The FBI tonight is sorting through items seized from a Columbia office building this afternoon. The FBI served federal search warrants at the Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA) on Cherry Street. The FBI arrived shortly after two o'clock this afternoon. They took boxes, computers, and file cabinets from the IARA. Law enforcement officials also changed the locks of three storage units across town at Columbia Storage on Hickory Street.
A statement issued by the John Snow, the Secretary of the Treasury says, "the international offices of IARA were providing direct financial support to Usama bin Laden, al Qaida, Hamas and other terrorist groups." Special agent Jeff Lanza from the Kansas City bureau of the FBI says there is no need for citizens to worry about their safety. "I will say that this does not represent, there's nothing indicative of any type of threat to the community or imminent danger to anyone in Columbia at this point," says Lanza.
The Islamic American Relief Agency, also known as the Islamic African Relief Agency, was established in 1985 and says it has aided children and refugees in several countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. IARA is headquartered in Sudan and maintains over 40 offices throughout the world, including one in Columbia.
Federal officials will take the information they seized from the Columbia office, process it, and make a decision about whether to make any arrests. This is not the first time the agency has been under suspicion. According to U.S. News and World Report, government officials cancelled more than four million dollars in grants to the charity in December of 1999 with no explanation. U.S. News and World Report also says the Treasury Department was studying whether to freeze the assets of the charity in November 2001.
That same article also linked the charity with a man who had ties to Usama bin Laden's network. Federal prosecutors say Ziyad Khalil supplied bin Laden with a satellite telephone that bin Laden used in planning the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. Khalil was a student who lived in Columbia in the 90's.
By NATE CARLISLE And MIKE WELLS of the Tribune's staff Published Thursday, October 14, 2004
Federal agents removed cars, computers, file cabinets and boxes from an Islamic charity that has been accused of terrorist connections but whose workers say has done nothing wrong.
|Don Shrubshell photos |
|Above, federal agents remove a filing cabinet yesterday from the Islamic American Relief Agency, 201 E. Cherry St. Below, an Office of Foreign Assets Control agent closes the door to a storage unit rented by the relief agency at Columbia Storage, 1411 Hickory St. |
Authorities yesterday also searched the Columbia home of the executive director of the Islamic American Relief Agency, known as IARA-USA.
This morning, law officers removed items from storage lockers rented to the agency.
No one had been arrested as of this morning, and no charges had been filed.
The raids began on the same day the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated the charity's parent organization, the Islamic African Relief Agency, a financier of terrorism and announced a seizure of its assets. The Columbia-based charity was listed as one of its U.S. offices.
The treasury department yesterday accused the African agency of providing direct financial assistance to Osama bin Laden and terrorist organizations, including Hamas.
FBI spokesman Jeff Lanza said the seizures in Columbia did not result from any designations by the treasury department. Lanza said the FBI was acting on a search warrant but that all documents related to that warrant were sealed.
"This is part of an ongoing criminal investigation," Lanza said yesterday at the scene. He declined to provide details about the investigation or what law officers were seeking.
Ali Bagegni, one of the American agency's board members who was contacted yesterday by the Tribune while the raids were still occurring, said he was not aware of the federal activities. "There are no illegal things," Bagegni said of his agency's operations.
Fatten Elkomy, who says she's worked since 1999 in programming for IARA-USA and who was interviewed yesterday by federal agents, said the agency has no terrorist ties. "I've been working there serving orphans and children with at least one deceased parent," Elkomy said this morning, "and it just breaks my heart they're not going to get any help."
About 30 federal agents arrived at about 2:30 p.m. yesterday at the American agency's offices, 201 E. Cherry St. Over the course of about six hours, agents towed three vans registered to the relief agency, along with a vanload of computers and enough boxes and file cabinets to fill two-thirds of a 1-ton U-Haul truck.
The FBI also searched the home of Mubarak Hamed, IARA-USA's executive director. Police cordoned off Samantha Court on Columbia's western edge as agents packed unknown contents into a mid-size U-Haul truck and half a dozen cars. Authorities finished about 7 p.m.
At Columbia Storage, 1411 Hickory St., agents this morning removed boxes and two computers from three lockers rented by the agency.
Law enforcement agencies assisting in the search and seizure included the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Secret Service and police from Kansas City and Kansas City, Kan. Columbia police officers blocked traffic around the building.
On its Web site, the IARA-USA describes itself as a not-for-profit organization established in 1985 to raise money for relief assistance, foster care and orphanages in conflict-ridden areas in Africa, Asia, Bosnia and elsewhere.
The Columbia office called itself the Islamic African Relief Agency until May 2000, and two of the vehicles seized yesterday are still registered in that name.
Yesterday's declaration by the treasury department claimed the African agency, based in Khartoum, Sudan, provided direct financial support to bin Laden and is formerly affiliated with the precursor of al-Qaida. The department also claims the African agency comingled funds with bin Laden and his organization and participated in providing assistance to Taliban fighters.
The treasury department lists specific examples of IARA fund-raising for terrorism. In one instance, the department says the Afghan leader of the IARA in 2000 went on a fund-raising trip to Sudan and other Middle Eastern locations that raised $5 million for the activities of a bin Laden-run terrorist network.
Two federal agents interviewed Elkomy, 44, for about three hours yesterday. "All the conversation was trying to find how we do work and how I do work," she said this morning.
Elkomy said agents also asked about others who work at the Columbia agency. They also asked about organizations with which the agency collaborates, she said.
Hamed, 47, could not be reached for comment. He is an economist with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof, R-Columbia, said he did not receive advance notice of the searches and expected to be briefed today.
Arcenia Harmon and Miglena Sternadori of the Tribune's staff contributed to this report.
Agents search Islamic relief group
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Federal and local law enforcers were searching the Islamic American Relief Agency on Wednesday as part of what the FBI described generically as a criminal investigation.
The search of the Columbia office occurred as the Bush administration accused the Sudan-based Islamic African Relief Agency of helping finance Osama bin Laden and other terrorists.
The Treasury Department directed U.S. banks to block any assets found in this country belonging to the Islamic African Relief Agency and five designated officials. The department said the group, headquartered in Khartoum, Sudan, has more than 40 offices worldwide, including one in Columbia.
People wearing FBI outfits carried computers, cardboard boxes and file cabinets out of the Islamic group's Columbia office and loaded the equipment into a white van and U-Haul truck. Among those participating in the search was a man wearing a jacket of the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
FBI spokesman Jeff Lanza would not say whether the search was connected to terrorism. He also declined to characterize the investigation, saying the federal search warrant remained under seal.
"No one's being detained, and no one has been arrested," Lanza said.
The search began around 2:30 p.m. and involved 11 law enforcement agencies, Lanza said. FBI agents also were searching a Columbia home, Lanza said. He declined to elaborate.
The Islamic nonprofit group was formed in 1985, according to its Web site, and among other things provides emergency relief to refugees in Afghanistan. The group also promotes aid efforts in such places as Iran, Ethiopia, Mali and Bosnia. It is located near downtown Columbia, not far from the campus of the University of Missouri-Columbia.
The group's Web site offers the chance to sponsor an overseas orphan ($30 a month will provide a one-on-one sponsorship). The Islamic organization also provides vocational training and primary health care, including immunizations, nutrition counseling, prenatal care, infection disease prevention and clean water supplies, according to its Web site.
No one answered a phone call Wednesday at the Islamic American Relief Agency.
The U.S. Agency for International Development, which provides disaster or poverty aid to nations, awarded the Islamic American Relief Agency about $4.2 million in contracts in the 1990s for relief projects in northern Mali, USA Today reported in September 2001. The contracts were canceled in November 2000, when then-Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering wrote that continuing them "would be contrary to the national defense and foreign policy interest of the United States."
The Treasury Department alleged that the overseas branches of the Islamic African Relief Agency and five of its officials _ all listed as being outside the United States _ provided "hundreds of thousands of dollars" to bin Laden in 1999. Treasury also believes that as early as 2003 the group was responsible for moving money to the Palestinian territories to support terrorist activities and served "as a conduit to Hamas in one Western European country."
By Jeremy Kohler and Peter Shinkle
Of the Post-Dispatch
Sunday, Oct. 17 2004
For the third time in five years, the national hunt for terrorists is focused
on an unlikely site: a nondescript office in Columbia, Mo., downstairs from a
bridal shop and next door to a Walgreens.
The Islamic American Relief Agency has been situated near the University of
Missouri flagship campus for 19 years, ostensibly to raise money for children
in poor and war-torn countries. It did so for 14 years without appearing to
raise an eyebrow.
That changed when the U.S. State Department in 1999 revoked contracts worth
$4.2 million to the group, saying they were contrary to U.S. defense and
Then it was learned that a satellite phone bought by an associate of the group
was used by Osama bin Laden to plan bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa in
The disclosure caused some to worry in Columbia immediately after the 9/11
attacks. Residents pleaded for stepped-up FBI surveillance. Police, fearing
reprisals against the city's Muslims, increased patrols around the Islamic
Center of Central Missouri.
The United States finally took action last week, accusing the group of
funneling money to terrorists - notably bin Laden. The U.S. Treasury Department
froze the group's assets and made it a crime to contribute to the group.
Federal agents searched the group's offices, storage lockers and the home of
one of its directors, seizing documents and computers. It also raided the home
of a Muslim leader in Wolcott, Conn., with ties to the group.
No one was arrested. No individual was accused of actually being a terrorist.
And, it appeared, there was no threat to Columbia. Afterward, questions
If the Columbia office sponsors terrorism, then why wasn't anyone indicted?
What prompted the raids now?
Did the government know of a specific threat?
Answers were sparse. Neither the FBI nor the Treasury Department would detail
reasons behind the raids or the accusations of the Columbia organization's
links to bin Laden.
U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof, R-Columbia, said he was briefed Friday by the Office
of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence in the Treasury Department.
"Most importantly, they have once again assured me that Columbia is under no
immediate threat of danger," Hulshof said in a statement. "They stressed that
actions taken Wednesday were not taken to thwart any impending event."
Hulshof said that Treasury and FBI officials now have "the arduous task" of
combing through all the seized documents. "It is my assumption this will take
several weeks to complete," he said.
Meanwhile, principal members of the relief agency in Columbia were staying out
of the spotlight. None responded to phone messages or notes left on doorsteps
In the Columbia Tribune, agency board member Ali Bagegni was quoted as saying
about his group's operations, "There are no illegal things."
Fatten Elkomy, whom the Tribune said had worked as a programmer for the agency
since 1999, told the newspaper the group has no terrorist ties.
"I've been working there serving orphans and children with at least one
deceased parent, and it breaks my heart they're not going to get any help," she
was quoted as saying.
In an interview with the Post-Dispatch, Rashed Nizam, president of the Islamic
Center of Central Missouri in Columbia, said he was unaware of any terrorist
links involving the local charity.
"To our knowledge, this organization is helping the poor and orphans around the
world," he said. He added, though, that the government says it has information
it cannot reveal at this time.
"I hope the truth shall prevail," he said.
St. Louis activist Eric Vickers incorporated the Columbia group in 1985, he
said, on behalf of Sudanese college students who wanted to form a chapter of
the worldwide group Islamic African Relief Agency, which is based in Khartoum,
Columbia's chapter was initially formed as Islamic African Relief Agency United
States Affiliate. It changed its name to Islamic American Relief Agency in
2000, its public filings show.
Vickers was listed as recently as August as the group's registered agent. He
said Friday that he has not been involved since the mid-1990s and said he only
learned about the raids in the newspaper.
The goal of the founding members, whom Vickers said have long since returned to
Sudan, was to send money to hospitals and needy people in Africa.
"I'm proud of my work with them," he said. He said the group was not involved
Vickers, a former lawyer, is well known in St. Louis for organizing street
protests, such as one last year to win more contracts for minority companies by
shutting down MetroLink.
For a time, he headed the American Muslim Council in Washington. He resigned in
March 2003 after the council complained that Vickers had written an e-mail to
an online discussion group suggesting that the Columbia shuttle crash, with the
first Israeli astronaut aboard, might have been a message from God.
Vickers said his e-mail was misinterpreted. His real meaning, he said, was that
"this is a sign to America that in going to war - as great as our technology is
- it can still fail."
Vickers said there was no relationship - aside from him - between the Islamic
American Relief Agency in Columbia and the American Muslim Council.
But the American Muslim Council, too, has come under scrutiny.
In Alexandria, Va., on Friday, its founder was sentenced to 23 years in prison
for illegal financial dealings with Libya and for his role in a Libyan plot to
assassinate Saudi Arabia's de facto leader. Abdurahman Alamoudi, 52, had
pleaded guilty in July to accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from
high-ranking Libyan officials while serving as a go-between for them and Saudi
"Contrary" to U.S. interests
In 1998, the U.S. Agency for International Development awarded two contracts,
worth a total of $4.2 million, to the Columbia-based charity for development
projects in Mali. One project called for the agency to improve education, water
supplies and "income-generating activities," and the other was for children's
In December 1999, Thomas Pickering, undersecretary of state for political
affairs, demanded the cancellation of the contracts because they were "contrary
to the national defense and foreign policy interests of the United States," the
State Department has said.
While the projects were canceled, roughly $1 million had been disbursed to the
group, State Department spokesman Edgar Vasquez said Friday.
He said he could not discuss the exact reasons for Pickering's actions because
Pickering's letter canceling the contracts was classified.
Last week, the Treasury Department said the Sudan-based charity has 40 offices
around the world and uses them as part of its efforts to support bin Laden,
al-Qaida and other groups designated as terrorist, including the Palestinian
The Islamic African Relief Agency network provided assistance to Taliban
fighters, and a charity leader in Afghanistan raised $5 million for the Taliban
during a fund-raising trip in Sudan and in the Middle East in 2000, the
One bin Laden lieutenant served as the director of the network's operations in
Afghanistan and also was an expert in terrorism, bomb planning and guerrilla
operations, the department said.
The department also extended its ban to five foreign nationals involved with
the charity as terrorism supporters, including a Libyan who represents the
charity in Ireland. The man, Ibrahim Buisir, directed a cell for al-Qaida that
provided support to the terrorist network's operations in Europe, the
John W. Snow, the Treasury secretary, said last week's action "highlights the
important role of designations in the war on terrorist finance - freezing
assets that might otherwise have been used to support terrorists; preventing
future funds from flowing through tainted channels; and making clear to the
public and our international partners the conduits being used to fuel
Treasury Accuses Islamic Relief Agency of Aiding Terrorists
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration on Wednesday accused a Sudan-based relief organization and five of its officials of helping finance Osama bin Laden and other terrorists.
The Treasury Department's action means U.S. banks must block any assets found in this country belonging to the Islamic African Relief Agency and the five designated officials. People in the United States are not allowed to provide money to them.
The department said the group, headquartered in Khartoum, Sudan, has more than 40 offices worldwide, including one in Columbia, Mo. The five officials designated by Treasury are all listed as being outside this country.
A message seeking comment was left with the group's office in Missouri.
Treasury alleged that international offices of the Islamic African Relief Agency "provided direct financial support" for bin Laden. It also alleged that the group "engaged in a joint program with an institute controlled by (bin Laden) that was involved in providing assistance to Taliban fighters."
The government alleged that the overseas branches of the group provided "hundreds of thousands of dollars" to bin Laden in 1999. Treasury also believes that as early as 2003 the group was responsible for moving money to the Palestinian territories to support terrorist activities and served "as a conduit to Hamas in one Western European country."
The five officials designated Wednesday are Mohammed Ibrahim Sulaiman, listed by Treasury as secretary general at the group's headquarters in Khartoum; Jaffar Ahmad Abdullah Makki, south Asia region director; Abdul Aziz Abbakar Muhamad, Pakistan director; Khalid Ahmad Jumah Al-Sudani, Middle East regional director; and Ibrahim Buisir, representative in Ireland.
Meanwhile, the office in Missouri, which goes by the name of the Islamic American Relief Agency, was searched by federal and local law enforcement officials on Wednesday.
People wearing FBI outfits carried computers, cardboard boxes and a file cabinet out of the office and loaded the equipment into a white van and U-Haul truck. An FBI spokesman Jeff Lanza would not say whether the search was connected to terrorism. He also declined to characterize the investigation, saying the federal search warrant remained under seal.
Federal agents seize articles in ‘criminal investigation'
By JENNIFER MYERS
October 14, 2004
[see full size image] Thirteen law enforcement agencies, including Columbia Police, the U.S. Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, joined in a raid of the office of the Islamic American Relief Agency on Wednesday at 201 E. Cherry St. According to its Web site, the relief agency was formed in 1985 and provides health-care services and emergency relief to refugees and orphaned children in a variety of countries. (Photos by SHAUNA BITTLE/Missourian)
FBI agents removed computers, file cabinets, a fax machine and several boxes of unknown contents.
Federal agents seized cars, scores of boxes and 14 computers in a raid on the Islamic American Relief Agency near Providence and Broadway that began Wednesday afternoon and ended about six hours later. No arrests were made.
FBI Special Agent Jeff Lanza said the raid was part of a long-running, ongoing investigation of the agency.
The U.S. Department of Treasury said in a release Wednesday that the name Islamic American Relief Agency is one of the names used by some of the 40 organizations worldwide with links to the Islamic African Relief Agency, which the treasury department alleged to have links to Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida and the Taliban. On Wednesday, the department blocked "all accounts, funds and assets" of the Islamic African Relief Agency and its affiliates in the United States.
The department alleged that the overseas branches of the Islamic African Relief Agency provided "hundreds of thousands of dollars" to Bin Laden in 1999. The treasury department also believes that as early as 2003, the group was responsible for moving money to the Palestinian territories to support terrorist activities and served "as a conduit to Hamas in one Western European country."
FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation and Joint Terrorism Task Force agents along with state highway patrolmen and Columbia Police surrounded the organization's office in a small, nondescript brick building at 201 E. Cherry at about 2:30 p.m. At least two vans were searched and towed from the scene while nearly 30 agents worked inside the building, removing filing cabinets, binders, computers, a fax machine and sealed paper bags and boxes. One box was marked "posters of Iraq" in black marker.
The documents were seized under a warrant obtained by the FBI and other federal, state and local agencies under the authority of the Office of Foreign Asset Control.
"The warrant is being executed pursuant to an ongoing federal investigation," Lanza said. "It's a federal criminal investigation and the affidavit in support of the warrant is sealed."
Lanza would not say what agents were seeking but emphasized the warrant authorized a search, not arrests.
FBI agents were also searching a Columbia home, Lanza said. He would not elaborate.
Attempts to reach any of the individuals listed as directors on the agency's 2002 tax form were unsuccessful and no one answered the agency's phone.
Lorenzo Vidino of The Investigative Project, a Washington, D.C.-based counterterrorism research agency, said the Islamic American Relief Agency has been "used by the Sudanese government" to spread radical Islam, and "still is." The agency also has provided employment and financial support to Somali fundamentalists, he said.
Vidino said members of the agency's board are involved with other charities whose assets have been frozen, and some are under investigation themselves.
"We've been watching this charity for a long time, but we never had a smoking gun," said Vidino. "I suppose (the government) did."
Agents moved in and out of the building while police officers from various local, state and interstate agencies provided security around the building Wednesday.
Detective Jeff Westbrook of the Columbia Police Department said he arrived at the scene atabout 2 p.m.
"We're basically providing security," he said. "I don't know what's going on inside."
Officers with the Federal Air Marshals, the U.S. Secret Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Postal Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also involved. The Mobile Response Unit of the Columbia Police Department and one other large police vehicle were used as temporary operation bases while police cars closed off all entrances, including shutting off access to the Walgreens drive-through pharmacy window.
Lanza would not comment on whether the search was connected to the January request by the Senate Finance Committee to turn over IRS files on the Islamic American Relief Agency.
Rep. Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo., who asked the FBI before Sept. 11, 2001, to divulge any information it had about terrorism cells in Columbia, said he was not given advance notice of Wednesday's raid.
"There hasn't been any information exchanged between then and today and that's what's troubling — this was out of the blue," Hulshof said.
Hulshof said he would contact FBI officials today to find out what motivated them to act Wednesday.
Bernell Dorrough, Kate Moser, Jennifer Oladipo, Mike Burden, Robbie Ketcham, Heather Olson, Nadia Afifi and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
MIM : According to the' Guide Star' website donation report the IARA is "soliciting funds to be used in special projects" which includes Islamic propagation in Missouri public schools and money for Al Qaeda activities. The question remains as to how many donations came from state or federal institutions as well as large corporations.
|Islamic American Relief Agency - USA
201 East Cherry St. Ste D
PO Box 7084
Columbia, MO 65205
IARA provides emergency relief programs, sustainable development projects and child sponsorship internationally, predominantly in Africa and the Middle East.
This organization files an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ. It is a 501(c)(03) public charity. Information in this report was supplied by the nonprofit organization more than 24 months ago.
MIM: This 1997 Muslim Student Association list of "Muslim Relief Organisations list the IARA as the Islamic African Relief Agency. The list also provides contact information for groups such as Benevolence International, The Holyland Foundation, and Global Relief.
The above organisations as well as many others on the list have been shut down as terrorist funding fronts and are / or are currently under investigation by the US government. The MSA is also on a list of groups which are being scrutinized for links to terrorism. The URL of the MSA can be found listed as MAS/gateway Hamas.
Note that the IARA lists "cattle fattening" as one of their 'charitable' endeavors.
Islamic African Relief Agency - USA (IARA-USA)
P.O. Box 7084, Columbia, MO 65205 USA
Street Address: 201 E. Cherry, Suite D, Columbia, MO 65201
Email: [email protected]
Focus: IARA--USA is a non-profit humanitarian relief and developmental organization. Although originally established to help refugees and people affected by natural disasters, the agency has grown to include rehabilitation and development projects as well as relief. Some of the projects IARA has been involved in since it beginning in 1981 include; health care centers, schools, community education centers, farming programs, mobile veterinary clinics, solar-energy and saw dust stoves, planting shade trees, water pumps and water wells, land irrigation, cattle fattening, clothes distribution to the poor and displaced and income-generating training centers for women for people in not only Africa, but also the Middle East, Southern Asia, Bosnia and Kosova (Kosovo). IARA offers child sponsorship programs in 18 countries. Please contact our office for information concerning automatic deductions and bank transfers. All donations are tax deductible.
IARA-USA is a member of InterAction and is registered with USAid.
Entry updated: June 1997
http://japan.usembassy.gov/e/p/tp-20041015-22.htmlIslamic African Relief Agency Aiding Terrorists, U.S. Government Says
By Charles W. Corey
Washington File Staff Writer
Washington -- The U.S. Department of the Treasury October 13 announced its determination that the global network of the Islamic African Relief Agency (IARA) and five of its senior officials have been providing financial contributions to terrorist organizations.
The determination blocks all accounts, funds and assets of IARA in the United States and criminalizes the provision of money or support to any of the organization's more than 40 offices in the United States and worldwide.
In a written statement, Treasury Secretary John W. Snow said, "This action marks another crucial step in the United States Government's continuing efforts to close down the conduits that allow terrorists to raise and move money."
The international offices of IARA, headquartered in Khartoum, Snow said, "were providing direct financial support to Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida, Hamas and other terrorist groups.
"Today's action shuts down financial channels that were being used to propagate terrorist activity."
Snow said terrorists are intently seeking "to abuse charitable networks and organizations for their evil purposes."
"Today's action," Snow said, "highlights the important role of designations in the war on terrorist finance: freezing assets that might otherwise have been used to support terrorists; preventing future funds from flowing through tainted channels; and making clear to the public and our international partners the conduits being used to fuel terrorism."
Snow called the designation process "a key weapon in our arsenal to combat terrorism" but cautioned, "It represents just one of the tools at our disposal.
A host of U.S. government agencies work hand in hand to combat terrorist networks from every angle of attack, Snow explained. "The tools and expertise of our colleagues in law enforcement agencies, as well as the intelligence and diplomatic communities, all play indispensable roles in this fight," he added.
Under President Bush's leadership, Snow said, 393 individuals and entities have been designated as terrorists or terrorist facilitators and, working in concert with its global partners, the United States has frozen more than $142 million in terrorist-related assets.
MIM: Ibrahim Khaleel, the educational director of the Islamic American Relief Agency , and a staff member of the Columbia Missouri school district , wrote an article in the Muslim American Society magazine entitled :
"The Muslim Student in the Public Schools"
Khaleel gloated about the sucess of his Islamic propagation program among public school teachers which he brought in to the schools in the guise of diversity and sensitivity training but was aimed at conversion . Khaleel's own description of the program spells out the Islamist intent :
Explaining the obligation of Muslims to bring Islam to infidels and ;
To educate teachers and administrators how to best serve the needs of Muslim students"
Understanding the Muslim Student in Public Schools
Ibrahim Khaleel, Ph.D.
Allah (swt) has obligated Muslims to spread His words; however, it is up to Him whether or not they will be accepted. The urgency and importance of sharing Islam with non-Muslims in America has become even more glaring since the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
As there are many Muslim students in public schools throughout the United States, one of the means by which we can accomplish this is by working with public school teachers and administrators so that they will have a better understanding of our beliefs and how they can best serve Muslim students. Public school teachers have their students for up to eight hours a day, 180 days a year. Their perceptions of Islam are directly and indirectly affecting the attitude, self-esteem and performance of our children.
With this realization in mind, during the summer of 2002, the Islamic Center of Central Missouri (ICCM) and I took on the development of an in-service training for the teachers in the Columbia school district entitled, "Who Is a Muslim Student?" Conceived as a community effort, the program's preparation involved numerous individuals including the Imam and other knowledgeable brothers and sisters, as well as high school and college students who provided materials and reviewed its final content. Other sources of information were Islamic websites such as ISNA.
The actual presentation involved four persons (two sisters and two brothers) in order to provide a variety of experience and perspective. Our dress reflected the diversity in Islam and the people who practice it. Various multimedia methods (including audio and video materials and transparencies), as well as food and sweets prepared by Muslim families from different countries, were used to present the information and lead the discussion.
About 60 teachers registered for the program; however, on the day of presentation, we had about 80! We actually had to move to a much larger room than the room initially scheduled for the program. Alhamdulillah!
The format for the training is presented below:
We explained the purpose of the in-service program as an effort to initiate a dialogue with teachers as well as to provide information aimed at increasing their understanding of Islam and their Muslim students. We emphasized that we were not asking for preferential treatment, but rather, fair and similar treatment as was given other students based on respect for and understanding of their faith and values. A video showing our community's youth discussing issues of concern to them and participating in community activities was shown to highlight the similarities and differences between Muslim and non-Muslim students.
Discussion about Islam and Muslims
In this part of the presentation, we defined certain Islamic terms and provided basic information about our religion such as its pillars, basic principles, and its practice. We talked about aspects of Muslim culture such as attire, our celebrations, and Muslim foods, and about the Muslim population.
This was the major part of the program, and included a discussion of the various stages in the spiritual developmental of Muslim children such as the age when they begin making salat and fasting. We also discussed matters such as diet and what is considered halal and haram (lawful and unlawful), the Muslim dress code, socialization patterns (with an emphasis on relationships with parents and other adults, and with the opposite gender), and our holidays and festivals. There were ample opportunities for the teachers to ask questions and make comments.
A packet of materials titled "A Muslim Student: Basic Guide for Teachers, Administrators/School Personnel" that included a detailed summary of all the information presented in the training and a calendar of important dates for Muslims was presented to each teacher to assist them in leading classroom discussions and planning activities throughout the year (refer to Presentation Outline and examples of information for kindergarten, 3rd grade and 9th through 12th grade teachers below).
Almost all of the teachers appreciated the training and felt that it would enhance their teaching in general and to Muslim students in particular. One teacher commented, "I now know how to interact with Muslim students." They all recommended a continuation of the program and suggested that it be a full rather than half-day program because there was so much to learn. Alhamdulillah, the presentation opened a positive door of opportunity for increased dialogue and understanding between the Muslims and non-Muslims in our community.
EXAMPLE 1: PRESENTATION OUTLINE MATERIALS
Activity: For teachers to respond to:
- When you hear the words "Islam" and/or "Muslim," what comes to your mind?
- What is/are the source/s of your information that make/s you develop that perception?
Teachers of Muslim Students
For those who have had Muslim students, what comes to your mind when you remember your Muslim students?
What is/are the source/s of your information that make/s you develop that perception?
- Sources of our religious practice
Relevance to my Classroom
(write how this is going to assist you in your classroom)
Culture of Muslims
A. Please answer the following questions:
- Are all Arabs Muslims?
- Are all Muslims Arabs?
- Do all Muslims wear the same clothes?
- Do all Muslims eat the same food?
- Do Muslims worship the same God as Christians and Jews?
- Do Muslim women have freedom?
- Is it true that all Muslim girls must stay at home?
- Are all Muslim marriages arranged?
B. Differences in creation among humans
C. Muslim population
- Total number-world
- Missouri, Columbia
- Muslim attires
Relevance to my Classroom
(write how this is going to assist you in your classroom)
EXAMPLE 2: MATERIALS FOR TEACHERS' USE
Kindergarten: Some pointers for teachers of Muslim kindergarteners
Salat (Prayers): Guide and encouragement by parents. They pray when they feel like it.
Sawm (Fasting): Encourage to practice. They may do half day during the weekend. Kindergarteners will not come to school fasting.
Male/Female: May mix with both sexes.
Dress: May wear anything. PE activities are not a problem.
Diet: Will not eat pork and/or anything with pork or its by-products such as gummy bears and marshmallows and alcohol. Cafeteria personnel and teachers should be alert to this as some students may not be conscious about it.
Third Grade: Some pointers for teachers of Muslim third graders
Salat (Prayers): Encouraged to pray; reminded by parents to pray all five prayers.
Sawm (Fasting): Encouraged to practice. They may fast all day on weekends and a few may try to fast during school.
Male/Female: May mix with both sexes.
Dress: May wear anything. Girls will wear pants instead of shorts. Boys may wear shorts that cover the knees. PE activities are not a problem.
Diet: Will not eat pork and/or anything with pork or its by-products such as gummy bears and marshmallow and alcohol. Cafeteria personnel and teachers should be alert to this as some students may not be conscious about it.
Ninth through Twelfth Grade: Some pointers for teachers of Muslim ninth through twelfth graders
Salat (Prayers): Will pray at school. Student at this level will ask for a pass to go and pray.
Sawm (Fasting): Will fast for the whole month of Ramadan.
Male/Female: Practice separation of the genders. Most contact with opposite gender is greetings. There is separation between the genders.
Dress: Should wear pants, long sleeve shirts. May wear short sleeve shirts.
Girls will wear Hijabs (head covering). Students at these levels will wear more traditional dressing, especially the girls; very open about Islam. There is less socializing with opposite gender, more educational contact to inform and explain about Islam. It is easier to recognize Muslim girls from boys. PE activities: will not dance; non-coed Physical Education classes. Partner with same gender for class activities.
Diet: Will not eat pork and/or anything with pork or its by-products and will not drink alcohol.
Swimming: Some students will not be comfortable swimming with opposite sex in the same pool. May opt for alternate activity.
For those interested in using the above materials as a guide in preparing a similar program or training, please contact Dr. Ibrahim Khaleel of the Columbia, MO Public School District at:
(573) 886-2710 or at:
or the Islamic Center of Central
Missouri-Columbia at: (573) 875-4633 or at:
[email protected] or http://iccm.missouri.org.
Note: Ibrahim Khaleel is on staff with the Columbia School District teaching Industrial Technology and Engineering. He is also the Coordinator for Correctional Institutions for the Islamic Center of Central Missouri, Columbia; Education Officer for the Islamic American Relief Agency-USA based in Columbia, Missouri; and Board member of the Islamic School of Columbia-Missouri.
MIM: The official launch of Mercy Relief shows that the terrorist linked charity front was tied to the Islamic American Relief Agency.
SPEECH BY MR MASAGOS ZULKIFLI B M MOHAMED, PRESIDENT, PERDAUS
At The Official Launch of MERCY Relief - 12 May 2001
A very good afternoon and a warm welcome to the honourable Minister, Mr Abdullah Tarmugi, the Mufti Mr Syed Isa Bin Mohd Semait, the Secretary of MUIS Mr Syed Haroon Aljunied, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
1. First and foremost, allow me to thank each and every one here today for including this event in your hectic weekend schedule. I am also grateful to the Minister for having confidence in PERDAUS, in our stride towards a potentially far-reaching cause.
2. MERCY Relief is a humanitarian project which PERDAUS has tasked itself with, so as to enable us to extend our services to our needy fellowmen, regardless of any distinct difference. MERCY was designed in response to the tragedies that befell the Asian communities throughout our region in consequence of the '97 economic crisis. MERCY seeks to serve the economically and socially disadvantaged and, in unison, promote a civil life of compassion, care and volunteerism amongst the more affluent communities. This is the background of MERCY's campaign slogan, ie, "Realising Hopes, Improving Lives", wishing that it would enhance the economic, social and spiritual aspects of both beneficiaries and sponsors alike.
3. Ladies and gentlemen, the logo reflects MERCY's aim and mission. The two hands depict assistance rendered by a more privileged hand to the needy one, striving to pull it out of its living misery and fulfilling its inadequacy. The hands are in two different shades, illustrating that assistance shall be made available to all those who are in need, regardless of language, race, locality or creed. Blue, the selected colour, symbolises the one sky that we, a human race regardless of our differences, all live under. It also represents peace amongst Mankind. The upward-pointing index finger signifies the number one, significantly, our One common Origin. As we learn to give, we learn to love as we live, a better human race in which we seek to achieve.
4. MERCY shall be implemented in 3 phases:
- The first phase shall focus on raising funds. The initial "seed fund" that is raised shall engine larger-scale campaigns for the principal MERCY Fund. Concurrently, efforts shall be directed towards instituting ties with various relief agencies. Phase I shall run over a period of 18 months.
- At the second phase, MERCY anticipates a stable source of fund, resources and experience to embark on its humanitarian aid programmes. It shall also activate, supervise and co-operate with various other organisations in humanitarian relief activities. With a readily available pool of volunteer doctors and nurses, MERCY shall first present its medical and health services. Subsequently, we would be effecting self-sufficiency projects such as the erection of schools and skill-training centers, so as to equip the victims of poverty and disasters with the required knowledge and skills to create a future for themselves. As the saying goes; "If you give a man a fish, he will eat for the day; but if you teach him how to fish, he is likely to survive for the rest of his life".
- The third phase shall see MERCY assist in providing consultancy services and training at a professional level for other organisations involved in similar areas.
5. Having said that, for a start, PERDAUS has already established contact with the Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA) to co-operate on a project for orphans from around the world. We shall be working closely together with the IARA in attending to the welfare of those parentless children. Consequently, as stated earlier, it is virtually certain that we would be rubbing our shoulders with other humanitarian relief organisations.
6. My dearest guests, I share the sentiments of my PERDAUS members that, the care and support for the needy and less privileged is our collective responsibility. I cannot help but emphasise that it is very much their entitlement, rather than a concession or favour, to be assisted by their better-off neighbours like us. I believe that each and every one of us is aware as to the reason for our existence here. As I remind myself aloud, I would like to urge you to help realise the hopes of those suffering within the vicinity of our comfortable balcony. Make a donation now, put your compassion to action!.
MIM: According to Aaron Weisburd who runs the website Internet Haganah the main offices of the IANA are in Scandanavia and the UK.
The ISRA, aka the IARA, aka the Islamic Relief Agency, aka Aid Direct, aka the Independant Scandinavian Relief Agency, aka the Islamic African Relief Agency, aka the Islamic American Relief Agency, et. al.
An examination of their websites suggests that while the Treasury listing may have focussed on Columbia, Missouri and Sudan, the organization is for the most part run out of Denmark and England.
We have watched with keen interest as the ISRA has attempted over the past few days to destroy the evidence contained on their primary site. For example, the complete list of offices, email addresses and phone numbers across the globe
MIM: Details of a meeting
An Open Letter to The Secretary General of UN 19-02-2003
Isra directors from three countries attended an ICVA conference and general meeting in Geneva Switzerland on 14-18th Feburary 2003. Isra has been a member of ICVA for the last 18 years. Dr Addalla El-Awad the founder of ISRA was active for years on the executive committe, bringing an Arb/African/Islamic flavour to the meetings. Such meetings are attended by heads of charities such as Oxfam, Save the Children, Medicinies without Frontiers, etc Being active within ICNA gives a chance for representation to UN and UNHCR bodies who are responsible for policies which directly effect the worlds misplaced people and refugees who must number 30 million and of whom 75% at least are Muslims. Dr Mohammad Ibrahim General Director of ISRA, Sudan Abdal Wahid Pederson Director of ISRA Denmark, Scandinavia. Abdal Samad Summers Director of ISRA UK The result of the workshops and conference was the drafting of a letter for presentation to the UN
MIM: he webdomain listing for IARA shows it as the Islamic African Relief Agency