The Pennsylvania Lifeline to Hamas
February 22, 2010
By Joe Kaufman
In 1981, future terrorist leader and spokesman Mousa Abu Marzook began building, within the United States, a network of violence supporting Palestinian-oriented groups, which would later become the basis for a well-financed Hamas infrastructure. Today, that network has been severely crippled. However, parts of it yet exist, all of which hail from the American propaganda wing of Hamas, the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), one of which is a chapter of the IAP itself.
On December 8, 2004, Joyce and Stanley Boim, an American couple, were awarded $156 million by a federal court jury for the murder of their teenage son, David, who had been shot and killed during a May 1996 Hamas terrorist operation in Israel. The four defendants who were found liable for the murder included three organizations, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), and the Quranic Literacy Institute (QLI), and one individual, a Chicago resident named Muhammad Salah.
Of the three organizations, only the IAP was still in existence at the time of the trial. However, that would soon change, as then-Communications Director of the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) Ahmed Rehab, in January 2006, e-mailed this author declaring that the IAP was no more.
In the time that the IAP was operating, from the years 1981 to 2005, the group had created a number of local chapters throughout the U.S., using aliases as names. These included the American Middle Eastern League for Palestine (AMELP) and the American Muslim Society (AMS).
Like the IAP, most of these groups are gone. However, there is still one chapter that is in operation, the American Muslim Society of the Tristate Area of Pennsylvania, New Jersey & Delaware (AMS Tri-State).
AMS Tri-State was established in December 2000 and incorporated the following month, in January 2001. According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, the group's corporation is still active.
The registered address of AMS Tri-State is 1860 Montgomery Avenue, located in Villanova, Pennsylvania. It is the same address as the Foundation of Islamic Education (FIE), a satellite campus for Cairo, Egypt's Al-Azhar University.
Since it began, AMS Tri-State has held board meetings at FIE and has held annual conferences at FIE. These conferences, which were co-sponsored by FIE, featured a number of leaders from various radical Muslim groups, including the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT).
The website address of AMS Tri-State was recently renewed, as the expiration date of it has changed from December 16, 2009 to December 16, 2010. The Registrant, Administrative Contact and Technical Contact of the site is Iftekhar Hussain. According to the website of CAIR-Pennsylvania, of which Hussain acts as Chairman of the Board, Hussain is "currently serving as Secretary General of the American Muslim Society of the Tristate Area of PA, NJ & DE."
For Hussain to be involved with both groups is no strange coincidence, as the IAP was the parent organization of CAIR. CAIR was founded by three leaders of the IAP: IAP National President Omar Ahmad, IAP National Public Relations Director Nihad Awad, and AMS-Chicago President Rafiq Jaber, who later became IAP National President.
In fact, some can make the claim that AMS Tri-State is the parent organization of CAIR-Pennsylvania, which was established in 2004. AMS Tri-State founding Secretary General Iftekhar Hussain served as CAIR-Pennsylvania Chairman; AMS Tri-State founding President Zaheer Chaudhry served as a CAIR-Pennsylvania board member; and AMS Tri-State founding Chairman Masood Ghaznavi served as a CAIR-Pennsylvania advisor.
Remnants of Hamas, such as AMS and CAIR, exist as a cautious reminder of a violent movement that began in the 1980s and that persists to this day. Unfortunately, when the IAP was shut down in 2005, its offspring were left to flourish.
Unlike CAIR, though, which has grown to over 30 chapters across the United States, AMS Tri-State appears to be an oversight. The memory of David Boim, along with all the other innocents who have perished at the hands of Hamas, cannot be served by its continuance.
Why the IAP lingers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware is a mystery that can only be known to the group itself. And whatever the reason is, it cannot have anything but a sinister motive attached to it.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.