This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at

Muslim 'charities' in Chicago , the IAP & Quranic Literacy Institute must pay parents of terrorist victim $156 ml for his murder

Bridgeview Mosque Foundation spokesman is Islamic Association of Palestine director Rafeeq Jaber -IAP /Hamas & BMF member Saleh convicted in killing
December 9, 2004

MIM: The bullet which killed David Boim, was paid for with money raised in the United States, at fundraisers and Koranic Institutes similiar to the 'Madinah Foundation' in Florida and by events such as those staged by Islamic Relief at Nova Southeastern University and Islamic Society of Central Florida just last week.

I also heard the announcement of David Boim's death which his father Stanley Boim heard,and remember turning on the television news where I saw his mother Joyce, helping to wheel her mortally wounded son into a hospital pursued by journalists asking who she was. "I am his mother" she had answered, into the cameras .

What can one say about the look in the eyes of a mother who is watching her child die ?

This is the real face of terror. The charities and so called 'Quranic Literacy Institute ' in Illinois and the Islamic Association of Palestine whose spokesman and director ,Rafiq Jaber, is currently the spokesman for the Bridgeview Mosque Foundation,one of the largest Islamic centers in the Illinois.Mohammed Saleh,one of the terrorist fundraisers who was convicted in the murder of David Boim,was a member of the Bridgeview Mosque Foundation.

Many of the same Arab and Muslim groups and individuals in Illinois, who may have helped to fund Hamas and David Boim's terrorist murderers will be holding a fundraiser this December 12th 2 004 in the Chicago Marriot hotel.

The event is organisted by the CIOCG -Council of Islamic Organisations of Greater Chicago, and CAIR -Council of American Islamic Relations, a wing of the IAP and Hamas,.The banquet them is "The Future of Islam in America " and the groups will be giving out "Awards for Excellence".One of the keynote speakers will be Professor John Esposito of Georgetown University who was recently a speaker at the United Nations seminar on "Islamophobia".

It is time that large hotels and educational institutions consider refusing to rent their premises to any individuals or organisations who are associated with terrorism activities and stop letting the threat of 'discrimination lawsuits' by Saudi funded front groups like CAIR, deter them from not being complicit in aiding and legitimising groups which fundraise and promote terrorism.

For more on the Illinois/Chicago Muslim community the IAP and Mohammed Salah see:

'Bridgeview Mosque Foundation Hamas member Mohammed Saleh arrested together with Howard U prof Abdelhaleem Ashqar on terrorism charges'

'Chicago Islamist leader Kareem Irfan (CIOCG) excuses beheadings as " a primordial sense of retaliation and revenge'

'Tariq Ramadan: Terrorism connections slated Notre Dame professors US visa -Muslims - CAIR and ChicagoTribune protest'

"Welcome to the Islamic Resistance Movement" Hamas aka IAP aka CAIR

Scott Alexander (CTU) planned exchange with Al Quds University and Hamas members Azzam Tamimi and Mustapha Abu Sway


"...Testifying in the first day of evidence in the trial in U.S. District Court, Stanley Boim fought back tears as he noted that a classmate of his son's who witnessed the murder was now married, had a child and was starting a career.

"David will never have that opportunity because he was cut down by a bullet financed by the organizations against whom we are bringing this lawsuit," Boim said as his wife sobbed..."

'Dad Tells of Day terrorist Shot son'

by Matt O'Connor


"The father of a teenager killed in a 1996 terrorist attack in Israel was choked with emotion Thursday as he recalled hearing his son's death announced over a loudspeaker from a car driving through his Jerusalem neighborhood.

Stanley Boim had learned of his son David's death a short time earlier from doctors, but still he said: "I couldn't believe what I was hearing," as the car blared the news in what he described as an Israeli custom....

"...Yechiel Gellman, 25, who lives in a Jerusalem suburb, testified he was standing near David Boim, a classmate and friend, at a bus stop near their high school on a sunny day when shots rang out.

David fell to the ground, shot in the back of the head. A second classmate was wounded but survived. Gellman was not injured.

"I never dreamed [David] would die," Gellman told reporters following his testimony. "I thought maybe he was wounded and he'll be back in class with the guys next week."

Stanley Boim said he was at home when he learned from his wife that David had been injured.

He drove about half an hour to a hospital, but David had been moved to another medical center.

As he drove to the second hospital, Stanley Boim said he learned over the radio that his son was a victim of a terrorist attack.

At the hospital, Stanley Boim said he learned that David, one of seven children, was in critical condition with a gunshot wound to his head.

"We sat, we prayed, we hoped for the best," Stanley Boim testified.

A short time later, a doctor delivered the news that David had died, he said.


Expert: Islamic group was Hamas 'money laundering clearing house'

The testimony came in a lawsuit filed by Joyce and Stanley Boim, the parents of an American teenager shot to death by two Hamas militants in Israel eight years ago.

They say the Quranic Literacy Institute of suburban Oak Lawn, two Islamic charities and an alleged Hamas fundraiser, Mohammed Salah, bankrolled the purchase of weapons by Hamas and thus are responsible for the death of their 17-year-old son.

He was shot to death while waiting for a bus in the West Bank. The Boims are Americans who moved to Israel in 1985.

The military wing of Hamas -- Izzedine al Qassam -- has admitted responsibility for terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians as well as attacks against the Israeli military.

Israel and the U.S. State Department consider Hamas a terrorist organization. But Hamas operates an extensive social services network.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys already has found that Salah, the two charities, Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and the Islamic Association for Palestine, helped to finance Hamas and so are liable in the Boim death.


Massive verdict in Hamas lawsuit

$156 million awarded to slain teen's parents


By Chris Hack

In a decision that's more of a somber, symbolic victory than a cash windfall, accused south suburban fundraisers for the militant Palestinian group Hamas were ordered Wednesday to pay $156 million to the parents of a Jewish teen killed in a West Bank terrorist attack.

The federal jury verdict marks the latest chapter in the precedent-setting, four-year legal battle waged by the parents of 17-year-old David Boim, a U.S. citizen living in Israel when he was killed by Hamas gunmen in 1996.

After deliberating Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, jurors awarded the Boims $52 million in damages. Under the federal law that allows victims of foreign attacks to sue U.S.-based terrorist supporters, the total damage award was automatically tripled by U.S. Magistrate Arlander Keys.

"People who pay for terrorism will end up paying the victims of terrorism," attorney Stephen Landes said, admitting the groups he sued currently have few assets. "If they have any money, we'll get their money."

Jurors ruled that Oak Lawn-based Quranic Literacy Institute, a nonprofit group that translates religious texts, is liable for Boim's death. Quranic Literacy was accused in the lawsuit of laundering Hamas money in the early 1990s and providing cover for suspected high-ranking Hamas operative Mohammed Salah of Bridgeview.

Keys already had ruled that Salah as well as Muslim charity Holy Land Foundation and Palos Hills-based Islamic Association for Palestine were liable for Boim's death. That ruling marked the first time American organizations had been held liable for the actions of terrorists overseas, and Wednesday's jury award marked the first time they were hit in the pocketbook.

"We have exposed and hopefully put to an end the network in the U.S. that supported Hamas," Landes said. "The veil has been lifted."

Boim's parents, Stanley and Joyce, sat stonefaced as the jury's multimillion-dollar award was read. Landes said that in the wake of their son's slaying, the Boims "stepped up" to become the first plaintiffs to take on the alleged Hamas backers in court.

"We feel an important hope has been given to people who are victims of terrorism," Stanley Boim said. "Under the law, they have some remedy."

"Your next-door neighbor could be a front for some terrorist organization," Joyce Boim added. "I hope that we see more terrorist organizations put in their place and stopped."

Salah is facing federal racketeering charges alleging he laundered money for Hamas and recruited potential terrorists for the group. Texas-based Holy Land Foundation, which had an office in Palos Hills, has been shut down by the government, and its leaders are also under federal indictment.

With the other defendants found liable by Magistrate Keys last month sitting out the trial, Boim family lawyers homed in on Quranic Literacy during the weeklong proceedings. They claimed Quranic Literacy used a $1 million real estate deal to launder money from Saudi financier Yassin Kadi designated a terrorist by the U.S. government and also provided Salah with a job.

Salah, who also has been declared an international terrorist by the federal government, was described by Landes as an "arch-terrorist," and identified by a former FBI analyst as the U.S.-based military leader for Hamas.

"How do you function if your business is being a terrorist?" Landes said in closing arguments Tuesday. "The Quranic Literacy Institute gave Salah what he needed: They provided him with money; they provided him with a home; and they provided him with the pretext of a job."

Quranic Literacy attorney John Beal, upset he had not won a continuance and more time to prepare, did not participate in the trial except to unsuccessfully ask Keys to preempt the jury and rule in his client's favor.

"The death of David Boim is a tragic event, but holding the wrong party liable does not advance the cause of justice," Beal told the judge.

After the verdict, Quranic Literacy secretary Amer Haleem angrily insisted his organization has done nothing wrong and was railroaded to trial on a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment prominent since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

But Boim attorney Rick Hoffman said the back-to-back court decisions in his client's favor first a 107-page summary judgment ruling from Keys and then the $156 million damage award from the jury prove the case was built on solid evidence.

"This case had nothing to do with religion," Hoffman said. "Nobody went after them for translating the Quran. Nobody sued them for being Muslim."

While they anticipate an appeal, the Boim lawyers also are ready to begin the complicated process of trying to collect money from the defendants. They acknowledge they won't get anywhere near the $164 million awarded by the jury.

The assets of Salah and Quranic Literacy, worth about $1.4 million, have long been frozen by the federal government and federal prosecutors in Chicago will move to seize Salah's cash and Bridgeview home if he's convicted on the pending criminal charges. Holy Land Foundation, once the nation's largest Muslim charity, has an estimated $5 million and that money, currently frozen, also is being targeted by federal prosecutors in Dallas.

That leaves tiny Islamic Association for Palestine, described in the past by federal agents as the propaganda arm of Hamas in the United States and denounced by Keys as a "cheerleader" for violence against Jews. Although the association is essentially a one-man operation run by a local Palestinian activist, Hoffman said that since it apparently has enough money to operate an Internet Web site, it may have to pay up.

"I think we will collect," Hoffman said. "Whether we collect $156 million is another story but we will collect."

Southtown legal affairs writer Chris Hack may be reached at [email protected] or (708) 633-5984.


New York Daily News

Muslim charities must pay in slay

Thursday, December 9th, 2004

Three U.S. Muslim charities were ordered yesterday to pay $156 million to the parents of a teenager from New York gunned down in a terror attack in the West Bank.

The federal jury in Chicago awarded the damages to Stanley and Joyce Boim, who now live in Israel, for the 1996 murder of their 17-year-old son, David.

Earlier this month, the jury had found the Holy Land Foundation, the Islamic Association for Palestine and Islamic fund-raiser Mohammed Salah liable for Boim's death by funding the terror group Hamas.

Yesterday, the jury awarded $52 million in damages - which were automatically tripled under federal law - and also found a third group liable, the Quranic Literacy Institute.

It's doubtful the couple will recover anywhere near that amount from the defendants, but Joyce Boim said the lawsuit was not about money.

"If I can stop one nickel from reaching Hamas to buy bullets, to produce bombs that kill innocent men, women and children, I will have justice for David," she said. "It could be billions of dollars. It's not going to bring David back."

The Quaranic Institute refused to defend itself during the trial, and spokesman Amer Haleem claimed religious persecution after the damages were announced.

"They had not one bit of evidence, not one shred of evidence against us," he said. "All they had was the fact that we were Muslims and they used the word terror."

Derek Rose


MIM: The Islamic Association of Palestine -CAIR and Hamas zero degrees of separation

Pretending to be a civil rights group, CAIR is representative of the new transformation of militant Islamic groups. CAIR's origin and the affiliations of its founders. It was formed not by Muslim religious leaders throughout the country, but as an offshoot of the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP). Incorporated in Texas, the IAP has close ties to Hamas and has trumpeted its support for terrorist activities.

Its publications, the Arabic al-Zaytuna and the English language Muslim World Monitor, frequently praise terrorist actions,s Nihad Awad, the founder and executive director of CAIR, was contributing editor of the Muslim World Monitor when CAIR began operations.

IAP has issued Hamas communiques calling for the killing of Jews, produced training videos for Hamas operatives, and actually recruited for Hamas in the United States.10 Oliver Revell, former head of FBI counter-terrorism, has called the IAP a "Hamas front."

11 CAIR has used the IAP Web Site for its early Internet publications.12 The close connection between Hamas, IAP, and CAIR reveals CAIR's true purpose. The connections between CAIR and Hamas extend beyond Nihad Awad. Mohammad Nimer, the director of CAIR's Research Center, was on the board of directors of the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR). This innocuous sounding organization is the strategic arm of Hamas in the United States. One Hamas terrorist operative, caught and convicted by Israeli authorities, called UASR "the political command of llamas in the United States?13 There are numerous other indicators of the close connections between UASR and Hamas.14 Nimer's transition from UASR to CAIR paralleled Awad's transition from IAP to CAIR.

Another founding director of CAIR, Rafeeq Jabar, is president of the Islamic Association of Palestine. At the October 1997 Council for the National Interest Convention, Jabar described Israel as "living in apartheid," and Zionism as a "racist movement." He asserted that "when a Jew passes by a cross, they (sic) have to spit" and said of Israel, "never treat this cancer with a bandage."


MIM: Speakers at the 5th Annual Islamic Association of Palestine in Chicago convention included Omar Haleem, who is quoted in the above articles as the director of the Quranic Literacy Institute which was convicted of involvement in the terrorist murder of David Boim.

Note that Sami Al Arian is in jail on terrorism charges and was closely connected to many who were arrested in the Illinois Muslim community.

Sami Sabirah was refused reentry into the US for terrorism related issues.

Ahmed Yusuf , the director of the UASR- the innoucously named United Association for Studies and Research, fled the United States last year after he and the UASR were linked to terrorism funding . Fawaz Damra, the head of the Cleveland Islamic Center who was convicted of lying on his citizenship application and membership in Islamic Jihad had applied to the court for permission to attend a meeting of the UASR, after his trial,which may be what focused attention on the group and been the reason behind Yusuf's 'dissapearence'.



The following is a list of confirmed speakers and moderators for the Arabic,
English, and Youth Programs for the upcoming IAP convention Dec 21-25.

1. Shuhail El-Ghonoshi, PhD, President of Muslim American Society (MAS)
2. Agha Saeed, PhD in Politics and President of American Muslim Alliance (AMA)
3. Hani Al-Hasan, PLO Leader and Advisor to Yasser Arafat
4. Wagdi Ghunaim, Islamic Scholar
5. Abbas Hamidah, Palestine Right of Return Coalition (Al-Awada)
6. Sami Al-Arian, PhD, Civil Rights Activist and President of National
Coalition for the Protection of Political Freedom (NCPPF)
7. Graham Fuller, former CIA director on the Middle-East, Expert from RAND
in Islamic Movements, West and Islam
8. Laura Drake, PhD in Middle-East and Palestine Affairs
9. Shaker Assayed, PhD, Secretary General of Muslim American Society (MAS)
10. Tom Pushari, Los Angeles Research Center and Expert on the Issue of
11. Salah Sultan, PhD in Shariah, President of the Islamic American
University (IAU)
12. Ahmad Yousef, PhD in Journalism and President of United Association for
Studies and Research (UASR)

13. Muhammad Al-Hanouti, Islamic Scholar
14. Stanley Cohn, Lawyer in Civil Rights
15. Aminah McCloud, PhD in History
16. Jamal Said, Imam of Mosque Foundation in Chicago
17. Sabri Samirah, PhD in Politics and President of the United Muslim
Americans Association (UMAA
18. Yaser Bushnaq, President of Solidarity International USA
19. Ziad Hamdan, Political Expert on Islam and Palestine
20. Rafeeq Jaber, President of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP)
1. Hatem Bazian, PhD in Comparative Religion and Expert on Palestine
22. Osama Abu-Irshid, Political Analyst and Editor of Zaytouna
23. Abdullah Madyun, Imam of Indiana Mosque
24. Altaf Hussain, President of National Muslim Student Association (MSA)
25. Ameen Fateh, Imam and Chairman of the Association of Islamic Scholars in
26. Amer Haleem, Interpreter of the Quran and Director for the Quranic
Literacy Institute (QLI)
27. Ashraf Nubani, Lawyer and Civil Rights Activist
28. Basman Dahleh, Organizer of Youth Programs
29. Johari ibn Seale, Imam of Howard University Chapel in DC
30. Ismail Muhammad, Minister for Nation of Islam in Chicago
31. Saif Abdelrahman, Lawyer and Youth Organizer
32. Seema Imam, PhD in Education, and Secretary of the Muslim American for
Civil Rights and Legal Defense (MACRLD)
33. Tareq Abu Ghazaleh, Expert on Palestinian Refugees
34. Raeed Tayeh, Journalist and Organizer of Youth Programs
35. Abdelbaset Hamayel, Secretary General of the IAP
36. Kifah Mustafa, Imam and Islamic Activist
37. Manal El-Hrisse, Political Activist and Organizer of Youth Programs
38. Ribhi Huzain, Organizer of Youth Programs
39. Isa Taiym, Organizer of Youth Programs
40. Rawa Ghabayen, Organizer of Youth Programs

Unconfirmed Invited Speakers and Moderators as of Dec 13, 2001: (Some is still
working on their traveling plans for overseas, and promised to come a day at
least to the convention. We shall keep you informed.)

41. Jamal Badawi, PhD, Islamic Scholar
42. Abdullah Idris, Educator and former President of Islamic Society of
North America (ISNA)
43. Mustafa Barghouthi, PhD, President of the Research Center in Rammallah
44. Louis Farrakhan, Minister of the Nation of Islam
45. Hasher Ibn Maktoum, United Arab Emirates Prince, and President of
Dubai's Division of Media
46. Abdelazeem Elssiddiq, PhD in Theology, Educator, and Chairman of UMAA
47. Khaled Turaani, President of the American Muslims for Jerusalem (AMJ)
48. Allison Weir, Freelance Journalist and Expert on Palestine
49. Fathi Zubaidi, PhD, Religious Programs Director for UAE TV's and Radios.
50. Karim Irfan, Chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater
Chicago (CIOGC)

American Muslims: A Bridge of Understanding & Cooperation
(IAP) 5th Annual Convention
Chicago, 21-25 December 2001
Holiday Inn, O'Hare International


MIM: Upcoming Chicago Islamist event . 12/12/04

John Esposito joins CAIR/aka IAP/Hamas as the 'Moderate friends of terror" join with the CIOGC to celebrate 'The future of Islam in America'.

Esposito himself has close Hamas ties, so he will be in good company at the CIOGC event. He sits on the advisory board of the UK based International Islamic Institute of Political Thought, run by Azzam Tamimi a known Hamas member.

Yusuf Qaradawi the Qatar based cleric who ruled that women should also fulfill their Islamic duty by becoming suicide bombers, is also on the board of the IIPT. Last year, IIPT board member Basher Nafi was arrested by UK police for his connections to Islamic Jihad. Nafi had been a colleague of Sami Al Arian and fled the US during the investigations into into the Palestinian Islamic Jihad headquarters at the University of Southern Florida.

Note that the director of the CIOGC is Kareem Irfan, who is on the unconfirmed speakers list of the 2001 IAP convention. Oussamma Jammal, is listed as one of the directors of the CIOGC and is one of the director and Imam of the Bridgeview Mosque which has been linked to terrorism for more then a decade. (see articles below).

Essentially the Marriot Hotel, which is hosting the event will be receiving Saudi blood money in payment for the venue, since the CIOCG is heavily funded by the Muslim World League,which is under investigation by the US Treasury department for terror funding activities.


IL CIOGC 12 Annual Community Dinner

HAT: The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) announces its
flagship event,
the 12th annual community dinner "Faith & Opportunity: The
Future of Islam in America," featuring Dr. John L. Esposito, world renowned
contemporary American scholar of Islam, Georgetown Professor of Religion &
International Affairs and Islamic Studies, Foreign-Affairs Analyst: Bureau
of Intelligence & Research (Clinton Presidency), and founding director of
the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University.
Dinner will also include the CIOGC Excellence Awards Presentation.

Tickets: Adults $50 Children (12 & Under) $25


WHEN: Sunday, December 12, 2004
Dinner and Program, 6 PM Sharp

WHERE: Chicago Marriott, 1200 Burr Ridge Pkwy, Burr Ridge, IL 60527

For more information, call the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater
Chicago at (630) 629.7490


Chicago - Saturday, December 11, 2004


The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIO), an umbrella organization representing over 400,000 Muslims throughout Chicagoland, will
host its annual fundraising dinner on Sunday, December 12, 2004 at 6:00 PM at the Chicago Marriott Southwest at Burr Ridge, 1200 Burr Ridge Parkway,
Burr Ridge, Illinois 60527.

The theme of the event is "Faith & Opportunity: The Future of Islam in America." The keynote speaker is Dr. John L. Esposito, founding director
of Georgetown University's Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. He is also the author of the books "The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality" and
"Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam".

A featured event will be the presentation of the CIO's Award of Excellence to four individuals: Geneive Abdo, a journalist with USA Today; Thomas
Kneir, former Director of the Chicago field office of the F.B.I.; Imam W. D. Muhammad, an internationally recognized Muslim leader and former head of
the American Society of Muslims; and Rev. Paul Rutgers, President of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago.

Contact: Farhan Younus, Esq., Chair, Media Relations Committee, Ph.


MIM: Below an excerpt detailing the charges levelled against one of the most recently arrested members of the Bridgeview Mosque Foundation, whose spokeman is Rafiq Jaber, head of the Islamic Association of Palestine, the American wing of Hamas.

(The Bridgeview Mosque Foundation is to militant Islam in the US what the Finsbury Park Mosque is to the UK)

Salah's description of his Middle East terror funding activities as a a "humanitarian mission" (click on box) is very similiar to Ramadan's attempts to portray his own terrorist affiliations as part of an innocuous academic enterprise.

"Mohammed Salah, the Bridgeview man who has long stood at the center of a federal probe of terrorist financing, was indicted Friday(August 21, 2004) on charges he served as a high-ranking operative for the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

What Salah has said about Middle East activities

For 15 years, Salah recruited young volunteers for murderous missions, helped launder money through bank accounts scattered around the world, and hand-delivered cash to senior Hamas leaders in the Middle East, according to the charges announced in Washington by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft,,,

...The mood inside the Bridgeview mosque was tense Friday, said Berwyn teenager Mohammad Ramadan, who said he attended school with Mohammed Salah's son..."


Jamal Said, the Imam of Bridgeview Mosque is still an Imam their today together with IAP's Rafeeq Jabeer . Both Said and Jabeer were speakers at the IAP 2001 Chicago convention. Here is an account of a visit to the mosque by Steven Emerson:

..."Later, he took Khalid and me to the Bridgeview Mosque, where Jamal Said was the imam. I could tell immediately that we were deep in the heart of Hamas territory. The walls of the vestibule were covered with Hamas posters and recruiting literature showing masked gunmen brandishing automatic weapons. It was all in Arabic, but you could see daggers plunged into Jewish hearts wrapped up in American flags. They even had a library filled with militant terrorist videos and books. Khalid was there to translate for me. The Friday service was a rather strange experience. Out of 800 people, I was the only one wearing a red ski jacket. When the service was over I approached the imam and asked him if he had known Abdullah Azzam. He was very defensive. "I never met with him," he said quickly and then dismissed me. Earlier that year, two Hamas operatives, congregants of the mosque, were arrested in Israel for transferring money from the United States to terrorists on the West Bank. One of these men, Mohammad Jarad, told the Israelis that he was sent on his mission by Jamal Said".


MIM: Oussama Jamal, who is one of the the Imams of the Bridgeview Mosque Foundation is also on the board of the CIOGC together with Kareem Irfan:


Here is a list of the trustees of the CIOGC.

Note that Oussama Jammal, head of the Bridgeview Mosque Foundation, whose spokesman is the leader

of the IAP/Hamas, is listed as a director of the CIOGC.

For more on Jammal, and BMF and Hamas see:

Jan 2003 - Jan. 2004 Term

Position Name e-Mail
Chairman Kareem Irfan [email protected]
Vice Chairman Esmail Koushanpour [email protected]
Secretary Shamshad Hussain [email protected]
Treasurer Khawaja Mohiuddin [email protected]
Director M. Inam Hussain [email protected]
Director Azam Nizamuddin [email protected]
Director Oussama Jammal

he CIOCG's welcomed a "good will" delegation from their Saudi paymasters who were touted as an "esteemed panel of experts" .

The CIOGC ties to the Muslim World League is further proof of their Wahabist agenda .


330 East Roosevelt Road, Suite G5, Lombard, IL 60148 - Ph.: 630.629.7490 ? Fax: 630.629.7492
Contact: Contact: Farhan Younus, Esq. [Chairperson, CIOGC Media Relations Committee - Ph.: 630-926-5566]

Chicago - Thursday, June 27, 2002


A delegation of internationally recognized Muslim leaders, scholars and jurists representing a cross-section of the Muslim World is planning a good-will tour of the United States under the auspices of the Muslim World League (MWL). The delegation is headed by HE Dr. Abdullah al-Turki, Secretary General of the Muslim World League, member of the Senior Ulama Commission and former minister of Islamic Affairs in Saudi Arabia.

This delegation will be visiting New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles from June 25th until July 15th, 2002. The delegation will be in Chicago from June 30, 2002 through July 2, 2002. Their objective is to meet and brief prominent leaders of the media, inter-faith communities, academia, and government agencies, based on a global perspective of critical post 9-11 issues pertaining to Muslims and Islam. The delegation is seeking cooperation in establishing peace, justice, mutual tolerance and developing bridges of understanding across faiths, societies and civilizations.

The World Muslim League, headquartered in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, is a non-governmental organization represented in a number of international organizations such as the Organization of the Islamic Conferences, where it enjoys the position of an observer member, as well as the United Nations, where it also enjoys category A observer status as a non-governmental organization with consultative status at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The MWL is also a member of the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural organization (UNESCO) and the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) as well as the International Supreme Council for Da'wah and Relief, where it enjoys the status of a founding member.

Members of the delegation include Dr. Ahmad Abulmagd, Commissioner for the Dialogue of Civilizations at the Arab League in Cairo, Egypt. Other esteemed members of the delegation are HE Kamil al-Shareef, former minister of Jordan and Secretary General of the International Council for Islamic Call and Relief and a founding member of the Muslim World League; Dr. Muhammad A. Bayyoumi, Professor of Sociology, Alexandria University, Egypt; Dr. Mustafa I. Siric, Grand Mufti of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and member of the Fiqh Council at the Muslim World League; Dr. Al-Sheikh Ahmad Lemo, President of the Islamic Education Endowment, Abuja, Nigeria; Dr. Salman al-Hasan al-Nadawi, president of Muslim Youth Society in India; and Dr. Jamal Badawi, President of the Islamic Media Foundation, Halifax, Canada.

This is the first time a delegation of this caliber has visited the United States for the expressed purpose of improving people to people relations, based upon a cross cultural dialogue between the people of the United States and the Muslim World.

A press conference featuring members of this esteemed panel of experts will be held at the Peninsula Hotel, 108 East Superior Street (at North Michigan Avenue), Chicago, Illinois 60611 on Monday July 1, 2002 at 10:00 a.m. Interviews with individual members of the delegation can be scheduled by contacting Farhan Younus at (630) 926-5566. END


Kareem Irfan

Chairman's Message

Mr. Irfan has been Chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, since January 2001. Prior to that he has been active with many Council projects, Co-Chairing its Bosnian Refugee Relocation Project and Chairing its Media Relations Committee. He has collaborated with the Islamic Society of North America on varied projects including Program Development, Presentations, and Media Relations for ISNA's Annual Conventions, and was a founding member of the ISNA Wills & Living Trusts Initiative. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Islamic Center of Naperville and remains committed to pro bono work for professional, religious and non-profit institutions.

Mr. Irfan is Assistant General Counsel for the North American Division of Square D Co. - Schneider Electric, a Paris-based global manufacturer of electrical distribution, automation and control products with over $10 Billion in annual sales. He has a M.S. in Computer Engineering from University of Illinois and a J.D. from DePaul University. Following several years in private practice as an Intellectual Property lawyer with two prominent Chicago law firms, he has been with Schneider Electric for 10 years and is currently responsible for legalities of business initiatives in Information Technology and e-Commerce for the company. He has recently served as Secretary and Board Director of the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago and as Chairman of its Inventor Services Committee.

Mr. Irfan is a frequent speaker on various aspects of his legal expertise in IT & eCommerce law, as well as on Islam and the status, concerns and perspectives of Muslim Americans. In the aftermath of Sept. 11, he has appeared on local and national radio & TV. programs and offered scores of print media interviews as well as presentations at religious, civic and corporate events covering key precepts of Islam, perspectives of American Muslims, and initiatives of Chicago's Muslim community pertinent to the tragic incidents of Sept. 11, the ensuing 'back-lash', and resulting U.S. and International actions. In the Inter-Faith context, he continues to be devoted to exhorting and inspiring fellow Americans to transcend religious, ethnic and cultural boundaries to collectively and effectively address the emerging challenges faced by us.

Updated: 29-May 2002


MIM: In this CNN program transcript Irfan admits to giving $5,0000 to Benevolence International Foundation,one of the biggest Chicago based 'charity fronts' which funded Al Qaeda :

FLOCK (voice-over): This man runs one of the biggest and what had been most respected Muslim charities in the United States. But the government says Enaam Arnaout is not the picture of charity.

JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: In fact, funds were being used to support al Qaeda and other groups engaged in armed violence overseas.

FLOCK: This is the Benevolence International Foundation Headquarters outside Chicago. An office like this one in Bosnia yielded these pictures of the 40-year-old Syrian-born Arnaout and evidence, the government says, the charity bought rockets and mortars, notes on the founding of the al Qaeda terrorist network, and this Arab newspaper article with a picture of Arnaout and Osama bin Laden.

JOE DUFFY, ARNAOUT'S ATTORNEY: Did Mr. Arnaout know Mr. bin Laden in the 1980's? I would say yes. What was Mr. bin Laden doing in the 1980s? He was building roads and highways in Afghanistan.

FLOCK: And fighting Soviet occupation. Arnaout's lawyers say even the United States government backed bin Laden then. They claimed Arnaout has not had contact with bin Laden since, when these pictures were taken.

ASHCROFT: It is chilling that the origins of al Qaeda were discovered in a charity claiming to do good.

FLOCK: Kareem Irfan, who lives in the Chicago suburbs, has given more than $5,000 to Benevolence International over the years.

KAREEM IRFAN, COUNCIL OF ISLAMIC ORGANIZATIONS: I definitely do not regret it because I did it under the understanding that this was an outstanding institution..."


Talat Othman, a wealthy Arab businessman who is on the advisory board of the Benardin Center, is vice president of the Council of Islamic Organisation in Chicago, and also works with the Bridgeview Mosque Foundation . Below Othman lauds the "interfaith" programs set up with the Bernardin Center as an opportunity for outreach.

For Muslims outreach is a code word for Da'wa or Islamic Propagation.


PDF] Chicago Muslims Share Anxieties, Mistrust of US Acts
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
... One handout said in bold letters: "Muslims worship the God of Abraham, the same God
as Jews and Christians." Talal Sunbulli of the Bridgeview Mosque Foundation ...
https:/.../ Winter01/Chicago%20Muslims%20Share%20Anxieties,%20Mistrust%20of%20U.S.%20Acts.pdf - Similar pages

Celebrating A Decade Of Community Service

The Council derives its strength from active involvement and support of our valued member organizations. Their dedicated leaders and representatives keep the Council going with collective decision-making, planning, and implementation. Their heart-felt messages below are treasured and a source of inspiration as we forge ahead together. All we can say here is THANKS for this appreciation!

Talat Othman, President, Founding Committee of the Council.


Message from the Islamic Association of Palestine

"Congratulations to the Council on its tenth anniversary. It is only 10 years young & getting better. May Allah (swt) guide & grant the leaders of this great organization the wisdom to build a great Muslim community, for a better America."

Rafiq Jabr,
President Islamic Assn of Palestine


The Bridgeviw Mosque is a radical Wahhabist organization that openly supports Hamas and Palistinian Islamic Jihad!

Here are some examples of the Leadership and terrorist front of the Brigdeview Mosque---


Bassam Osman
[Syrian Educated Neurologist; Chairman, North American Islamic Trust; Past Director of Oak Lawn based Quranic Literacy Institute; Registered Agent of Dow Jones Islamic Fund; Ties to Palestinian Islamic Jihad]

Sabri Samirah
[Exiled Jordanian; Past Director of Islamis Assn. for Palestine; American Muslim Society;
Member of Middle Eastern League for Palestine; 1998 started Islamic voter registration group called United Muslim American Foundation; Holds Masters Degree and PhD in Public Policy; Greeted First Lady Laura Bush during Chicago visit]

Mohammad Salah
[Only current American Citizen to make Fed. list of Most Wanted Islamic Terrorists; Used Quranic Institute to launder money for Hamas; Salah was fired from his job at the City Colleges of Chicago and the Chicago Public Schools for failure to report conviction and time spent in Israeli Prison]

Mousa Abu Marzook
[Palestinian native; Lived in U.S. for 20 years; High Ranking leader of Political-Wing of Hamas; Chairman of Islamic Assn. for Palestine; Founder and President of United Assn. for Studies and Research...command center for Hamas in the U.S.; Association with Holy Land Foundation; Deported to Jordan , now believed to be in Syria]

Rafeeq Jaber
Palestinian Financial Planner, lives in Oak Lawn; Board of Directors Bridgeview Mosque Foundation and former President; Current Leader of Islamic Assn. for Palestine; and the Palos Hills based American Muslim Society]

Saudi educated Jordanian Imam of the Bridgeview Mosque for the last 18 years. Fundamentalist Wahhabi Cleric drove out moderate Muslims from the Mosque when he assumed leadership in 1985;

Holds great influence within the closed-knit Islamic community in the area.Assumed leadership two years after the title was turned over toth North American Islamic Trust]

"The Mosque leadership believes in a certain ideological school of thought, the people who are religious but not political have a conflict with them"





Before its collapse last year The American Middle Eastern League shared it director with the Much larger Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

According to Israeli sources, former AMELP director. Ismael Elbarasse, has been IDed as a high ranking Hamas operative. He and Hamas Political Cheif, Mousa Abu Marzook funneled funds to Mohammed Salah, then onto Hamas.
FBI states AMELP recieved money from Holy Land Foundation Director, Basman Elashi, who was indicted fot Texas based money laundering.
Lat Month a default judgement was entered against AMELP for failure to respond to a lawsuit filed by a familt of a Jewish teen killed by a Hamas attack.

Epicenter of 1990's investigation into money laundering for Middle Eastern terrorism;
Served as cover for Hamas operative and terrorist Mohammed Salah.
This Oak Lawn based Institute and Swiss bank accts. allegedly served to funnel nearly 1 million dollars from Saudi millionare Yassin Kadi, who has since been designated an Intl. terrorist.
Money was used to finance a huge housing development in Woodridge,Ill and the profits were used to fund Hamas.
Because of it's tax exempt status as a regestered church, the Quranic Literacy Institute is not required to file with the IRS.
According to Fed. Court documents the QLI transfewrred huge sums of money before its assets were frozen by the gov't.
The family of an American teen killed by Hamas have sued to claim part of the frozen assets as damages.

A subsidiary of the Islamic Society of North America,
The North American Islamic Trust holds titles to nearly one third of the Mosques and Islamic centers in the U.S.
NAIT is a nat'l. corp. registered in Burr Ridge, Ill., because of its status as a church, it is not required to file financial papers with the IRS.
With its parent org. the INSA, is supported directly by the Saudi Gov't.
The NAIT has come under fire for spreading Saudi financed Wahhabism throughout the U.S.
The NAIT also holds title to the Islamic Academy of Fla.. that is currently under indictment for supporting Islamic Jihad.


Shares a board of Directors with several Islamic orgs.
Recent court documents confirm that the Palos Hills Office of the AMS served as the nat'l headquarters for the Islamic Assn. for Palestine, which transferred large amts. of funds from its Dallas office to the AMS and the American Middle Eastern League for Palestine since 1996.
As part of Federal Civil Lawsuit, which alleges that AMS along with the IAP published Hamas propaganda. AMS was forced to turn over 18,000 pages of documents.



Federal authorities are investigating the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview and its leaders for possible involvement in terror-related money laundering.

The house of worship, one of the largest Islamic centers in the Chicago area, has been under FBI surveillance for years, the Daily Southtown has learned.

A decade-old federal investigation, a landmark lawsuit filed three years ago and the government crackdown on Muslim charities after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have served expose a complex web of small businesses and charitable associations accused of funneling money to Palestinian terrorist groups.

Federal agents, once discouraged from launching criminal inquiries into some terror-funding sources, now are nearing a critical stage in their probe into the heart of the Islamic community in and around Bridgeview.

One source familiar with the investigation said indictments could come by the end of the year.

Since the pale stone building with its large blue dome was built in 1981, its leaders and worshippers have known they're being watched, targeted because of their roots in the violent Middle East.

FBI agents attended prayers at the Mosque Foundation for years before the 9-11 terrorist attacks, and now find themselves the focus of surveillance by lookouts from the mosque along 93rd Street who take note of unfamiliar cars driving into the neighborhood off Harlem Avenue and parking on the narrow streets at prayer times.

Almost immediately after 9-11, federal agents arrested, indicted, deported or detained dozens of figures accused of financially supporting terrorism overseas. Three of the nation's largest Muslim charities all with offices in the southwest suburbs were shut down.

In the renewed effort to cut the flow of money from the United States to groups deemed terrorist organizations by the U.S. government, federal agents in the past two years have found plenty of work within the southwest suburbs' Islamic community. Connections have been alleged between men here and Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, the terrorist group Islamic Jihad, and Saddam Hussein's regime.

Although the recent take-downs have not struck directly at the mosque in Bridgeview, members of its leadership have long been targets of a probe into the funding of Palestinian militant group Hamas. A federal civil lawsuit and an FBI affidavit have raised allegations of an illicit terrorist fundraising ring that includes powerful members of the local Islamic community connected to the mosque.

The Mosque Foundation's leaders know they're under increased examination.

"We would be naive," said Mosque Foundation president Osama Jammal, "to think we are not being investigated or that we are not targets."

Jammal and other mosque officials refused to discuss imam Sheikh Jamal Said or his leadership. He said many people within the mosque may be sympathetic to Palestinians but not to Hamas.

Jammal defended what he described as donations to various overseas charities through the mosque, totaling as much as $1 million.

Charities are permitted to come to the mosque and solicit during religious observances since charity is one of the five pillars of Islam, Jammal said.

"Any organization that is registered with the U.S. as a (non-profit), and it is known that they are a credible organization, they can come in and talk to our members," he said.

Jammal denied that anyone associated with the mosque supported Hamas or any other militant organization.

"People here are Palestinians, and they feel sad about what happens in their country," Jamal said. "That's their right; it's a right given to everyone by God. But you cannot have the exclusive right to be concerned about your people and everybody else can go to hell."

Bridgeview Mosque Continued....

Major mosque

Since its founding more than two decades ago, the Bridgeview mosque has been an important focal point for an immigrant Islamic community. There are about 400,000 Muslims in the Chicago area, and about 40 mosques and Islamic community centers, according to the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago.

"It is one of three or four major mosques in the Chicago area, along with the Islamic Foundation in Villa Park, the (North Side) Muslim Community Center and the Northbrook Islamic Cultural Center," said Mohammed Kaiseruddin, former chairman of the council. "Everybody recognizes it to be the fourth big one."

Its past is no less fraught with controversy than its present.

Built in 1981, the $1.3 million building became the subject of a lawsuit shortly after it opened.

In 1973, the Mosque Foundation and the American-Arabian Ladies Society purchased the plot of land at 7360 W. 93rd St. for $50,000, and both groups worked to raise money for construction.

But before the mosque was completed, the Mosque Foundation transferred its title to the North American Islamic Trust, a subsidiary of the Islamic Society of North America, the country's largest Muslim group.

The Islamic trust now owns nearly a third of all mosques and Muslim centers in the United States, many of them acquired in the 1980s through funds provided by the Saudi government.

The American-Arabian Ladies Society protested what they saw as a "takeover" of their mosque by a conservative school of thought within Islam known as Wahhabism, saying moderate Muslims were being driven out of the community.

The ladies lost, and the mosque title remains part of the Islamic trust headed by a Burr Ridge neurologist who runs an Islamic investment group and has had at least one documented run-in with the Internal Revenue Service for nearly $50,000 in unpaid federal income taxes.

The socially strict state religion of Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism spread by the powerful North American Islamic Trust has likely brought increased government scrutiny wherever it is practiced. Several East Coast officials have heavily criticized the sect, noting that a majority of the 9-11 hijackers were Saudi.

"Wahhabism is an extremist, exclusionary form of Islam that not only denigrates other faiths but also marginalizes peaceful followers of Islam like the Shia and moderate Sunnis," U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) told a Senate judiciary subcommittee hearing on terrorism earlier this month. "More importantly, they are allowed to recruit disciples who pose a tremendous threat to Americans everywhere."

Imam a controversial figure

The Bridgeview mosque's imam since 1985 has been Said, a Jordanian-born cleric sent to the United States to minister to a growing Islamic community here.

Said brought a conservative school of Islamic thought to the mosque, drove out moderate Muslims and divided the community with his political activities, his critics claim.

He's a cleric who holds great influence within the community but is almost unknown outside it.

Area religious leaders praise Said and say he has tried to defuse tension within his own community. But his critics say he has turned the mosque's focus away from local projects and toward Palestinian causes that attract unwanted government attention.

But outside the protective circle of the Palestinian-Jordanians who make up more than 80 percent of the southwest suburban immigrant Muslim community, there is considerable animosity for Said's leadership, said former FBI agent John Vincent, a 27-year bureau veteran who investigated terrorism ties to the south suburbs.

There's a lot of resentment," Vincent said. "People grumble about the amount of money they think he has. The moderate Muslim wants to practice his religion and not interfere, and the radicals have taken over".


Tycoon in bin Laden case 'linked to Hamas'
By Sean O'Neill
(Filed: 08/12/2001)

A SAUDI millionaire whose UK assets have been frozen by the Bank of England because of alleged links with Osama bin Laden has also been named in an American money laundering case involving the alleged financing of Hamas, the terrorist group behind the spate of suicide bombings in Israel.

Click to enlarge

Yassin Abdullah Kadi - who will ask the High Court next week to quash the order freezing his accounts - denies involvement with bin Laden and Hamas and says he opposes all terrorism.

At an earlier hearing, a judge said the assets freeze, a key weapon in the international effort to dismantle the al-Qa'eda network, was a "draconian measure". Kadi, 46, was named in October as a terrorist suspect by the United Nations Security Council.

His lawyers have claimed that he is in a Kafkaesque situation where his accounts have been shut down and serious allegations made against him without any explanation from the authorities.

But US court documents obtained by The Daily Telegraph show that the FBI has suspected Kadi of being linked to an alleged money laundering plot to fund terrorism in Israel between 1991 and 1993.

In 1998 the US government started civil proceedings to forfeit all funds in seven bank accounts and two safe-deposit boxes owned by a US citizen and an Islamic institute allegedly linked to Kadi. The funds were allegedly transferred to financial institutions within the US from abroad with the intent to support the international terrorist activities of Hamas in violation of federal money-laundering laws.

The US government alleges that Kadi, whose international business interests range from diamond mining and construction to software and health care, provided $820,000 (now worth about 570,000) to an Illinois-based Islamic institute that allegedly funded arms and training for Hamas terrorists.

Details of the alleged illegal funding are disclosed in a 1998 affidavit by FBI agent Robert Wright that was lodged as part of the public record in a civil case at the US district court in the Northern District of Illinois.

It claims that Kadi transferred the money from a Swiss bank account in the name of his company Kadi International to Golden Marble Corp, a US company, in July 1991 - at that point without any security.

The money was then allegedly laundered through a series of transactions involving a land deal in Woodbridge, Illinois, into the accounts of the Quranic Literacy Institute, an Islamic group based in Oak Lawn, Illinois.

Mr Wright's statement claims that the property deal was organised "in a manner that obscured its connection to the overseas transfer of $820,000 from the Saudi entity Kadi International with which the deal was financed".

The FBI alleges that the plan was for Kadi's money to be made available to Mohammed Salah, a US citizen and convicted Hamas operative, who at that time travelled regularly to Israel and the occupied West Bank.

Mr Wright's affidavit states that the $820,000 was "illegally transferred by Yassin Kadi with the intent of generating income for the use of Mohammed Salah and others in the Hamas conspiracy involving past and continuing violent terrorist attacks".

At an interim hearing, District Court Judge Andersen ruled that the case for forfeiture of some of the assets of Salah and the Quranic Literacy Institute could proceed because he found that the US government had alleged "a reasonable basis for its belief that QLI arranged for Kadi to transfer the funds to purchase the land from abroad with the intent that they would be used to promote the carrying on of specified unlawful activities".

In its first year, the land deal was said to have generated rent of $110,000. That money is alleged to have been transferred to Geneva and then back to Salah between March and October 1992.

In December 1992, Salah was allegedly ordered by Abu Marzook - then leader of Hamas's political wing - to travel to the West Bank to help reorganise terrorist cells after the deportation of more than 400 Hamas suspects by Israel.

Attempts were made to access the $820,000 originally wired by Kadi but the money was by then tied up in the property deal and could not be liquidated at short notice. Other overseas sources transferred money to Abu Marzook who, in turn, allegedly supplied Salah with $790,000 to distribute to Hamas cells.

Salah was arrested in Israel in January 1993 and allegedly found to be in possession of $97,000 and notes detailing meetings with more than 40 Hamas members. Two years later he pleaded guilty before a military court to membership of Hamas and channelling funds to the organisation. He was jailed for five years but released in November 1997, when he returned to the United States.

He currently lives in the Chicago area and, although he faces no criminal charges, he is listed as a designated terrorist suspect whose assets are frozen. Salah and the Quranic Literacy Institute have denied links to Hamas, and the civil case in the US has not led to criminal charges.

Kadi, who faces no criminal charges in Britain or the US, has been implicated in a number of other inquiries into terrorist funding.

He is a former director of the Muwafaq (meaning Blessed Relief) Foundation, a charity that has been described by the US Treasury as "an al-Qa'eda front that receives funding from wealthy Saudi businessmen" and has transferred "millions of dollars to bin Laden".

The charity, which was wound up in 1997, used to have its registered office at the offices of a trust administration firm in Jersey.

Guy Martin, Kadi's solicitor, denied that his client had sent money to the US to be used to support Hamas. "It is totally untrue that Mr Kadi has illegally transferred money with the intention of supplying Hamas," he said.

"Mr Kadi has never supported any terrorist group or individual." In a witness statement lodged with the High Court, Kadi - who is married with seven children and travels to the UK regularly on business - has adamantly denied any connection with terrorism.

He said he was "deeply shocked and disturbed" to have his bank accounts frozen. He said: "I am well known in Saudi Arabia as well as in other parts of the world where I carry on business, and consider that I am a respected businessman and financier.

"I have never provided support for terrorism, financial or otherwise, and I am personally strongly opposed to terrorist activity in all forms."

13 November 2001: Judge brands freezing of suspects' bank accounts 'draconian'

9 November 2001: We are not bin Laden's bankers, says sheikh

8 November 2001: Bush freezes assets of al-Qa'eda fundraisers

13 October 2001: Treasury widens freeze on assets

From the Chicago Tribune

Money trail leads to Saudi, U.S. says
Financier denies sending funds to bin Laden
By David Jackson, Laurie Cohen and Robert Manor
Tribune staff reporters

October 28, 2001

From a white-carpeted Jiddah office, 11 stories above the sun-spangled Red
, Yassin Kadi oversees a portfolio of business ventures and charitable
projects that span the globe.

The Saudi's days are punctuated five times by prayer, and by racquetball
matches with influential friends.

But over the past decade, U.S. officials say in court filings and Treasury
Department reports, the tall, soft-spoken millionaire has patiently financed
a web of terrorist organizations.

U.S. government reports allege that Kadi's money has stretched from Osama
bin Laden's military camps to south suburban Bridgeview, where a cell of
Hamas operatives recruited "martyrs" for their campaign against Israel.

This month the Treasury Department froze Kadi's assets, along with those of
38 other people, charities and firms said to support terrorism. As evidence,
a U.S. government official cites a 1998 Saudi bank audit that allegedly
shows Kadi's Blessed Relief charity funneled $3 million to bin Laden,
drawing the cash from some of that oil-rich country's wealthiest

The bank and the influential Mahfouz family that founded it say no such
audit exists, and Kadi said no transfer of money to bin Laden took place.
Kadi has said he will take legal action to strike his name from the Treasury
list, but he had not done so by Friday. In a letter to British treasury
officials, Kadi's lawyers demanded proof of his links to terrorism after his
accounts were frozen there.

Kadi's business partners include some of his country's most prominent
business and civic leaders, and his standoff with Treasury has exacerbated
American strains with Saudi Arabia, a vital component in the Bush
administration's coalition against terrorism. Of the 19 hijackers who
carried out the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. officials say they have identified 14
as Saudi citizens.

By freezing Kadi's assets, and the assets of a Saudi based charity, U.S.
intelligence is suggesting that bin Laden was backed not only by certain
Saudi nationals, but also by Saudi wealth, a charge that angers residents

Kevin Taecker, a former financial attache to the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh who
now consults for Saudi companies, said Kadi's inclusion on the list without
a disclosure of evidence will drive Muslim entrepreneurs away from the
United States. "Everybody else is suddenly afraid their names are going to
pop up now," Taecker said.

"If a citizen in your country was accused of a crime and your government
said, `Sorry, we cannot tell you the basis of the charges because that is
classified,' you would not accept it," said Jamal Khashoggi, deputy editor
in chief of the Jiddah-based Arab News. "This is undemocratic and

Denies bin Laden connection

Kadi denies any connection to bin Laden. But during the past decade, as
intelligence agencies worked to choke off the financing of terrorism, Kadi's
finances repeatedly have come under scrutiny.

His extensive investment portfolio has ranged from a La Jolla, Calif.-based
diamond company that runs three South African mines to a Saudi trading
company that shipped medical equipment from Evanston. Kadi has endowed
Pakistan's largest public hospital and a pathbreaking Saudi women's college.

He has advised some of the world's wealthiest dealmakers on the Islamic
propriety of their far-flung ventures, according to a banker for one of
Kadi's business partners. And he has helped the National Commercial Bank,
Saudi Arabia's largest, develop Islamic financial instruments.

"We devised systems of leasing and ways to borrow money" that could be used
by pious Muslims, who are not allowed to charge interest, Kadi told the

Born to a successful Jiddah merchant family, Yassin Abdulla Azizuddin Kadi,
which sometimes is spelled al-Qadi, earned a bachelor's degree in
engineering. He lived on Lake Shore Drive from July 1979 to February 1981
when he worked as a student trainee for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the
international architectural firm.

During the 1980s, Kadi returned to the city often as vice president of a
family company, Jamjoom, that represented Evanston's American Hospital
Supply in Saudi Arabia, among other clients. Kadi, 45, will not talk in
detail about the many businesses he directed over the past two decades, a
time when he widened the circle of international cities where he felt at
home and cemented partnerships with Saudi Arabia's influential business

Johann de Villiers, chairman of Global Diamond Resources, was struck by
Kadi's self-assurance and intelligence.

De Villiers was introduced to Kadi in 1998 by a ranking executive of the
Saudi bin Laden Group, a multinational consortium of businesses owned by the
bin Laden family, which has cut its ties with Osama bin Laden.

Wearing subdued business suits in meetings in London and Dubai, Kadi spoke
English with only a slight accent. He never mentioned politics, his
charitable work or his time in the United States, de Villiers said. His
focus was on business.

"Whenever he agreed to do anything, he did it," de Villiers said. "He was a
man of his word."

Through New Diamond Corp. Limited, an offshore investment company he
controls, Kadi took stakes in Global Diamond and another multinational gem
company, but both have struggled financially. Kadi's $3 million stake in
Global Diamond has shrunk in value to just $750,000 as the company's stock
is trading at 8 cents a share.

Met bin Laden in 1980s

Kadi said he met Osama bin Laden at religious gatherings during the 1980s.
But he said the encounters were unremarkable at a time when bin Laden's
battle against the Soviets in Afghanistan attracted U.S. government support
and donations from mosques around the United States. Kadi described himself
as a man of peace whose business conduct and charitable donations bear out
his support of values shared by Americans.

But the charity Kadi ran from 1992 to roughly 1997, drawing some $15 million
to $20 million from his fortune and contributions from his wealthy
colleagues, would be linked with bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorist organization
by U.S. investigators and overseas news reports.

With branch offices in central Europe, Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia and
Ethiopia, among other places, Kadi's Blessed Relief charity said it
distributed food, clothing and medical equipment to those suffering from
famine or war.

A Treasury Department citation issued when Kadi's accounts were frozen
earlier this month called Blessed Relief a bin Laden "front that receives
funding from wealthy Saudi businessmen."

Blessed Relief, called Muwafaq in Arabic, has a puzzling history. During the
early 1990s, it ostensibly was headquartered in the Channel Island of
Jersey, in the offices of a local trust administration firm.

But Blessed Relief did no business from the island, according to Detective
Inspector David Minty of the Island of Jersey Police, and the island-based
trustee for the charity resigned two years after Blessed Relief was founded.

Kadi and several wealthy Saudi business partners also formed a for-profit
investment company with the same name in the tax haven of the Isle of Man,
according to records from the General Registry of that island.

The charity worked in countries and battlegrounds where bin Laden also was
active, although it is unclear what relationship, if any, existed between
Blessed Relief and Al Qaeda in those places.

In 1995, press reports circulated from Bosnia-Herzegovina that Blessed
Relief was being used to fund the Muslim-led Bosnia fighters in their battle
against Serbs and Croats.

Ayadi Chafiq bin Muhammad, the former head of Blessed Relief's mission in
Zagreb, Croatia, also was placed on the Treasury list of bin Laden-linked
people and firms released this month. Born in Tunisia, bin Muhammad, 38, was
known under four aliases and had addresses in Germany, Belgium and Austria.
He is believed to have left Britain shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, and
his whereabouts are unknown.

Raid at Pakistani office

Investigating possible links between Blessed Relief and terrorism, Pakistani
police reportedly raided the charity's Islamabad office in 1995, after the
arrest of Ramzi Yousef for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York.
According to press reports from Pakistan, the police held the charity's
chief local officer in prison for several months before releasing him
without charges. Blessed Relief closed soon after. The charity's Pakistan
lawyer, Farrukh Karim Qureshi, declined to comment on the case.

In 1998, according to a senior U.S. official, the Saudi government audited
the Jiddah-based National Commercial Bank and found that $3 million in bank
funds was funneled improperly to Blessed Relief, which allegedly transferred
the money to bin Laden.

After the alleged audit, Saudi government agencies bought out Chairman
Khalid bin Mahfouz's 50 percent ownership of the bank.

National Commercial Bank senior officials vehemently denied the existence of
a government audit showing that money had been diverted to the charity and
transferred to bin Laden.

"I can tell you absolutely, categorically there was no such audit," one bank
executive said. "That never took place."

Bin Mahfouz family spokesman Cherif Sedky said in a written statement that
the family never had supported terrorism in any way, and was "shocked and
angered by the suggestion" that it had.

Kadi claimed he never heard of the affair until earlier this month, when
asked about it by the Tribune.

"There is no $3 million going to Osama bin Laden, never," Kadi said. "It
isn't possible. I've never heard of this. Never."

Loan linked to Hamas

Unlike that of any other person on the Treasury Department list, an earlier
part of Kadi's story spilled from classified reports into the public record
of a 1998 federal lawsuit.

In 1991, Kadi loaned $820,000 to the Quranic Literacy Institute, an Oak
Lawn-based group formed to disseminate the Koran and Muslim texts. Kadi said
he made the loan because of his friendship with the literacy institute's
president, whom he met at a Sunday lecture in the Chicago area.

Kadi said the money was intended to allow the institute to make a land
investment, which would yield profits that would support its charitable

The loan "was to open a peaceful dialogue between civilizations," he said.
"The books we helped publish helped Americans understand Islam more."

But in a 1998 affidavit, the FBI alleges that Kadi's money was laundered
through a DuPage County real estate deal to yield $107,000 that went to a
small band of U.S.-based Hamas activists.

Hamas, a 14-year-old militant Palestinian organization, funds West Bank
medical clinics and Gaza Strip meal programs, while its Web site takes
credit for a "glory record" of 85 attacks against Israeli citizens and

Bridgeview connection

The man who allegedly distributed the Hamas money in the West Bank was
Muhammad Salah, a Jerusalem-born used-car dealer and grocery clerk who had
settled in Bridgeview.

In January 1993, Israeli police arrested Salah as he tried to cross a Gaza
Strip checkpoint and held him for questioning for two months, then charged
Salah with passing out more than $100,000 to Hamas military cells in several
West Bank and Gaza cities. Israeli authorities confiscated $96,400 more from
Salah's East Jerusalem YMCA hotel room.

Salah told Israel he knew nothing about Hamas military activity and was
distributing cash as a humanitarian activity.

But in 1995, Salah pleaded guilty in an Israeli military court to aiding
Hamas, and the U.S. Treasury Department added him to a list of specially
designated terrorists. Three years later, after Salah returned to
Bridgeview, the U.S. government filed an unprecedented civil forfeiture
complaint to confiscate $1.4 million in assets that belonged to Salah and
the Quranic Literacy Institute. Included in that was money generated by
Kadi's $820,000 loan to the organization, court records show.

Says conviction tainted

Through his attorney, Salah says his criminal conviction in Israel should be
disregarded, claiming it was based on fabricated evidence. Despite the
forfeiture proceedings against him, he points out that he has not been
charged with a crime in the United States. The Quranic Literacy Institute
also denies all ties to terrorism.

Salah's alleged Hamas handler, Musa Abu Marzook, was arrested by U.S.
authorities in 1995 to face extradition for allegedly overseeing 10 Hamas
terrorist strikes from 1990 to 1994.

In extraditing Marzook, who ended up in Syria, U.S. District Court Judge
Kevin Thomas Duffy cited a piece of evidence he found "especially
damning"--a lengthy handwritten report Salah gave to Israeli agents he
mistook for Hamas comrades while he was in jail.

From a pool of Palestinian applicants, Salah wrote, he culled 27 promising
fighters and sorted them according to their expertise in chemical materials,
toxins, physics, military education and knowledge of computers. Dropouts and
misfits reduced his cadre to two men.

This small band met at Salah's Bridgeview home and accepted his plane
tickets to Syria, where holy warriors hardened in Afghanistan taught them to
make car bombs and throw grenades, according to Salah's statement and court
papers filed by U.S. prosecutors.

To fund their activities, Salah used wire transfers totaling more than
$700,000 from Europe and the Middle East.

Loan's path murky

But while some of that money can clearly be traced to weapons purchases and
assaults on Israelis, the course taken by Kadi's $820,000 loan is harder to
discern from the FBI affidavit and other court files. The real estate deal
was marked by subterfuge and misleading records--no public documents
indicate Kadi's role in financing the land deal, for example.

Kadi never made an effort to recover his money, leading prosecutors to
express doubts that it was a charitable loan.

"Curiously, despite a manifestly large stake in the matter," neither Kadi
nor his representatives ever filed a claim for the money, prosecutors said
in court documents.

Kadi said he did not seek the return of his money because the institute
subsequently asked to use it for a separate real estate deal, a church and

"It was for a holy project, a better place," Kadi said.

He said he has a written agreement with the institute on the project but
declined to provide it.

Tribune staff reporters Paul Salopek in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia; Stephen J.
Hedges in London; and Karen Brandon in San Diego contributed to this report.


FBI Terror Probes Focus on U.S. Muslims
Expanded Investigations, New Tactics Stir Allegations of Persecution
Washington Post

In the tidy working-class suburb of Bridgeview, Ill., Mohammad Salah
instructed children in the Koran. He prepared the dead for burial at
his local mosque. And he observed the solemn Muslim obligation of
zakat, giving generously to charity with the conviction that all things
belong to God.

But the FBI says Salah's idea of zakat included nearly $1 million in
donations to the Palestinian extremist group Hamas, some of it for
Uzis, rifles and other weapons. In their first use of a new law
targeting the assets of terrorism supporters, prosecutors have seized
Salah's bank accounts and are trying to take his house -- all without a
criminal trial.

The Justice Department's case against Salah is one of the few public
signs of a dramatically expanded set of investigations of Muslim
Americans suspected of aiding overseas terrorists. Emboldened by tough
new anti-terrorism laws and huge increases in anti-terrorism funding,
the FBI is scrutinizing at least 20 U.S. groups with suspected links to
terrorists, including some tied to Osama bin Laden, the alleged
ringleader in the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

In the case of bin Laden, authorities have focused on Wadih el Hage, a
Texas man charged in connection with the embassy bombings, as the main
cog in a network that allegedly also included a former sergeant in the
U.S. Army, Ali A. Mohamed, who was arrested last month in New York.
Officials also are scrutinizing the activities of a now-defunct Muslim
group in Brooklyn, the Alkifah Refugee Center, some of whose members
were convicted of bombing the World Trade Center in 1993.

Grand juries in New York, Chicago and Tampa are investigating other
Islamic groups, and the FBI has sharply stepped up its applications for
secret wiretaps designed to combat terrorism on U.S. soil. Officials
say the heightened vigilance is needed to monitor an expanding number
of threats -- from a Detroit man who allegedly tried to smuggle high-
tech surveillance gear to Middle East terrorists to an American network
of Iranian students who allegedly spy for Tehran.

The investigations are drawing on broad powers granted by Congress to
fight terrorism after the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City
bombings. The new laws give the FBI greater leeway to pursue possible
associates of terrorists even when they are not suspected of specific
offenses. The statutes also make it a crime to send money to foreign
groups the State Department classifies as terrorist, and bolster the
government's ability to use classified information to detain suspected
terrorism supporters in immigration cases.

Meanwhile, Congress has boosted the FBI's counterterrorism budget from
$118 million to $286 million since 1995, and the number of FBI
employees assigned to anti-terrorism matters has more than doubled, to
2,650. Under FBI Director Louis J. Freeh, counterterrorism, once
considered a career dead-end, has become a marquee assignment.
Still, officials acknowledge that their main focus is on Muslim
individuals and groups.

"We have a problem with Islamic terrorism," said a senior Justice
official. "If we had a problem with Latvian terrorism, we'd focus on

Officials argue that because bin Laden and other Muslim radicals have
declared war on America, they cannot ignore their supporters here. Some
experts believe Middle Eastern terrorists are increasingly dependent on
their U.S. allies. Hamas, for example, raises about one-third of its
$30 million annual budget in this country and Europe, University of
terrorism experts say.

Investigators claim some important victories to justify their
aggressive approach.

The first person charged using the "material support" provisions of the
anti-terrorist law was Fawzi "Frank" Mustapha Assi, a Ford Motor Co.
engineer who lives in Dearborn, Mich., with his wife and three
children. As the result of what his attorney believes was a tip, the
FBI, with authorization from the Justice Department's wiretap court,
started in February watching him 24 hours a day, tapping his phones and
sifting through his garbage.

On July 13, Assi was stopped at the Detroit airport on his way to
Lebanon. In his luggage agents found $124,000 worth of electronics: two
global-positioning satellite units, seven pairs of night-vision goggles
and an infrared imaging camera. The FBI says Assi said that he was
delivering the gear to contacts in Hezbollah, or Party of God, an
Iranian-backed group in Lebanon that attacks Israeli forces and is on
the State Department's terrorism list. The FBI said Assi also tried to
discard, in trash bins around Dearborn, documents about Israeli cabinet
members and the locations of their offices.

Assi, charged with export law violations and giving material support to
terrorists, insisted he was an apolitical family man with no ties to
Hezbollah. A judge released him on bail with an electronic bracelet. A
few days later he fled, reportedly to Lebanon. "It's peculiar," said
Assi's attorney, David Steingold. "I really thought the FBI was off-
base. Now I don't know what to think."

Salah, a U.S. citizen, has denied any links to violence. But American
officials describe him as a "high-level operative" for Hamas who
financed armed attacks on Israelis. He served five years in an Israeli
prison for alleged terrorist activities before returning last November
to Chicago, where he had first moved from the Middle East in 1970 and
where, according to Israeli officials, he taught Palestinian students
how to make car bombs.

The FBI says Salah also made several trips to the West Bank and Gaza to
help a top Hamas leader named Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook, a longtime
Fairfax County resident who was deported to Jordan in 1996. In hundreds
of pages of public documents, the FBI has outlined a complex series of
covert real estate deals it says were designed to launder $820,000 from
a Saudi company to Hamas. Eventually, most of the money ended up in
Salah's bank account after transfers from accounts controlled by
Marzook in McLean.

While Salah has not been charged with a crime here, FBI agents tail him
everywhere and question people he meets. In June, prosecutors filed an
unprecedented "forfeiture complaint" seizing his bank accounts and
taking steps to remove him, his wife, Azita, and their four young
children from their house. They seized another $1 million from the
Quranic Literacy Institute, an Islamic group that had a hand in the
real estate deals.

Salah admits that some of his funds may have flowed to the wing of
Hamas. U.S. officials say Hamas's "political" leaders also oversee the
clandestine "military" wing that has killed scores of Israelis in
bombings and executed hundreds of Palestinian "collaborators." U.S.
officials also say donations to Hamas charities free funds for the
military cells, which promise lifetime assistance to the families of
suicide bombers. The charities also indoctrinate and recruit
Palestinians to Hamas's radical cause, the officials say.

"Hamas uses the contributions to build support for itself both in
social services and 'military' operations," said Richard Ward, a
University of Illinois terrorism expert. "I'm surprised at how
successful it's been moving into the U.S."

Ismail Selim Elbarasse, 51, an accountant from Falls Church, is in
prison in New York for refusing to appear before a grand jury
investigating money-laundering. Agents are reviewing the funds handled
by Elbarasse, including bank accounts he shared with Marzook. Before he
was jailed, Elbarasse worked as comptroller of the Islamic Saudi
Academy, a Saudi-financed school under construction in Loudoun County.

Abdelhaleem Ashqar, a fund-raiser for Palestinian causes who lives in
Fairfax County, was also held in prison for several months for
boycotting the same New York grand jury.

Civil libertarians say FBI probes of some Muslim groups show the bureau
equates anti-American rhetoric with terrorism. But officials insist
they have evidence that the groups encourage subversion or terrorist
groups abroad.

Anjoman Islamie, a student group, "is comprised almost exclusively of
fanatical, anti-American, Iranian Shiite Muslims," Dale Watson, the
FBI's counterterrorism chief, said in Senate testimony earlier this
year. Watson said Tehran "relies heavily" on the students for low-level
intelligence, and could use them to mount operations against U.S.

The Islamic Association of Palestine, a Dallas-based group that
distributes Hamas literature, has seen many members questioned by the
FBI. "IAP is a Hamas front," said former FBI counterterrorism chief
Oliver "Buck" Revell. "It's controlled by Hamas, it brings Hamas
leaders to the U.S., it does propaganda for Hamas."

IAP President Amer al-Shawa said his group shares many ideals with
Hamas, and acknowledged that speakers at IAP events at times take
extreme anti-Jewish and anti-American stands

The Holy Land Foundation, based in Richardson, Tex., is the nation's
largest Islamic charity, sending $2 million a year to Palestinian
causes. Israeli officials say it is a Hamas front because it provides
money to the families of Hamas activists killed or in prison.

After one PFLP fund-raiser in 1986, an agent reported that his
colleagues -- who did not speak Arabic -- had discerned from posters of
Palestinians with AK-47 rifles and the "general mood" that the
group "was not attempting to raise money for a humanitarian cause. The
music . . . sounded militaristic."

Perhaps the most prominent secret evidence case involves Mazen al-
Najjar, a University of South Florida professor jailed in Tampa since
May 1997. Federal agents describe him and his brother-in-law, fellow
USF professor Sami al-Arian, as "mid-level operatives" for the
Palestinian Islamic Jihad group. The two men worked at a Muslim think
tank whose former administrator, Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, is now the
read more


U.S. Eyes Money Trails of Saudi-Backed Charities

By David B. Ottaway
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 19, 2004; Page A01

SAN DIEGO -- Omar Abdi Mohamed, a lanky, soft-spoken political refugee from war-ruined Somalia in East Africa, had been preaching the word of Islam in the United States for the past nine years. Two things make him unusual.

In January, U.S. immigration authorities arrested him, saying they suspected him of being a conduit for terrorist funds, federal court records show. At the time, he was on the payroll of Saudi Arabia's government.

Mohamed was one of 30 Saudi-financed preachers in this country. Each month, the Saudis paid $1,700 to the 44-year-old, who taught the Koran at a run-down Somali social center here. He worked with little supervision from Saudi religious authorities 8,000 miles away. In the late 1990s, he set up a small charity to help famine victims in Somalia, and that is how his trouble began.

The charity received $326,000 over three years from the Global Relief Foundation, a private Islamic charity based in Illinois. In October 2002, the U.S. Treasury Department designated Global Relief a terrorist-financing entity linked to al Qaeda.

The collision of Saudi missionary work and suspicions of terrorist financing in San Diego illustrates the perils and provocations of a multibillion-dollar effort by Saudi Arabia to spread its religion around the world. Mohamed worked on the front lines of that effort, a campaign to transform what outsiders call "Wahhabism," once a marginal and puritanical brand of Islam with few followers outside the Arabian Peninsula, into the dominant doctrine in the Islamic world. The campaign has created a vast infrastructure of both government-supported and private charities that at times has been exploited by violent jihadists -- among them Osama bin Laden.

Nearly three years after the devastating Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a number of Saudi-supported Islamic preachers, centers, charities and mosques remain under intense scrutiny. U.S. investigators continue to look into the tangled money trails leading from Saudi Arabia to its embassy in Washington and into dozens of American cities.

At the end of one trail is Mohamed. Another avenue of interest involves the global finances of the al Haramain Islamic Foundation, a large Saudi-government-supported charity set up to propagate Wahhabism and sometimes referred to as "the United Way of Saudi Arabia." Al Haramain, which has an office in Ashland, Ore., sent Mohamed $5,000.

The commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks stated in its July report that al Qaeda had relied heavily on international charities to raise money, "particularly those with lax external oversight and ineffective internal controls such as the Saudi-based al Haramain Islamic Foundation." The report added that al Qaeda found "fertile fund-raising groups" in Saudi Arabia, "where extreme religious views are common and charitable giving was both essential to the culture and subject to very limited oversight."

The Saudis say they have taken more steps than any other country to crack down on terrorist financing. They say the problem is not with their religion but with a small minority of deviants.

The Saudi government has severed ties with Mohamed, who is charged only with immigration violations, but he insists he did nothing wrong. A hearing is set for Sept. 1 in San Diego. The terrorist suspicions against Mohamed appear to rest on financial transactions that raise questions but do not provide answers, court records show. Global Relief denies it funds terrorism.

The Saudis are also shutting al Haramain offices worldwide. In June, the Treasury Department put the charity's former head in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on its list of known supporters of terrorism for providing "financial, material and logistical support to the al Qaeda network."

Wahhabism arose in the mid-18th century in central Saudi Arabia. Mohammad Ibn Abdul Wahab sought to purify Islam and return it to its 7th-century roots. He preached doctrines based on a strict adherence to the literal word of the Koran. He opposed music and adornment, insisted that women be cloaked and disdained nonbelievers, even members of other Muslim sects.

Scholars of Islam find it difficult to precisely assess the impact of 40 years of Saudi missionary work on the United States' multi-ethnic Muslim community -- estimated at 6 million to 7 million. But survey data are suggestive.

The most comprehensive study, a survey of the 1,200 U.S. mosques undertaken in 2000 by four Muslim organizations, found that 2 million Muslims were "associated" with a mosque and that 70 percent of mosque leaders were generally favorable toward fundamentalist teachings, while 21 percent followed the stricter Wahhabi practices. The survey also found that the segregation of women for prayers was spreading, from half of the mosques in 1994 to two-thirds six years later.

John L. Esposito, a religion scholar at Georgetown University, said the Saudi theological efforts have resulted in "the export of a very exclusive brand of Islam into the Muslim community in the United States" that "tends to make them more isolationist in the society in which they live."

The Export of Islam

The worldwide export of Wahhabi Islam began in 1962, when Saudi Arabia's ruling Saud family founded the Muslim World League in Mecca to promote "Islamic solidarity." The Sauds were seeking to counter the fiery pan-Arab nationalism of Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, who was calling for the Saudi monarchy to be overthrown.

The family also saw the export of Islam, which they call "Dawah," as a sacred duty. Their land was the birthplace of Islam and their kingdom host to the religion's two holiest mosques, in Mecca and Medina.

Western diplomats stationed in Riyadh liken the Sauds' fervor to the zeal of the United States' own fundamentalist sects. "For Saudi Arabia to stop Dawah would be a negation of itself," said Sherard Cowper-Coles, the British ambassador to the kingdom. "It would be like Bush telling Evangelical Christians to stop missionary work abroad."

In the 1960s, the kingdom was sparsely populated and still relatively poor. It had no trained foot soldiers to run the Muslim league. So the royal family enlisted scores of Egyptian teachers, scholars and imams belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, a highly secretive movement of political activists dedicated to restoring Islamic rule over secular Arab societies.

By 1982, the Saud family was feeling threatened by the Islamic revolution begun by Shiite Muslim leader Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran and the extremism of some of its own citizens, who had temporarily seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca in 1979. Again, the family turned to Dawah.

King Fahd issued a directive that "no limits be put on expenditures for the propagation of Islam," according to Nawaf Obaid, a Saudi oil and security analyst. Saudi Arabia now had the money: Its oil revenue had skyrocketed after the 1973 oil embargo. King Fahd used the cash to build mosques, Islamic centers and schools by the thousands around the world. Over the next two decades, the kingdom established 200 Islamic colleges, 210 Islamic centers, 1,500 mosques and 2,000 schools for Muslim children in non-Islamic countries, according to King Fahd's personal Web site. In 1984, the king built a $130 million printing plant in Medina devoted to producing Saudi-approved translations of the Koran. By 2000, the kingdom had distributed 138 million copies worldwide.

Exactly how much has been spent to spread Wahhabism is unclear. David D. Aufhauser, a former Treasury Department general counsel, told a Senate committee in June that estimates went "north of $75 billion." Edward L. Morse, an oil analyst at Hess Energy Trading Co. in New York, said King Fahd tapped a special oil account that set aside revenue from as much as 200,000 barrels a day -- $1.8 billion a year at 1980s oil prices. Saudi oil expert Obaid confirmed such an account existed in the 1980s and 1990s but said it was recently closed.

Ministry's Far Reach

After the Persian Gulf War in 1991, radical elements in the kingdom and in the Muslim Brotherhood excoriated the Sauds for calling in the Americans to defend them. In response, King Fahd tightened control over the missionary-and-charity campaign and tried to purge it of Brotherhood influence, setting up a new Saudi-supervised charity, al Haramain.

As part of this effort, the Saudis created an Islamic affairs ministry in 1993 that was intended to be the key institution for exporting Wahhabism. The ministry, officially known as the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowment, Call and Guidance, is led by Saleh Sheik, a direct descendant of Ibn Abdul Wahab.

The goal of moderating Brotherhood-like militancy was only partly successful. Saudi scholars and sources say the ministry has become a stronghold of zealots.

The Islamic affairs ministry is located in a nondescript concrete-and-glass structure in the Malaz district of Riyadh, near the city's old airport. There, in an interview at his office in March, Sheik said the ministry meets weekly to "coordinate the Islamic policies of the different ministries outside the country."

The ministry's outreach is formidable. It pays the salaries of 3,884 Wahhabi missionaries and preachers, who are six times as numerous as the 650 diplomats in Saudi Arabia's 77 embassies. Ministry officials in Africa and Asia often have had more money to dispense than Saudi ambassadors, according to several Saudi sources. The Islamic affairs officials also act as religious commissars, keeping tabs on the moral behavior of the kingdom's diplomats. In the United States, a 40-person Islamic Affairs Department established in the Saudi Embassy in Washington became something of an independent body, with little supervision from the often absent ambassador, Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

Sheik estimated the Islamic affairs ministry's budget at $530 million annually and said it goes almost entirely to pay the salaries of the more than 50,000 people on the ministry payroll . That figure does not include the hundreds of millions of dollars in personal contributions made by King Fahd and other senior Saudi princes to the cause of propagating Islam at home and abroad, according to a Saudi analyst who insisted on anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. The real total spent annually spreading Islam is between $2 billion and $2.5 billion, he said.

Sheik said his ministry "supervises" charities abroad to "make sure their funds go to the right places" and also provides religious books and scholars for Saudi-supported Islamic centers, schools and universities. But it has "no direct responsibility" for them, he said.

Sheik is the direct supervisor of one charity supported by the Saudi government, al Haramain, which added an entirely separate army of 3,000 missionaries to the 3,884 on the ministry payroll.

Al Haramain's annual budget, $40 million to $60 million, paid for mosques, schools, Korans, wells, food and Saudi-approved veils, as well as scores of health clinics and orphanages in some of the poorest corners of the world. It operated in 50 countries.

In October 1997, the charity established its first U.S. presence when it incorporated in Ashland, Ore. It listed as its board president Aqeel Abdulaziz Aqil, who had been general manager for the charity since its founding. He operated from the Riyadh headquarters.

Everything changed for al Haramain with the worldwide crackdown on terrorist funding that followed the Sept. 11 attacks. By March 2002, U.S. and Saudi authorities had designated al Haramain offices in Bosnia and Somalia as terrorist-supporting organizations that had diverted charitable money to al Qaeda and a suspected Somali terrorist group, Al Ittihad Al Islamiya.

Two years later, on Feb. 13, 2004, IRS officials raided the Ashland office, saying there was "probable cause" that two top al Haramain officers had violated U.S. currency laws and filed false tax returns to cover the transfer of money to Muslim rebels fighting in Chechnya. (U.S. authorities so far have brought no formal charges against those officers, and the Oregon office remains open.) Aqil was fired in January. Six months later, U.S. officials designated him a terrorist supporter because of his alleged contacts with the Somali group Al Ittihad, the same organization that Omar Abdi Mohamed in San Diego is suspected of aiding.

By then, 15 al Haramain branches had been shut down, including those in Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Albania and the Netherlands.

In his interview with a Washington Post reporter in March, Sheik defended the charity. His ministry's own investigation did not find "any major mistakes" by the charity's leadership, except by its director, Aqil.

"The mistakes of individuals should not be attributed to the whole institution," Sheik said.

In June, however, the Saudi government announced that al Haramain was being closed down and that the Islamic affairs ministry would be stripped of its role as the main overseer of missionary work. A government-run commission under the Foreign Ministry now has that responsibility.

But the commission does not oversee the three other major Saudi-based-and-financed charities -- the Muslim World League, the World Assembly of Muslim Youth and the International Islamic Relief Organization. Also independent of the commission is at least one private Saudi charity, al-Muntada al-Islami. The charity, based in London, works primarily in Africa and publishes an English-language Islamic monthly, Al-Jumuah, which is distributed in the United States.

These four Saudi charities recently formed a U.S.-based trade group, the Friends of Charities Association, and hired the Belew law firm in Washington to represent their interests.

In the United States, Saudi Arabia's infrastructure of preachers and money started as a bulwark against the spread into American mosques of radical Shiism, which surged after Khomeini deposed the shah of Iran.

"Many countries in the West asked Saudi Arabia to get involved in these [Islamic] centers because at that time Saudi Arabia was considered moderate," Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Faisal said in an interview in March. The Americans "felt comfortable with the presence of the Saudis," he said.

Backed by Saudi money, this presence grew rapidly. King Fahd's Web site now lists 16 Islamic and cultural centers that the kingdom has helped finance in California, Missouri, Michigan, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Maryland. The largest is the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, a suburb of Los Angeles. The mosque, built with $8 million in private donations from the king and his son, Crown Prince Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz, was officially inaugurated in 1998 for 2,000 worshipers. It includes a Koranic school, an Islamic research center and a bookstore.

The Islamic Affairs Department at the Saudi Embassy in Washington spearheaded the campaign. At its height, the department had 35 to 40 diplomats and an annual budget of $8 million, according to a Saudi official.

In 1989, the Saudis also set up a high-powered Islamic learning center, the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America, in Fairfax. The institute is an outpost of the Imam Muhammed Ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, the main citadel for Wahhabi instruction.

The Islamic affairs ministry sent imams and itinerant preachers to the United States as well: As late as last year, it had 31 on its payroll, including Omar Abdi Mohamed in San Diego.

The ministry also flooded the American Muslim community with Saudi-published Korans and publications. "The great majority of books and magazines were authored by Saudi agencies," said Maher Hathout, chairman of the Islamic Center of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Hathout, an outspoken critic of Wahhabism, said the result was the increasing isolation of women in American mosques starting in the 1980s. "Mosques became gender-segregated, which didn't make any sense at all," he said.

The commentary accompanying the Saudi-published Koran, Hathout said, was "very alien to the spirit of tolerance" in U.S. society. "This may have sense over there [in Saudi Arabia] but doesn't make any sense here," he said.

In the 1990s, a "sharp debate" raged in U.S. mosques over Saudi fundamentalism, said Ihsan Bagby, chief author of the study "The Mosque in America." Radical "nongovernmental Saudi sheiks" became very active in pushing a far more militant brand of Wahhabism than the government-appointed imams, Bagby said. These radicals cultivated American Muslims, who used Saudi money to build their own mosques, he said.

In May 2003, the State Department refused reentry to the chief imam of the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, Fahad al Thumairy, who also was a Saudi diplomat at the consulate in Los Angeles. The Sept. 11 commission report later said the State Department had determined "he might be connected with terrorist activity."

The report also said that two of the Sept. 11 hijackers, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar, "spent time at the King Fahd mosque and made some acquaintances there." Al Thumairy, who reportedly led an "extremist faction" at the mosque, denied knowing the two hijackers. While his denial was "somewhat suspect," the report said there was no evidence connecting him to the hijackers.

Last December, the State Department ended the practice of allowing religious scholars and missionaries to work here on Saudi diplomatic passports, forcing at least 24 out. The best-known deportee was Jaafar Idris, a Sudanese scholar well known in the Islamic world and founder of the American Open University, based in Alexandria, which in 2002 had 540 registered students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in Islamic studies.

Also crippled by the crackdown was the Institute for Islamic and Arabic Sciences. Eleven of its scholars on diplomatic passports were ordered to leave. In early July, dozens of FBI, customs and IRS agents raided the institute's premises and questioned its six remaining non-Saudi teachers.

Late last year, the Saudi Embassy in Washington dissolved its Islamic Affairs Department, reducing the number of diplomats dealing with religious issues to one. The embassy also stopped distributing the Koran in the United States. At the same time, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs began reviewing its 31 missionaries and preachers in the United States. As of March, six had been fired.

The only one to go to jail was Omar Abdi Mohamed, the Somali teacher in San Diego.

Suspected Ties to Terrorism

A trader in hides, livestock and incense, Mohamed regularly visited Saudi Arabia in the 1980s. During one of his trips, he said, he was recruited by the kingdom's religious authorities in Mecca after being questioned about his knowledge of the Koran. In Somalia, preaching became a sideline for him, he said.

In 1989, Mohamed was jailed and tortured by the Somali military, which suspected him of involvement with the political opposition, according to statements Mohamed later made on his immigration documents. The following year, as Somalia degenerated into civil war, he was freed and fled to Canada. Five years later, he made his way to San Diego.

He had been recruited by a San Diego mosque to teach the Koran and Arabic to Somali children, he said later. He entered the United States on a religious worker's visa and received legal permanent resident status. The U.S. government would later say he never worked at the mosque that sponsored his visa.

Instead, Mohamed founded a small Koranic "school," actually just one room inside a shabby two-story Somali civic center in a section of City Heights nicknamed "Little Mogadishu," after Somalia's capital. Mohamed also worked part time as a social counselor for Somali children at a public school, which paid him $1,000 a month.

In 1997, Mohamed set up his charity, the Western Somali Relief Agency, to send money to Somalis facing famine in the Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia. Over the next four years, the agency received $326,000 from the Global Relief Foundation, court documents show.

In April 2000, Mohamed applied for U.S. citizenship. He had an interview with U.S. immigration officials in May 2002. By then, the Sept. 11 attacks had made U.S. officials wary of any Muslims applying for citizenship. Mohamed's background was checked, and the immigration officers asked him pointed questions about his relief agency and the money that had circulated through it, court documents show.

He did not tell them initially that he was being paid by the Saudis or that he had received money from Global Relief and al Haramain, the records show.

In January, he was called in for a second interview. Afterward, he was arrested and charged with making multiple false statements.

"You've received funding well over $200,000 from Global Relief," said Steve Schultz, an immigration officer, according to a transcript of Mohamed's interview. "They were shut down because they were providing aid to terrorism. Okay, we think you're involved in that."

In October 2002, the Treasury Department designated Global Relief, based in Bridgeview, Ill., a terrorist-linked organization because it "has provided assistance to Osama Bin Laden, the al Qaeda Network and other known terrorist groups," a Treasury news release stated.

Rabih Haddad, the co-founder of Global Relief, had belonged to an organization that was a precursor to al Qaeda. Charity officials had also had multiple contacts with the Taliban government in Afghanistan and bin Laden's personal secretary, who was convicted of participating in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

The Treasury Department release stated that photographs found in a trash bin outside Global Relief's office in Illinois depicted armed fighters and a shipment of sophisticated communications equipment worth $120,000. Videotapes stocked by Global Relief glorified armed jihad. "God equated martyrdom through JIHAD with supplying funds for the JIHAD effort," a 1995 Global Relief Foundation pamphlet stated. "All contributions should be mailed to: GRF."

U.S. investigators have been unable to track all of the money Mohamed received from Global Relief. The bulk of it went in checks written to Dahab Shil, an informal money transmitter in Chicago known among Muslims as a hawala. The 65 checks to Dahab Shil range from $370 to $60,000, according to court documents.

Mohamed said the money went to various local charities and tribal chiefs in the Ethiopian Ogaden. Transcripts of his interviews show U.S. officials suspect that some of it went to Al Ittihad Al Islamiya, the Somali terrorist group that the head of al Haramain has also been accused of dealing with.

During an interview in May at the federal prison in Otay Mesa, 15 miles south of San Diego, Mohamed insisted he was not a Wahhabi extremist, just a Muslim. He denied ever having contacts with Al Ittihad. With the loss of his $1,700 monthly stipend, his wife and six children live on a monthly welfare check of $1,178.

Research editor Margot Williams and researcher Alice Crites contributed to this report.


MIM: The scammers at the QLI terrorist funding front explained that their institution was just trying to "build a yawning and dangerous spiritual breach between the world's faith communities"...and showed a "rare willingness in a gaudy decade to cloister themselves in austere labor to this end..."

Islamic Group writes to Judge mentions injustices - Quranic Literacy Institute

23 November 2004

Hon. Judge Arlander Keys
United States District Court
Chicago IL

Dear Judge Keys:

Since June 8, 1998, the Quranic Literacy Institute has been defending a federal civil forfeiture of $1.4 million and then the civil suit that you now preside over.

An Institution that began with the inspiration to clarify the Sacred Text of Islam in order to help bridge a yawning and dangerous spiritual breach between the world's faith communities - and with the rare willingness in a gaudy decade to cloister itself in austere labor to achieve this end - now stands in the shadow of public disgrace, upon the precipice of that murky tribulation it foresaw and was created to illumine.

In the face of crushing legal costs to our non-profit institution, mounting social opprobrium against our religion, and the public branding of a scarlet indignity upon our own persons, families, and community, the Quranic Literacy Institute has made a plea to you to extend our trial date until the cases that directly and significantly impinge upon the one before you are vindicated at bar and to enable our lone lawyer, Mr. John Beal, to adequately address the several unforeseeable demands of this case that have come about as a result of legal proceedings beyond our ken or control and rulings you yourself have recently issued.

We cannot put on a limp, let alone vigorous, legal defense without this extension. Indeed, even with postponement, the promise of Muslims in America before a jury in this age of hysteria and terror is quite obviously thin. To compel us to trial at the unduly hasty date of 1 December 2004 is to impel us to an unjust and prejudged liability.

There can be no judicial efficacy in begrudging the Quranic Literacy Institute a request for time that it so direly needs before a trial of such fateful consequence. Our attorney has told us plainly and ethically that he cannot put on an earnest defense (and, therefore, will not) without, at least, a provision of two to four months, and even this is not optimal, given that, against our will, we have been locked into the plight of co-defendants for whom we cannot-yet somehow must-give account.

This case lays claim to a calendar of events that allegedly reach back more than 14 years. In excess of five years, moreover, we have patiently and in good faith abided every time request of the court and plaintiffs. Is there now sudden justice in the need for speed even when it clearly militates against a vulnerable party that begs so plausible a supplication after providing so credible a judgment plea?

I assert no legal expertise beyond common sense. But the decision you now make, Judge Keys, as to whether to grant our prayer to stay or to press unyieldingly ahead is, in effect, a predetermination of whether or not we shall be accorded the right to fair trial. When there is so much at stake, I can see no wholesome reason to rebuff us with such prejudice, nor do I expect that time will.


Amer Haleem
Quranic Literacy Institute

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