Report: 'Moderate' Islamic charities back terror
U.S. government allegedly allowing major groups to channel funds

© 2007

Dearborn, Mich., mosque (Photo: National Public Radio)
Muslim charity groups posing as "moderates" continue to support terrorist activities, according to a report by the government watchdog Judicial Watch.

The report – titled " Muslim Front Organizations: Moderate Non-Profits or Elaborate Deceptions?" – says that while the U.S. government "finally has taken action against some of the groups identified by Judicial Watch, others are still functioning."

Judicial Watch contends the federal government is aware of the Islamic groups "and the danger they pose to our national security. The question is: Why are they still in operation?"

"This report carefully documents connections between so-called Muslim charities in the U.S. and the terrorists who murder innocents," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "The federal government should no longer coddle terrorist front groups in the name of political correctness. Any organization that funds terror should be shut down immediately."

After the 9/11 attacks, Judicial Watch filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service against non-profit organizations "reportedly being used as money laundering front organizations for radical Islamic terrorists."

The complaint said non-profit entities have been used to launder financial transactions and facilitate the transfer of funds supporting violent terrorist attacks by the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.

Judicial Watch said that in 2004, the Senate Financial Committee requested an investigation of several of the organizations on the list of groups it provided. Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa said, "Many of these groups not only enjoy tax-exempt status, but their reputation as charities and foundations often allows them to escape scrutiny, making it easier to hide and move their funds to other groups who threaten our national security."

Nevertheless, many of the groups continue to function.

Among the organizations highlighted in the report is the Islamic Society of North America, which enforces teaching the theology of the radical Wahhabi stream of Islam – practiced in Saudi Arabia – in 1,200 officially recognized mosques across the U.S. The organization allegedly has helped turn the federal prison system into a fertile recruiting ground for al-Qaida, the Judicial Watch report says.

In 2005, the White House invited the Islamic Society of North America to send a representative to participate in the Office of Faith-Based and Community Representatives' White House Leadership Conference.

Another prominent Islamic organization, the Council for American Islamic Relations, has conducted "sensitivity" and cultural training with federal agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement and with the military. In June, a senior Department of Homeland Security official from Washington guided CAIR officials on a behind-the-scenes tour of Customs screening operations at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in response to CAIR complaints that Muslim travelers were being unfairly delayed as they entered the U.S. from abroad.

The group's regular meetings with the Justice Department and FBI have prompted complaints from case agents, who say the bureau rarely can make a move in the Muslim community without first consulting with CAIR, which sits on its advisory board.

Last month, a House Republican leadership group called on Democrats to retract an offer to CAIR to hold a seminar in a Capitol conference room.

CAIR brands itself as a mainstream advocacy group, but it is a spinoff of the now-defunct Islamic Association for Palestine, launched by Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook and former university professor Sami al-Arian, who pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to provide services to Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Several CAIR staffers have been convicted on terrorism-related charges, and CAIR founder Omar Ahmad allegedly told a group of Muslims they are in America not to assimilate but to help assert Islam's ruler over the country.

Another group, the North American Islamic Trust, headquartered in Illinois, owns between 50 and 80 percent of North American mosques. Authorities say the organization is used as a funnel for Saudi and other gulf money to spread an anti-American brand of Islamic fundamentalism in American mosques across the nation.

In 2005, the Judicial Watch report notes, a New York-based Muslim group, Islamic Circle of North America, was under investigation for its connection to a violent Pakistani terrorist group with al-Qaida links.

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