Another conviction against Islamic charity leaderSeptember 22, 2010
The zakat defenders are still out there claiming that there have been “no convictions” of Islamic charities. They ignore the Holy Land Foundation convictions, the racketeering conviction against the CEO of Benevolence International Foundation, the successful deportation hearing against the founder of Global Relief Foundation, and convictions of Islamic American Relief Agency leaders.
Earlier this month the leader of the Oregon branch of Al Haramain Islamic Foundation, one of the handful of charities designated by the U.S. Treasury Department, was convicted on charges related to smuggling cash out of the country to jihadists overseas. “Peace activist” Pete Seda now joins the ranks of the other Islamic charity leaders living behind bars.
From the Register-Guard on Sept. 10:
An Oregon federal jury convicted an Ashland Islamic charity leader Thursday of conspiring with a Saudi associate to smuggle $130,000 out of the United States with the intent of funneling it to Muslim fighters battling Russian troops in Chechnya.
The panel also convicted Pete Seda of filing a falsified tax return for his Al-Haramain USA charity to hide that offense. The jurors deliberated for 1½ days before delivering their 6 p.m. decision.
Seda’s face grew grim, but he otherwise was stoic as a court bailiff read the verdict. There was quiet weeping among more than a dozen of Seda’s family members and other supporters in the Eugene courtroom.
U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan set a Nov. 23 sentencing date for the Iranian born, 16-year U.S. citizen. But he ordered Seda taken into immediate custody after prosecutor Charles Gorder, Jr. argued that he might flee the country, as he did in 2003 after learning he was under investigation.
Defense attorney Steve Wax had urged that Seda remain out on bail, noting that his client had voluntarily returned face his charges in 2007.
Seda was indicted in February 2005, along with co-founder Soliman Al-Buthe and Al-Haramain USA. Al-Buthe lives in Saudi Arabia, which has no extradition agreement with the United States.
Though the charity was branded a global terror organization by U.S. officials, charges against it were dismissed when it became defunct after Seda’s 2003 departure. Other former U.S. associates of the group are suing the government for wiretapping their phone conversations without a warrant. A federal appeals judge ruled this spring that those wiretaps broke the law.
Oregon U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton praised the verdict Thursday night.
“Money is the lifeblood of terrorism in these shady, violent, religious extremist groups,” he said. “If we can stop the flow of money, we can significantly reduce the threat here at home and abroad.”
He said the jury found that Seda lied to U.S. customs and IRS officials to duck reporting requirements “vital to our effort to make sure that money does not land in the hands of terrorists or other violent extremists.”
Read the rest of the story here.