In August 2006, two American Muslim charities were donors to an overseas organization while that organization personally brought close to $100,000 to the home of the head of Hamas. The two are still affiliated with this organization, an entity which curses and calls for resistance against the United States. This being the case, why do they continue to enjoy the privilege of having a federal U.S. tax exempt status?
Why do they even continue to exist at all?
The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) has two charities — ICNA Relief and Helping Hand (HH). Both have a non-profit 501(c)3 tax status with the United States government, as does ICNA itself. ICNA Relief also has a Canadian component, which has a separate exempt status.
Due to the nature of the work these groups perform — that of Islamic relief work — much of their activities are based in foreign nations. One of these nations is Pakistan.
Pakistan is important to ICNA, because it is where the group’s parent organization, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), resides.
It’s ironic that ICNA, an American group, would be associated with JI, as JI is rabidly anti-American. The organization is currently involved in its Go America Go campaign, working tirelessly to remove any type of American influence from South Asia. Right on the homepage of JI’s official website is the following:
All Pakistani forces must unite against America.
A recent entry of the blog on JI’s website was written by an individual named Khalid Amayreh. Amayreh is presently a correspondent for the Palestinian Information Center, the official website of Hamas. He is also the author of an infamous piece titled “Why I hate America?” In it, he states:
How can I not hate this “great Satan,” the evil empire? … [In] the final analysis, America offers me one of two choices: Either I submissively accept perpetual enslavement and oppression or become an Osama bin Laden.
Amayreh’s article was originally published in the London-based Palestine Times in November 2001. On September 12, 2006, one day after the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, it was republished by Amayreh and the Times, along with a photo of an American flag (with an Israeli flag in place of the stars) superimposed over a plane flying into the World Trade Center.
JI, or the Muslim Brotherhood of Pakistan, is the largest Islamist organization in South Asia. It has student groups; it has media outlets; it has a political apparatus; and it has a militant wing, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, whose leader, Syed Salahudin, is involved in JI’s Go America Go campaign. It also has its own charitable group, the Al-Khidmat Foundation (AKF).
On August 17, 2006, JI posted on its official website that AKF had just taken a delegation to the home of the global head of Hamas, Khaled Mashaal. The reason for the visit was to deliver six million rupees, the equivalent of $99,000, to Mashaal and to present to him a “special message” from the then-ameer (president) of JI, Qazi Hussain Ahmed. In turn, Mashaal thanked the group and said Hamas will continue to wage jihad (terror) against Israel.
At the time of the handover of the money, ICNA’s two charities, ICNA Relief and HH, were listed as donors to AKF on AKF’s official website. ICNA Relief USA and ICNA Relief Canada were listed as the top two donors.
According to Justice Department U.S. Code Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 113B, Section 2339B:
Whoever knowingly provides material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both, and, if the death of any person results, shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life.
And according to the Justice Department, the term “material support” includes currency.
Question: Are ICNA, ICNA Relief, and Helping Hand guilty of material support to Hamas, a group which is named on the U.S. State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs)? In contemplating the answer to this question, one must consider the following facts:
1. As stated previously, both ICNA and AKF are part of Jamaat-e-Islami. Apart from the geographical distance between the two, one could easily say that the groups are sister organizations.
2. ICNA’s charities were listed as donors to AKF on AKF’s website for nearly an entire year following the money transaction to the head of Hamas.
3. Even after this author has, on many occasions (starting in May 2007), publicized the above information, both ICNA Relief and HH are still involved with AKF, as both groups are listed as “partner” organizations on the official website of AKF’s Al-Khidmat Welfare Society (AKWS). Of the three partner groups listed, the only two logos which are shown are that of ICNA Relief and HH.
4. ICNA has been involved in material support to terrorist-related groups previously, as its Southeast division, shortly before and shortly after the September 11th attacks, asked its website viewers to provide “material support” to organizations connected to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
If the answer to the question concerning material support to Hamas is “yes,” one must then determine whether or not the money being handled was used towards the furtherance of bloodshed. When discussing the subject of Hamas, how can anyone believe otherwise?
ICNA, ICNA Relief, and Helping Hand all reap the benefits that go along with having non-profit 501(c)3 organizations. The thing that may threaten these groups’ existence, though, is their relationship with the financing of terror.
Did the groups know? Did they know where their money was headed prior to or during the money transfer to Hamas? Given all of the facts stated above and more, how did they not know?
It is time the government acted on this information and opened an investigation into ICNA and its connection to terrorist financing. If ICNA or its two “charities” are involved in material support for terrorist groups, they need to be shut down immediately.
Joe Kaufman is the Chairman of Americans Against Hate and the founder of CAIR Watch. He has been responsible for the closure of at least one terror-related charity and has convinced a number of government officials to shun the Hamas front group, CAIR. In June 2009, he won a lawsuit brought against him by seven Dallas-area radical Muslim organizations.
Beila Rabinowitz, the Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.