Hamas. Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement in the West Bank and Gaza, was designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization in 1995. Marzook, 50, was born in Gaza, studied engineering in the United States and left for Jordan in 1991, when he became active in Hamas. Israeli authorities say he planned and financed suicide bombings and ambushes of Israeli troops. He is now believed to be living in Syria.
Holy Land president Shukri Abu Baker said Marzook made the donation to the charity before he was designated a terrorist by U.S. authorities in 1995. "The foundation cannot police its incoming donations," Baker said. "We can enforce our charitable values on the way it disperses the funds. That's the challenge, in how we disperse the funds." The charity, which is based in Texas and has branches in New York, Illinois, New Jersey, California and Florida, raised $13 million in 2000. It says that most of its money goes for clothing, food and medicine for Palestinian refugees. Baker said he gave little weight to the State Department's decision to remove the charity from its aid program. He said it was an attempt by the Clinton administration to curry favor with Israel, which has linked the charity to Hamas. "We are a charity," Baker said. "We're not in a position to fight political wars against anyone."
Families of Attackers Are Provided For
Some of the foundation's money goes to widows and children of Hamas members killed in attacks on Israel. Its lawyer wrote the State Department last year that such aid was provided based on financial need "without any political test" and that the recipients represented a "negligible percentage of those receiving assistance." Baker said Holy Land has "not been contacted by any government agency, not in the past, not at this point. When people say we've been under investigation, I don't know what they're talking about." But in a 1999 court filing, the State Department said there was "an ongoing law enforcement investigation" of the charity and its relationship to Hamas. It said that foreign governments were providing U.S. authorities "with specific information about Hamas fund-raising activities in the United States that support terrorism."
Several weeks ago, two FBI agents interviewed Riam Abdelkarim, an Anaheim physician who joined Holy Land's board of directors this year. He said the two agents wanted to know how long he had been with the organization and what work he had done for it. He said he told the agents he did volunteer medical work, helping needy families on the West Bank and Gaza. "They basically said that the perception and the concerns of the intelligence community is that Holy Land was affiliated with terrorists," Abdelkarim said, adding that he thought the charity had done nothing wrong.
Another group with ties to Marzook is the Islamic Assn. for Palestine, which has offices in Illinois and Texas. Marzook was a member of its advisory board and served as chairman from 1988-90, court records state. The association describes itself as a "not of profit organization dedicated to disseminating information and promoting discussion of the Israeli-Palestine conflict." Revell, the former FBI official, said that the association distributes videos that show youths slinging weapons in paramilitary training camps, and that its pamphlets contain statements supporting armed jihad against Israel and its supporters.
Rafeeq Jaber, the association's president, blames "Zionist propaganda" for the group's problems. Jaber acknowledged raising funds to help Marzook fight extradition from the U.S. in 1995 but said he viewed Marzook as a politician, not a terrorist. "There is nothing illegal about being in politics," Jaber said. He conceded that the group has published Hamas documents, including the charter that calls for a jihad against Jews, but he said that was not the same as endorsing the group.
Dahduli, the Texas man now detained on immigration violations, had been an officer of the association. His attorney, Karen Pennington, said he resigned in January. Both Dahduli and the Islamic Assn. for Palestine have connections to InfoCom, a Texas Internet company run by Palestinian immigrants. InfoCom's offices were raided by terrorism investigators days before the Sept. 11 attacks. An FBI affidavit citing the basis for the raid has been sealed. Dahduli worked at InfoCom, though it is not clear in what capacity. He said in a resume posted on the Internet that he did computer work for the firm.
But the firm's lawyer said he had been hired as a caterer. InfoCom manages the Web sites of four of the U.S.-based groups under investigation by the Treasury Department. After the Sept. 5 raid on InfoCom's offices, the Commerce Department suspended the company's export privileges, saying it had illegally sent computer technology to Libya and Sudan. Marzook's wife, a relative of Holy Land's chairman, Ghasan Elashi, invested $250,000 in InfoCom in 1992. She gets a monthly annuity from the company. Elashi also is an InfoCom vice president. The firm's offices are across the street from Holy Land's. Arch McColl, InfoCom's lawyer, said the company is "a bunch of nerd-birds who wanted to make some entrepreneurial money." He said he knew of no evidence that InfoCom had funneled money to Hamas.
In Boston, Treasury officials are interested in Care International, which describes itself as a relief organization for "war refugees around the Muslim world." Care International, which is not related to the Atlanta-based relief and development agency CARE, is listed on state incorporation records the same address as the Al-Kifah Refugee Center, a branch of a Bin Laden charity in Pakistan whose assets were frozen by the Treasury Department in September. The address is a Mail Boxes Etc. box. Care officials say they do not know of a connection between their organization and Al-Kifah. Care International gave more than $180,000 over the last five years to Global Relief Foundation of Illinois, another charity under scrutiny by Treasury. Global Relief, which reported $5.2 million in contributions last year, says its money goes for humanitarian efforts in places like Afghanistan and to Palestinian refugees. "We would just close up shop if we suspected our money would be used for bad things," said Asim Ghafoor, a spokesman for both charities.
Checking Out Any Links to Bin Laden
In Burbank, investigators are looking at Islamic Relief Worldwide, a charity whose British office received $50,000 in 1999 from a Canadian group that the Treasury Department says is a Bin Laden front. The president of Islamic Relief said he was unaware that the Canadian charity, Human Concern International, had any links to terrorism. "I would be more concerned if we gave them money," said Ahmad Al-Bendary. "We would never give to any group that has any terrorist connections."
Another of the eight charities under scrutiny--Benevolence International Foundation in Chicago--received $14,000 from the Canadian group last year. Benevolence said it did not know about the contribution. The group said in a statement that its "humanitarian work throughout the world is transparent and a matter of public record." Juliette Kayyem, a terrorism expert at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, said the specter of Sept. 11 will make Islamic charities ask more questions about how their money is used. She said many Islamic groups have refrained from questioning where their money went once it was sent overseas, for fear that foreign governments might respond by barring them from serving needy people in those countries. Dr. Ali Zaki said he learned the hard way to ask questions.
The San Francisco doctor said he unwittingly took Ayman Al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian doctor now considered Bin Laden's second-in-command, on a fund-raising tour of California mosques about 10 years ago. Al-Zawahiri, a physician, said that his name was Abdel Muez and that he was working with the Kuwaiti Red Crescent, the Islamic equivalent of the Red Cross, to help Afghans fighting the Soviets. Zaki said he didn't learn until the FBI questioned him, years later, that his companion was actually Al-Zawahiri and that the money probably helped fund terrorist activity overseas. "I'm concerned about the Muslim community at large," Zaki said. "I'm concerned about anyone who donates to good causes." Getter reported from Washington, Neubauer from Chicago and Lopez from Los Angeles. Times staff writers Teresa Watanabe, Mark Fineman, Matt Lait, Scott Glover, and researchers Robert Patrick and Janet Lundblad also contributed to this report. http://www.imadr.org/regional/american-arab2.html
DHS office of civil rights opens review of 'flying while Muslim' incident
11/21/2006 4:15:00 PM
To: National Desk
Contact: Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR, 202-488-8787; 202-744-7726 or [email protected]
WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called for congressional hearings on religious and ethnic profiling at airports after six Imams, or Muslim religious leaders, were removed from a domestic flight yesterday in Minnesota.
The Imams were taken off a US Airways flight at Minneapolis- St. Paul International Airport Monday night because of alleged "suspicious activity." The Imams, who were handcuffed and questioned for several hours by authorities before being released, told the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) they suspect the activity cited by authorities was the performance of normal evening prayers offered by members of the group in the airport before boarding the flight.
The detained Imams also denied reports that they refused to leave the plane or that they chanted "Allah" as they were escorted from the flight. US Airways refused to allow the Imams to take another flight or to assist them in obtaining tickets on another airline. They eventually obtained tickets on Northwest Airlines and are on their way to Arizona.
SEE: U.S. Muslims Outraged After Imams Kicked Off Plane (Reuters)
SEE ALSO: CAIR Rep Discusses 'Flying While Muslim' Incident on MSNBC
All of the detained Imams, several of whom are from Arizona, were in Minnesota to attend a conference of the North American Imams Federation (NAIF). A representative of the FBI was invited to attend the conference. SEE: http://imamsofamerica.com/
At a Capitol Hill news conference, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said today that security concerns are of "paramount importance," but that the incident in Minnesota was apparently triggered by prejudice and ignorance, not by real evidence of a threat to passenger safety:
"CAIR is receiving more reports of 'flying while Muslim' and racial profiling incidents from members of the Islamic community nationwide. We therefore call for congressional hearings to deal with the issue of racial, religious and ethnic profiling in our nation's airports.
"We also call on the Department of Justice and the Transportation Security Administration to conduct thorough investigations into the incident in Minnesota and to ensure that security procedures of US Airways and other airlines conform to constitutional standards mandating the protection of religious freedom and other civil rights."
Awad said CAIR would be seeking a meeting with US Airways officials to discuss the Minnesota incident and past complaints against the airline by members of the American Muslim community.
He added that CAIR received a letter today from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties saying it has opened a review of the case as it relates to the actions of DHS employees.
Hilary 0. Shelton, director of the NAACP's Washington Bureau, said in a statement:
"The NAACP is deeply concerned with the most recent incident of Arab-Americans being removed from an airplane in Minneapolis after they prayed. As much as all Americans are concerned with the threat of terrorism and the security of our nation, for law- abiding Americans to be abused and removed from the plane is deeply disturbing.
"This matter is unfortunately consistent with the experience of African-Americans who have been detained while simply traveling on our nation's highways, flyways and sidewalks. We encourage a thorough investigation into the matter and call for the passing of the End Racial Profiling Act, which is currently pending in Congress."
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: [email protected]; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439- 1441, E-Mail: rahmed[email protected]; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: [email protected]
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