Archive for the ‘Investigative’ Category

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How 2 controversial terror group conspirators profit from halal food corporate sponsorships

April 28, 2014

Crescent Foods, a major U.S. halal foods manufacturer, has partnerships with two major Islamic groups that were named as co-conspirators during the terror finance trial against the Holy Land Foundation.

Crescent Foods has sponsored an events conducted by the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and has “teamed up” with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) to create a national halal certification board. ISNA itself describes Crescent Foods president Ahmad Adam, a Palestinian Arab American, as a “founding member” of ISNA.

Court documents showed that CAIR and ISNA conspired with HLF in sending $12 million to Hamas in the early 2000s. The HLF was shut down and its former leaders are in prison. Federal prosecutors under attorney general Eric Holder have declined to prosecute CAIR and ISNA.

In addition to its HLF links, Crescent Foods has somewhat murky relationships with undocumented charitable groups. Crescent Foods’s philanthropic activities include sponsorship of a Chicago-based entity known as “Refugee Assistance Programs” (RAP-US) on Victoria Lane in Glendale Heights. Although it solicits donations on its website, RAP-US is not a registered charity with the Illinois attorney general’s office, nor has it filed for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service. RAP-US describes itself as a member of the “Golden Door Coalition,” a similarly un-registered entity.

Crescent Foods has also supplied food at a variety of events coordinated by Islamic organizations, including “proud” sponsorship of conferences hosted by the radical American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) group.

The relationships between Crescent Foods and the HLF associates are not unique in the shadowy and lucrative world of halal certification. IFANCA, probably the most significant halal certifying entity in the U.S., is also tied to HLF co-conspirators and Muslim Brotherhood front groups. Both IFANCA and Crescent Foods have participated in ISNA’s Halal Food Forum.

The Muslim Association of Canada, a primary halal certifying entity, has given money to IRFAN, a charity which was stripped of its tax-exempt status by Canada Revenue Agency for its financial contributions to Hamas. Halal certification in France has been documented to redound primarily to the benefit of the Muslim Brotherhood.

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Backroom deal suspected as Turkish agent buys foreclosed Gulen school property

April 6, 2013

In 2012, the Atlanta-area Fulton Science Academy (FSA) borrowed $19 million to buy land to expand their campus.  FSA quickly defaulted, and Wells Fargo sued them.  On Feb. 5, the land was sold at a foreclosure auction for $3.2 million according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Foreclosure auction of Fulton Science Academy property

The winning bidder?  A recently incorporated company called “TruGlobe,” with three Turkish officers, who were somehow able to come up with over $3 million on the day of the foreclosure sale, at which cash or cashier’s checks are normally required as immediate payment.

Both the Fulton Science Academy and TruGlobe have addresses in Alpharetta, Georgia.  The similarities between the entities indicate probable collusion between the Gulen charter school and the winning bidder prior to the sale.  It is worth noting that bid rigging at foreclosure auctions is a growth area for criminal activity.

The website Roots in Alpharetta was the first to expose the “amazing coincidence” of the buyer’s Turkish identity:

Did a Fulton Science Academy benefactor purchase their land?

February 6, 2013

Has a Fulton Science Academy benefactor swooped in to save the embattled school’s construction project? Perhaps.

FSA’s stalled construction project off Westside Parkway was sold in a foreclosure auction this past Tuesday. WSBtv reported this week via twitter that a firm by the name of TruGlobe Inc purchased the land on the courthouse steps for $3.2 million.

TruGlobe is based here in Alpharetta, according to records at the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. Principals with the company appear to be of Turkish descent and have ties to the Turkish American Chamber of Commerce.

Or it could all be an amazing coincidence. This blogger bets that the FSA will pursue a new state charter and attempt to revive their plans for new campus.

Indeed, the registered agent and chief financial officer of TruGlobe is listed as Ahmed Vehbi Ugur, a young man who describes himself as a board member of the Turkish American Chamber of Commerce of the Southeast.  Ugur is also registered as the CEO of the Maress Corporation, a Turkish kitchen appliance business with an Atlanta office.

The Fulton Science Academy belongs to a network of troublesome charter schools under the direction of Fethullah Gulen, an activist who seeks to replace the formally secular government in Turkey with a sharia-dominated Islamic caliphate.  Gulen schools have undertaken an influence peddling and crony contract scheme in Texas, improper financial activities in Georgia, were denied a charter in Virginia, and are currently under an FBI investigation for kickbacks.

Fulton County itself has recommended early revocation of FSA’s charter due to educational and financial shortcomings.  The State Board of Education of Georgia may consider such a suspension when it meets this month.

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UPDATE—April 8, 2013:  A colleague has noted that the Turkish parties in this case appear to have acquired a $19 million property for a fire sale price of $3 million, short-changing Wells Fargo and the Development Authority of Alpharetta by $16 million in the process.

Technically, the full $19 million debt owed by Fulton Science Academy has not been extinguished by the foreclosure sale to TruGlobe.  Wells Fargo could have pursued a confirmation of deficiency proceeding against FSA for the $16 million still owed.  However, Read the rest of this entry ?

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Analyst uncovers $38 billion retail jihad

March 2, 2012

Yahoo! Finance’s The Daily Ticker recently conducted an interesting interview with Hitha Prabhakar, who says that profits from stolen and resold goods aren’t just benefiting the criminals, but are funding terrorists like Hezbollah and Al Qaeda too.  Zakat is still the primary funding source for jihad around the world, and we don’t know if Ms. Prbhakar acknowledges that in her book, but nonetheless she adds a helpful perspective to the retail jihad worth looking into.  Here’s an excerpt from the article accompanying the interview:

Every one likes a good deal, but if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

At some level, we all know that. But there are many people around the world who can’t pass up a bargain, which is just what the bad guys are counting on, according to a new book by retail expert Hitha Prabhakar, Black Market Billions: How Organized Retail Crime Funds Global Terrorists.

After doing extensive research and following the money trail first-hand, the Bloomberg TV correspondent uncovered a $38 billion black market business that funds not only organized crime, but also terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Al Qaeda as well as drug lords in Central America. And the business is growing, she says, driven by the rise of the Internet, social media and the accessibility to disposable cell phones…

Watch video of the interview with the author and read the full piece here.

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Turkish charity coordinates with al-Shabaab

December 8, 2011

Last month the the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center revealed photographic evidence of the notorious Turkish Islamist charity IHH conferring with al-Shabaab operatives in Somalia.  IHH’s jihadist sympathies are especially disturbing given IHH’s  unparalleled reach throughout the Muslim and non-Muslim world (operating in 95 countries during Eid al-Adha in November) and its ability to obtain donations.

Here’s just the beginning of the Meir Amit report.  Hat tip to Twitter user @KeHaber:

The Turkish organization IHH provides humanitarian assistance to the famine-stricken regions of Somalia. In September its activists coordinated with Al-Shabaab, an organization affiliated with with the global jihad, without authorization from the Somali government, an example of IHH’s dual nature as both a humanitarian and an extremist Islamist organization.

Turkish charity works with terrorist group

Background

1. Prominent in the the coalition which dispatches flotillas to the Gaza Strip is the Turkish organization IHH, Insani Yardim Vakfi (“foundation for humanitarian assistance”). IHH is a radical Islamist organization, which maintains close connections with other anti-Israeli organizations around the globe to send flotillas and convoys to the Gaza Strip. IHH was the moving spirit behind the Mavi Marmara flotilla in May 2010, and its operatives aboard the ship were the hard core which fought against the IDF soldiers, supported by operatives from other radical Islamist Turkish organizations.

2. IHH is a radical Islamist humanitarian assistance organization, anti-Israeli, anti-West and sometimes anti-Semitic as well, as made clear by statements from its leader, Bülent Yildirim. The organization has a dual nature:

            1) It is a humanitarian organization, undertaking broad humanitarian activities in emergency-stricken areas around the globe, especially in Muslim communities. They include the Gaza Strip, Somalia and Turkey itself (IHH recently sent teams to the area stricken by the earthquake in eastern Turkey). They bring tents, send shipments of food, run aid programs for orphans, provide medical assistance, run programs for vocational education, build mosques, etc.

            2) It is an Islamist organization with a radical Islamist ideology. By participating in the flotillas and convoys sent to the Gaza Strip it supports Hamas, which has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union. In addition, in the past it provided support for global jihad networks and was involved in a proposed terrorist attack in the United States (the “millennium attack,” a mass-casualty planned for Los Angeles International Airport on Christmas Day, 2000).1 It was designated as a terrorist organization by Israel and Germany, and outlawed…

Separately, Turkish Prime Minister Receb Ergodan has announced that his government will provide Gaza’s Hamas government with $300 million in aid.

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Sweden: patron of Israel boycott movement

July 31, 2011

If you follow the money, Sweden is among the leaders, if not the number one advocate, of boycotting and disinvestment in Israel.

Sweden is a primary funder of the organizations Addameer, Al Mezan, Diakonia, Alternative Information Center (through Diakonia), Defence of Children International – Palestine Section, Sabeel, and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, all of which advocate sanctions or boycotts against Israel.

Sweden is also a main donor for NDC, a conglomerate funding mechanism that finances at least eight anti-Israel organizations itself.

Elder of Ziyon has a helpful chart showing the money behind the movement.  His table also shows that a big culprit is the European Union itself, funding at least 13 such groups.

The original research comes from NGO Monitor.

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More question marks for the Zakat Foundation

July 29, 2011

FrontPage Magazine has posted a somewhat unevenly researched (and unfortunately, not the best written) article on the connections of the Zakat Foundation.  I am excluding the portions of the text that I cannot substantiate through my own research or by following the hyperlinks included in the orginal article.  What remains is the Zakat Foundation’s financial role in the anti-Israel flotilla escapades:

…[T]here is the question of how the Zakat Foundation distributes its funds. The Caipirinha Foundation, the  charitable organization created by anti-Israel documentarian Iara Lee and her billionaire husband George Gund III, utilized Zakat as a  fiscal sponsor for a grant to the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedom and Humanitarian Relief (IHH). The IHH is part  of the “Union of Good,” an umbrella coalition of Hamas-affiliated organizations led by Qaradawi. The Foundation supports the IHH’s efforts to disrupt Israel’s self-defense, describing last year’s controversial flotilla as a “heroic effort.”

It might have benefited the author to take a look at Money Jihad’s article on the Zakat Foundation here, which exposed with visual evidence the ties between the Zakat Foundation and a charity that funds Hamas.

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Malaysian terror financier studied accounting in Tennessee

June 13, 2011

Philippine authorities arrested a Malaysian “follower of Osama bin Laden” last week known as Abdul Aziz Usman Aziz Othman. Aziz is said to be the financial officer of a jihadist organization. He was well suited for such a task, having attended the University of Tennessee in the 1990s by studying accounting and finance there.

Certainly, Aziz must have interacted with the Muslim community in Knoxville, Tennessee, during his studies. He would not have found any “followers of Osama bin Laden” there, would he?  Well, a few observations about Islam in Knoxville:

The Muslim Community of Knoxville (MCK), probably the largest Islamic umbrella group in East Tennessee, proudly notes on its website its “close cooperation with other Muslim organizations in the area, most notably: the Islamic Education Foundation of Knoxville (IEFK), the Annoor Academy of Knoxville (AAK) and the Muslim Student Association (MSA).”  MCK also rejoiced in its cooperation with Helping Hands for Relief & Development to provide aid to Pakistan during its floods last year.

These are questionable organizations with whom to consort.

Make an investment in your hereafter

Annoor Fundraising Flyer

If these were the waters in which Aziz swam, no wonder he’s all wet.

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Oops, £ meant for moderates funded extremists

June 12, 2011

Melanie Phillips has written a piece that vividly portrays the risks of trying to support “moderate” Islam.  Her examples come from Britain, but the lesson should be learned across the land and seas.  Whether it’s international aid to Gaza, U.S. reintegration payments for the Taliban, funding Libyan rebels, or national financing of Islamic education by Germany, the end result is the same:  money intended to support moderation ends up lining the pockets of extremism.

From the Mail Online (h/t RoP) on Jun. 8:

Now they tell us. Ministers have finally admitted what I revealed in my book, Londonistan, back in 2006 and have written many times since then – that, incredible as it may seem, hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money that was supposed to be spent on countering Islamic extremism has gone to groups or individuals actually promoting Islamic extremism.

Paralysed by political correctness, the previous Labour government, the intelligence agencies, police, universities and other institutions decided to try to promote ‘moderate’ Muslim groups to tackle the extremists.

As a result of refusing to listen to the many warnings that such a policy would not work because of doubts about how ‘moderate’ these groups actually were, they got it terribly wrong.

Here are just a few of the extremist Islamist groups the Government has been funding:

Muslim Council of Britain

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and related groups were handed £550,985 over a period of three years by the Department of Communities and Local Government. In March 2009 the Government suspended links with the MCB and demanded one of its leaders should be sacked for allegedly supporting violence against Israel.

The Cordoba Foundation

The Cordoba Foundation, an independent research organisation which advises leading Muslim groups and which was founded by Anas al-Tikriti, former president of the Muslim Association of Britain, has received ‘anti-extremist’ funding.

The group, which David Cameron once described as a front for the extremist Muslim Brotherhood, was given £38,000 by Tower Hamlets council in East London in 2007 for two projects: A Muslim media project and a Muslim debating society which held a debate entitled ‘Has Political Participation Failed British Muslims?’.

Dr Abdul Wahid, the leader of radical group Hizb-ut-Tahrir (an extremist group which refuses to condemn suicide bombers, has called for the destruction of Israel and which Tony Blair promised to outlaw) was invited to speak. As a result, the Foundation was required to return some of the money given to it.

The Islamic Foundation

Described by the BBC’s Panorama as an ‘influential’ outpost of militant Islamist ideology, it was set up by members of Pakistan’s Jamaat-i-Islami opposition party, which campaigns for Pakistan to become an Islamic state governed by Sharia holy law. Panorama claimed the foundation promoted fundamentalist materials.

iEngage

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia used a body called iEngage as the group’s secretariat. iEngage is an organisation of Islamist sympathisers which has repeatedly defended extremists. It called on the Government to revoke a ban on a hardline foreign preacher who has said that ‘every Muslim should be a terrorist’.

The STREET project

Lambeth Council gave an unspecified sum to the STREET project, run by Abdul Haqq Baker, the chairman of the Brixton Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre.

The project was aimed at ‘reaching out’ to young Muslims who were susceptible to violent extremism, but Baker is an adherent of Salafism, a hard line form of Islam seen as in conflict with liberal democracy.

Green Lane and Central mosques

Government money was given to Birmingham’s Green Lane and Central mosques. They featured in an undercover Channel 4 Dispatches programme in which imams were recorded making inflammatory comments.

One preacher, Abu Usamah, called for gay people to be executed and was quoted as saying: ‘If I were to call homosexuals perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered, that’s my freedom of speech, isn’t it?’.

Global Peace and Unity

Over four years the Met Police gave £26,500 sponsorship to the annual Muslim gathering, Global Peace and Unity. But one of the event’s main speakers had suggested the Queen’s decision to award a knighthood to Salman Rushdie was enough to justify suicide bombings by Muslims.

The Met also employed as an anti-terrorism adviser Mohamed Ali Harrath, who was wanted by Interpol and authorities in his native Tunisia because of his links to an alleged terror organisation.

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DOJ source implicates Islamic Relief

April 17, 2011

A high-ranking U.S. Department of Justice official has disclosed that money for Hamas “is going through groups like Islamic Relief.”  Islamic Relief USA is the largest Muslim charity in America, and enjoys a four-star charity rating from Charity Navigator… for the time being.

This news comes from a recent Pajamas Media exclusive by Patrick Poole (with much thanks to Shariah Finance Watch for circulating) about the Department of Justice’s decision to squash its investigation into terrorist financing by CAIR and related organizations due to political reasons. There’s a lot to digest in the article, and Money Jihad readers should peruse the whole scandalous thing, but today I’d like to drill down into one angle of the story.

Specifically, the Department of Justice official that served as the source for the article said:

We know that these Muslim leaders and groups are continuing to raise money for Hamas and other terrorist organizations. Ten years ago we shut down the Holy Land Foundation. It was the right thing to do. Then the money started going to KindHearts. We shut them down too. Now the money is going through groups like Islamic Relief and Viva Palestina.

We all know about the Holy Land Foundation, which was the largest Islamic charity in America before it was shut down for financing Hamas.  Readers will also recall KindHearts, the new bottle for HLF’s old wine, that the ACLU still goes to great lengths to defend.

We knew about Viva Palestina too, the relatively new but already infamous “charity.”

But Islamic Relief?  Although the name “Islamic Relief” could be applied to several organizations, it is unlikely that the official is referring to the Saudi-backed International Islamic Relief Organization, because that is normally just called IIRO.  (Besides, IIRO prefers funding Al Qaeda, not Hamas…)

The source could conceivably be referring to Islamic Relief Worldwide, a U.K.-based umbrella group which Money Jihad has reported to have colluded with Union of Good (pro-Hamas) charities before. 

But most likely, the DOJ source is referring to Islamic Relief USA, and that is because most U.S. Muslims are giving directly to Islamic Relief USA, not directly to Worldwide Islamic Relief or Islamic Relief UK (although they’re all related).  If true, it is newsbreaking that a high-ranking Justice official has “outed” Islamic Relief USA for the first time.

Even if the source is referring to Islamic Relief Worldwide, that is the first time a U.S. official has made such defamatory comments.

Since the Holy Land Foundation closed, Islamic Relief USA has been the largest Muslim charity and zakat collector in America.  (See our review of Islamic Relief USA’s finances here.)  If officials in the Justice Department are aware of Islamic Relief funds being funneled to Hamas, they have an obligation to move forward with an investigation and prosecution.

Too much money is involved to ignore this seemingly casual reference to Islamic Relief becoming the new channel for filling the coffers of Hamas.

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Addendum: Faraj Hassan dead

November 18, 2010

This is an update to this earlier post about Treasury’s Oct. 19 removal of Faraj Hussein al-Sa’idi from its terrorist sanctions list. 

Faraj Hussein, or Faraj Hassan as he was commonly known, was a Libyan living in Britain who had been convicted in absentia by an Italian court on terrorism charges in 2006.  I called Hassan’s delisting “mysterious,” but it turns out that he may have been removed from the list because he recently died.

There are a few reasons for the confusion:  1) No reference to his death was included or discernible from Treasury’s original announcement.  2) Faraj Hassan’s multiple aliases and name spellings (at least five variations) also complicated the research for my original post.  3) There is news coverage by the Harrow Observer of the death of “Faraj Saadi” here and a casual reference in a Guardian article, although I couldn’t find any other mainstream news accounts of the death.  Several online Islamic forums, nonprofit organizations, and personal websites all say that Faraj Hassan died in a motorcycle accident on the morning of Aug. 16 this year.  The Harrow Observer had this photo of the accident scene:

Crash site of Faraj Farj Hussein al-Sa'idi

Accident scene in Harrow, England

Shortly before his death, Faraj Hassan can be seen in video at a rally for would-be murderess Aafia Siddiqi telling the audience that “jihad against America is compulsory.”  See the footage YouTube banned on Yahoo Video here.  (I had originally uploaded the video on YouTube so I could embed it here on WordPress, but YouTube disabled the video for “violating” their policy.  Amazing how when you simply show what the jihadists say, the video gets removed.  And WordPress doesn’t allow for embedding of Yahoo videos.  Sheesh!)

Anyway, sanctions delistings due to death are not uncommon.  The potential problem in lifting such sanctions is that it may result in unfreezing of assets that will return to the families of the designated terrorist.  Depending on the political inclinations of the family, the unfrozen funds become available to funnel back into the fight against the infidel West.

The other tricky thing about deletions due to death is confirming whether the terrorist is actually dead or not.  Terrorists have a natural incentive to stage their own death.  Fortunately, Hassan’s associates videotaped his corpse to prove that he’s dead.  Isn’t that what we’d all do?

I always take a digital camera to funerals so I can document just how dead my friends and relatives are.  Then I like to publish the video online so that everybody, including sanctioning authorities, also know about the death.  It’s all perfectly normal and raises no eyebrows.

It’s remarkable how quickly Treasury verified the death–presumably obtaining a copy of the the police report and death certificate from British authorities first–and delisted Hassan in only one month.  That’s quicker than an average American can obtain a passport!

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Troubling links of Kuveyt Turk Bank

November 11, 2010

Kuwait Turk Bank

When German bank regulators allowed Kuveyt Turk Bank to launch sharia banking there last January, that was bad enough.

But now we learn from a write-up by Money Jihad’s friend, Puneet Madaan, that Kuveyt Turk’s shareholders include 1) the nefarious Islamic Development Bank and 2) the Kuwait Finance House, a shareholder of Tadamon Islamic Bank.  Osama Bin Laden has used Tadamon to help disburse terror funds.  For those of you with Facebook accounts, you can access Puneet’s full article here on “Puneet’s Notes.”

(Read previous coverage from Shariah Finance Watch on Islamic banking in Germany here.)

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