ACLU Sticks Up for Group That Funds Terrorism
Should the Islamic Circle of North America's promotion and financial support of jihad count as free speech?
July 24, 2009 - 12:31 am
Even today, ICNA Relief and Helping Hand (ICNA’s Pakistan-based charity) are both listed as “partners,” along with their logos, to AKF’s Al-Khidmat Welfare Society (AKWS).
Khurshid Khan, the individual featured on the ACLU video, was president of ICNA during the transaction. The ICNA president before him, Zulfiqar Ali Shah, had also been the president of the South Asia division of Kind Hearts, when the Ohio-based Islamic charity was shut down by the U.S. government in 2006 for raising millions of dollars for Hamas.
Tariq Rahman, the other individual featured on the video, was the executive director of ICNA Relief, but stepped down from the position roughly a year previous to the transaction. According to the ACLU, he is currently running the charity.
The Mashaal affair was not the only occasion that ICNA has been associated with the funding of terror. Before the 9/11 attacks, the organization was asking its followers to donate to groups associated with al-Qaeda.
In May 2000, ICNA launched a website for its southeast division, which at the time was located in the state of Florida. Today, the chapter is headquartered in the Norcross suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. On the website’s homepage was a prominent link to Qoqaz.net (Jihad in Chechnya), a site that was actively raising funds and recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda. The site was a project of Azzam Publications, an organization named for Osama bin Laden’s mentor, Abdullah Azzam.
Directly above the link was a message from then-national president of JI, Muhammad Yunus, which stated in part: “We must show our spiritual and material support for our brothers and sisters being oppressed by Russian forces.” Yunus is presently a national director of ICNA and the registered agent for ICNA’s corporation.
Along with links to the official websites of Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Taliban, the message with the Qoqaz link stayed up on the homepage for at least two weeks and two days following 9/11.
As this author has pointed out in the past, providing material support to a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) is illegal. And like the JI/ICNA relationship with regard to the Hamas transaction, ICNA has a relationship with the U.S.-based administrator for Qoqaz, Mazen Mokhtar. Mokhtar has been involved with ICNA’s Why Islam (WI) religious outreach (dawah) project. Mokhtar is currently featured on a WI video, which is found on the homepage of the WI-Sacramento, California, website entitled “Why Islam Introduction.”
Whether the ACLU knew or did not know about these things prior to going into production with its video is anyone’s guess. But regardless of that, ICNA should not and is in no position to be criticizing the Bush administration’s decision to close and freeze the funds of terrorist charities.
If ICNA is affected in any way by the government’s actions, it should be that it is shut down as well.