Posts Tagged ‘Holy Land Foundation’

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Muslim Mafia Update: FBI Served CAIR Warrant

November 25, 2009

FBI intercepts docs destined for CAIR


Agents enter law office with warrant for evidence on D.C. Muslim group


Posted: November 24, 2009 11:25 pm Eastern WorldNetDaily

WASHINGTON – While attorneys representing the co-author of “Muslim Mafia” were preparing late today to honor a federal court order to return documents obtained from the Council on American-Islamic Relations in an independent undercover operation, FBI agents served a warrant on a Washington, D.C., law office for the same documents.

The FBI agents entered the capital law offices of Cozen O’Connor tonight and issued a warrant for thousands of pages of documents as well as audio and video recordings gathered by P. David Gaubatz and his son Chris in a daring and lengthy undercover penetration of CAIR in which the younger Gaubatz served as an unpaid intern for the group that was labeled an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator in last year’s Holy Land Foundation trial.

CAIR claimed in a lawsuit that Gaubatz removed its papers and made recordings of employees “without any consent or authorization and in violation of his contractual fiduciary and other legal obligations.” A federal judge in Washington issued a restraining order Nov. 3 barring the Gaubatzes from further use or publication of the material – 12,000 pages of documents along with audio and video recordings – and demanding that they return it to the Muslim group’s lawyers.

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HLF Founders Sentenced to Long Prison Terms

May 28, 2009

HLF Founders Sentenced to Long Prison Terms

IPT News
May 27, 2009
http://www.investigativeproject.org/1046/hlf-founders-sentenced-to-long-prison-terms

DALLAS – A federal judge imposed what could amount to life sentences on three former leaders of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) on Wednesday for illegally routing more than $12 million to Hamas.

“The purpose of creating the Holy Land Foundation was as a fundraising arm for Hamas,” said U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis.

He sentenced former HLF Chief Executive Officer Shukri Abu Baker and co-founder Ghassan Elashi to 65 years in prison. Longtime HLF chairman Mohamed El-Mezain, who was convicted only on one count of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, received the maximum 15-year sentence.

All three men are at least 50 years old. Two additional defendants, Mufid Abdelqader and Abdelrahman Odeh, will be sentenced Wednesday afternoon.

While appeals are being prepared, the sentencing hearings end the largest terror financing case in the United States, one which closed the largest Muslim-American charity in 2001. Its significance, however, resonates far beyond the Dallas courtroom and the five men convicted by a jury last November.

The evidence showed that HLF was part of a broad Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy in the United States called the Palestine Committee, which was to serve Hamas with “media, money and men.” Those exhibits show the depth of Muslim Brotherhood activity here, which at its height included a think tank in Virginia, a propaganda arm in Texas and Chicago, and a political operation that continues to exert influence today.

It also led to the discovery of a Brotherhood memorandum from 1991 that describes the group’s goal in America. It called for a “civilization-jihadist process” and a “grand jihad” that aimed at “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within … so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a Palestine Committee legacy. Last year, the FBI decided to cut off communication with CAIR due to concerns about the evidence showing the organization’s Hamas roots.

“Nevertheless, until we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner,” wrote Richard C. Powers, an assistant director in the FBI’s office of Congressional Affairs, last month.

The defendants, who have been in custody since last November’s verdicts, wore orange jail jumpsuits. Neither they, nor their attorneys yielded any ground on the core issue in the case – that their efforts to raise and distribute money for Palestinian charities was done with the goal of helping Hamas politically and supporting the relatives of its fighters who were arrested or died in terrorist attacks.

“All he did was provide humanitarian relief,” defense attorney Linda Moreno said of Elashi.

“I believe I am innocent and have not committed any crime,” El-Mezain said during an emotional 23-minute statement. He called his prosecution “unjust, selective and political.”

Solis rejected the defense claims. “The evidence supports the jury’s verdict in this case that you did support Hamas in violation of the law,” he said.

Intent on sentencing all five defendants in one day, Solis cut off Baker’s statement after 20 minutes. Defense attorney Nancy Hollander objected, saying Baker “has a right to make his statement.” Solis offered an additional five minutes, but said “I don’t want to go all morning, counselor.”

Baker did not finish his statement. Its focus was autobiographical, emphasizing the hardships he has endured caring for a chronically ill daughter. It was “a father’s melting heart” that prompted him to devote his life to charity, Baker said.

The defendants offered the court a misleading account of their activities, prosecutors said, pointing to exhibits that showed rallies featuring songs and skits praising Hamas, that featured Hamas members and the role Baker and Elashi played in a 1993 meeting in Philadelphia aimed at trying to “derail” U.S.-led peace efforts.

In one portion of the conversation, Baker told the others that “war is deception,” and at other times, the group discussed how to persuade Americans about their cause without revealing their support of a terrorist organization.

HLF “hoodwinked this country,” federal prosecutor Barry Jonas told Solis. HLF sent its money to Palestinian charities, or zakat committees, which were controlled by Hamas, prosecutors said.

The judge agreed, rejecting most defense objections to the pre-sentence report and accepting enhancements to the sentencing guidelines because the crimes involved supporting terrorism. The defense arguments, that the group merely provided charity to those in desperate need, “don’t tell the whole story,” Solis said.

“A lot of people help people and don’t get brought into court. You are here because you were supporting Hamas” and continued to do so after it became illegal.

HLF supporters do not accept the verdict, calling the defendants “our falsely convicted brothers” in an e-mail meant to drum up attendance at the hearing. Across the street from the courthouse, supporters held the same sign they displayed throughout the case: “Feeding children is not a crime.”

In addition to the jury verdicts, two other men entered guilty pleas on related charges. Earlier this month, Arizona resident Akram Abdallah pled guilty to lying to FBI agents about his HLF fundraising. He is scheduled to be sentenced in August.

Mohamed Shorbagi, a Georgia imam, pled guilty to conspiring to provide material support to Hamas. As part of his plea, Shorbagi agreed to cooperate with the government and testified as a prosecution witness.

He told jurors that he knew money he raised for HLF would support Hamas.

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FBI Severs CAIR Ties

February 10, 2009

Exclusive: FBI Severs CAIR Ties – Group’s Credibility Takes a Hit from Holy Land Terror Trial

by Joel Himelfarb
Family Security Matters
February 9, 2009
http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.2476/pub_detail.asp

The public image of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), image has taken a huge blow as a result of new revelations that the FBI has severed ties with the group.

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Bailing Out Shariah Law

December 31, 2008

Bailing Out Shariah Law

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | 31 Dec. 2008

Islamofascism: In bailing out AIG, Uncle Sam may have taken on more than he bargained for, including a constitutional fight over the promotion of religion.


Earlier this month, as the New York-based insurance giant benefited from $153 billion in tax-supported bailout funds, it launched a business unit offering Shariah-compliant insurance products in the U.S.

For the first time, homeowners’ insurance policies “compliant with key Islamic finance tenets” will be marketed to Muslims in America.

We are pleased to offer socially responsible solutions to this segment of the domestic market,” the near-bankrupt AIG announced in a press release, explaining that the Islamic market represents “an important and emerging growth opportunity for AIG.”

But there’s little that is “socially responsible” about Shariah law, which regulates the “takaful” insurance AIG is selling, along with other Islamic finance.

Shariah law authorizes horrific human-rights abuses, including the kind of violence and oppression against women, homosexuals, apostates and non-Muslims seen in Saudi Arabia and earlier under the Taliban in Afghanistan.

To fully comply with Shariah code, AIG has hired a “Shariah Supervisory Board” composed of “Shariah scholars.” Who are these so-called scholars?

One, according to its press release, is Muhammad Imran Usmani, who happens to be the son of Sheik Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani, who supports violent jihad against Westerners. The elder Usmani is so radical that Dow Jones & Co. recently removed him from the board of its Islamic market index.

At a minimum, AIG has to do better due diligence if it’s going to use taxpayer money for such a controversial enterprise. But what’s the responsibility of the U.S. government here?

The Thomas More Law Center, a public-interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Mich., argues the U.S. is promoting a religious legal code at odds with democratic values and capitalism. And that makes the bailout unconstitutional. So it’s suing Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and the Federal Reserve to stop all bailout funds from going to AIG.

According to the suit, use of taxpayer funds to acquire ownership of a business that intentionally promotes, endorses, supports and funds Shariah-based Islamic religious practices violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

“The U.S. government, through its ownership of AIG, is not only violating the Constitution,” the suits claims, “but also promoting and financing the destruction of America using American tax dollars.”

While that sounds over-the-top, a sizeable share of the profit and any interest earned by AIG’s Islamic subsidiary must be “purified” by investing in Islamic charities. Such transfers will be controlled by Usmani and other Shariah advisers.

Since 9/11, dozens of major Muslim charities around the world, including several based in the U.S., have been tied to terrorism and shut down. So AIG — along with American taxpayers — could unwittingly finance terrorism against the U.S. and its allies.

The potential for terror money laundering deeply concerns two Republican leaders on the Hill, who on the heels of the Thomas More lawsuit fired off a letter to AIG CEO Ed Liddy warning him that the FBI could come knocking.

“We hope you can verify what hands your money passes through, because we would hate to see the FBI visit you one day, look into your books and tell you that money from AIG found its way into terrorist hands,” wrote Reps. Frank Wolf, congressional Human Rights Caucus co-chairman, and Sue Myrick, co-chairwoman of the congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus.

What’s odd is that the Treasury Department is the agency charged with cracking down on terror financing, yet it’s encouraging firms like AIG to go into Islamic finance. In fact, Treasury co-sponsored a seminar in November titled “Islamic Financing 101” to promote Shariah financing to corporate America. [HOLY LAND FOUNDATION]

The seminar was jointly sponsored by Harvard University, which is heavily supported by Saudi petrodollars.

So it’s not just AIG that’s actively helping Shariah gain a foothold in America. It’s also Washington.

Financial crisis or not, it’s hardly in the economic interest of taxpayers or the U.S. to own part of a business that supports a Stone Age legal code championed by the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.

AIG should divest itself from Shariah business practices if it wants to keep its public bailout money.

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Holy Land Foundation Officials Convicted – All counts

November 26, 2008

HLF Officials Convicted on All Counts

IPT News
November 24, 2008
http://www.investigativeproject.org/article/865

updated 8:35 p.m

DALLAS – A jury convicted five former officials at the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) on all counts in the Hamas-support case after 8 days of deliberations.

The men, Shukri Abu-Baker, Ghassan Elashi, Mohamed El-Mezain, Mufid Abdulqader and Abdelrahman Odeh, could face up to 20 years in prison for their convictions on conspiracy counts, including conspiring to
provide material support to terrorists. The verdicts, read Monday afternoon, ended a two-year saga in what is considered the largest terror financing case since the 9/11 attacks.

In the original trial last year, jurors acquitted El-Mezain on 31 of the 32 counts against him, but could not reach unanimous verdicts on any other counts, prompting a mistrial.

Prosecutors made a series of significant adjustments, from dropping 29 counts each against defendants Mufid Abdulqader and Abdelrahman Odeh, to adding new witnesses who could put the charity support in context. In addition, jurors in this trial saw three exhibits Israeli military officials seized from the Palestinian Authority which showed the PA also considered HLF to be a Hamas financer and that an HLF-supported charity committee was controlled by Hamas.

The result was a much more streamlined case that followed a logical narrative, said Peter Margulies, a law professor at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. Seeing the Palestinian Authority reach the same conclusion as the U.S. government had to have helped, he said.

In addition, prosecutors provided summary exhibits that served as “a road map” to the case and had to help jurors deliberate, Margulies said. “The jury was able to look at the evidence and get past the perceived biases of any of the witnesses and see the evidence as a whole.”

That evidence made clear that the defendants knew where the money raised in the U.S. was going despite legal prohibitions against support for Hamas.

The verdict was hailed by M. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. Prosecutors prevailed because they were able to “connect the ideology of political Islam and the overriding mission of Islamist organizations like the HLF to their desire to contribute to the efforts of terror groups, like Hamas,” he said. “When this connection is made we will see the return of a guilty verdict. In future [terrorism financing] cases DOJ will not only have to connect the financial dots but [will have] to demonstrate an overarching common Islamist mission.”

Prosecutors say HLF was part of a Palestine Committee – a conglomerate of U.S. based Muslim organizations and individuals committed to helping Hamas financially and politically. HLF was its fundraising arm, a designation formalized by Hamas deputy political director Mousa Abu Marzook in 1994. Support for Hamas became illegal with a 1995 executive order by President Bill Clinton and subsequent congressional action.

Defense attorneys say the men were simply providing desperately needed charity to Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. HLF routed millions of dollars through a series of Palestinian charities known as zakat committees. While Hamas was designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. Treasury, those zakat committees never were. That, defense attorneys argued, meant donations to them did not violate the law.

Holy Land Foundation Raid

“This is one of the most significant victories the Justice Department has won in the war on terror,” said Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted blind cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and 11 others for conspiring to blow up a series of New York landmarks. “Financing is the life-blood of jihadist organizations like Hamas. With the assistance of willing co-conspirators, they conceal their activities and use the Muslim obligation of charitable giving to mask support that is actually channeled to their murderous agenda. Today’s verdicts say, loudly and clearly, that Americans aren’t fooled and won’t tolerate it. As a former federal prosecutor, I am especially proud of the assistant U.S. attorneys who persevered through some real travails in securing justice for the American people.”

Journalist Douglas Farah studied the HLF evidence on behalf of the Nine Eleven Finding Answers (NEFA) Foundation and was the first to identify the significance of a Muslim Brotherhood memorandum outlining the group’s ambitions in America. He said Monday’s verdict

has implications for unindicted co-conspirators in the case – most notably the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) – because it validates what already was “a clear public record of why these groups were founded and how.”

The Muslim Brotherhood memo called for “a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

CAIR is listed as a member of the Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee and founders Omar Ahmad and Nihad Awad are included on a telephone list of committee members. CAIR has not refuted the evidence, Farah said. Government officials ought to study that evidence to realize CAIR is not what it presents itself as.

“The main currency CAIR and these groups have is their access,” he said. “The time is now, with full justification and with a full public record – not a whispering campaign, not innuendo – for the government to now say without hesitation: you don’t have access here. We don’t want to deal with you.”

After the verdicts were read, jurors were asked to determine whether convictions for money laundering meant HLF assets should be forfeited to the government, the Dallas Morning News reported. Jurors agreed $12.4 million from the defendants’ assets should be forfeited. Click here to see more coverage from the Morning News.