Posts Tagged ‘Georgia’

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Atlanta’s “largest and oldest” mosque faces tax sale

March 12, 2012

Legal notice from DeKalb Champion, Mar. 8, p. 20C

A tax lien has been filed against the Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam, the self-proclaimed “largest and oldest Islamic community in Metro Atlanta.”  The owners of the mosque must pay about $6,000 to satisfy the lien and prevent the property from being sold on the courthouse steps of DeKalb County on Apr. 3.

The Atlanta Masjid normally pays about $10,000 in local property taxes a year for its property on 562 Fayetteville Road, but has only made a partial payment for 2011.  The mosque also owes smaller amounts on adjoining property it owns at 560 and 596 Fayetteville Road.

Details of Atlanta Masjid’s finances are not available to the public because the organization has no tax form 990 on file with the Internal Revenue Service.  Its website seeks zakat donations for the mosque, for Eid, and for the schools operated by the mosque.  The mosque has a “Majlis Ash-Shura Board” which appears to have marginal oversight over funding, but it does not appear to have a dedicated finance committee.  Daaiyah Shakir is listed as the mosque’s treasurer.

Atlanta Masjid caught the attention of Atlas Shrugs in 2008 for a potential violation of 501(c)(3) tax law by hosting a political event for Barack Obama onsite.

Despite its tax problems, the mainstream media is content to present only a positive image for Atlanta Masjid.  CNN has reported warmly on the mosque before, calling one of its Ramadan iftars “splendid,” and touting the mosque’s “community outreach.”  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution assured readers that Atlanta Masjid is “egalitarian, mainstream” (while showing a photo of male-only worship) during the mosque’s alleged 50th anniversary.

The mosque’s imam, Mansoor Sabree, made news in Georgia during the Ground Zero Mosque controversy for endorsing a mosque “anywhere, anywhere in America.”

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Georgia Muslims dodge building codes through outdoor worship

February 29, 2012

At-Taqwa Mosque has been cited at least six times by DeKalb County and several times by the City of Doraville–two metro-Atlanta jurisdictions that At-Taqwa’s properties overlap.  This mosque is taking shortcuts with the safety of the adults and children who attend services there by building slipshod structures that fall short of acceptable construction codes.

At a minimum, the case demonstrates the negligence of the mosque, its leadership, and owners.  But it reflects the larger issue of At-Taqwa’s haste to expand as rapidly as possible.  At-Taqwa’s attorney writes-off the code citations and a violation of an order from the DeKalb County Probate Court as confusion of the mosque from having to deal with two separate jurisdictions.  But At-Taqwa has only itself to blame for spanning city and unincorporated county boundaries; the mosque gobbled up eight parcels of land in the area and put itself in the situation.

At-Taqwa’s aggressive expansion and blatant disregard for DeKalb’s order to stop services suggests that At-Taqwa is spoiling for a fight.  It’s a bit like a skinny person asking for seatbelt extenders in an airplane, getting up and down, and switching seats with your buddies without explanation.  It suggests a probe to test how serious law enforcement will treat the matter.  Atlas Shrugs covered an initial report from WSB-TV.  Here’s an update from the DeKalb Champion‘s Feb. 23-29 edition:

Doraville mosque struggles with numerous code violations

by Daniel Beauregard

daniel@dekalbchamp.com

A mosque that has been cited numerous times for code/zoning violations has continued to hold services even though a court has ordered services to stop, DeKalb County officials said.

The At-Taqwa Mosque, in the 2000 block [2662, 2668, and 2674] of Woodwin Road in Doraville, has been cited at least six times by county code enforcement officials for failing to maintain a certificate of occupancy.

DeKalb County spokesman Burke Brennan said it was because of these citations the owners of the mosque were called in front of a probate court judge last year and ordered to stop holding services.

However, attorney Khurram Baig, who is representing the mosque, said it continued holding services due to a misunderstanding.

“Different people who they were working with in the county gave them different opinions and based on some misunderstandings they went back in the space,” Baig said.

Baig said the mosque had been working with code enforcement officials who told mosque leaders the several buildings they owned were in compliance.

“I can’t deny that they went into the space,” Baig said.  “They didn’t know that the probate court is the one that has the final say as to whether they can operate inside the building.”

Both Brennan and Baig said that part of the confusion was because the buildings owned by the mosque are located in both unincorporated DeKalb and the city of Doraville.

“When you’re dealing with municipalities and navigating two different bureaucracies, it can leave people who were born here confused, so you can imagine their confusion being immigrants.  It’s just a huge misunderstanding,” Baig said.

Luke Howe, spokesman for Doraville mayor Donna Pittman, said the mosque had been cited numerous times by the city of Doraville as well.

Baig, who has only been representing the mosque for several weeks, said he has informed the owners that if they are going to conduct services it has to be outside, to avoid any further violations.

“For whatever reason the relationship between the mosque and the neighbors is fractured,” Baig said.  “There is a neighbor there who is always calling code enforcement out on them and my advice to the mosque was to get into compliance so he can’t continue doing that.”

Baig said he was optimistic all the mosque’s issues would be worked out but said it may take time.  In the meantime, he said it would conduct prayer services outside where they would not be committing any code violations.

Anybody else not much comforted by overflow crowds in the parking lots and roads on a mostly residential street where neighbors are already at their wits’ end?

By the way, the imam of the mosque and CEO of the entity that owns the property (Al Maad Al Islami, Inc.) is Mohammed Enamul Haque.  Guess where he lives?  Lilburn!—the heart of defiant mosques in Georgia.  Perhaps Haque saw Dar-E-Abbas Islamic Center get away with repeated code citations in Lilburn and figured he could do the same in DeKalb!

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The case for taxing hawala

October 3, 2011

Problem/Issue:

1)  Hawala, the traditional Islamic method of transferring money, plays a key role in financing major terrorist activity.  A)  The 9/11 Commission found that Al Qaeda relied on a trusted network of a dozen hawala dealers leading up to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.  B)  Hawala finances terror in South Asia.  The lethal Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist organization uses hawala and Italian hawaladars may have helped fund the 26/11 attacks against Mumbai, India.  C) The late ambassador Richard Holbrooke disclosed that hawala funds the Taliban.

2)  Hawala’s lack of transparency or an audit trail imposes risks to customers and markets.  Since hawaladars (hawala dealers) often operate outside formal financial rules, their records are subject to less scrutiny, and they do not practice know-your-customer requirements.

3)  Even when practiced legally with the best of intentions by immigrants to send the money home to family in their country of origin, hawala enables a massive transfer of wealth to locations with hostilities toward the United States such as Osama bin Laden’s long-time host, Pakistan.  When Mexican immigrants use Western Union, at least they are using an American company with American employees exercising industry standard controls on wire transfers to a country that is not our sworn enemy.

When a Muslim immigrant seeks the services of a black market hawaladar who doesn’t demand proper customer identification, allows the money to be transferred to a high-risk country, and may only keep a paper log of the transaction, it’s a far different scenario.

Options

Regulatory

Many experts and lawmakers have attempted to regulate hawala by forcing hawaladars to register their business with or become licensed by the government.

Effectiveness

In the U.S., hawaladars are required to register as money services businesses (MSBs) with FinCEN.  A publication from George Mason University indicates that only 17 percent of U.S. hawaladars have actually registered.  From a compliance standpoint, the current system is not working.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Welcome to Lilburn, Georgia

June 1, 2010
The future of America, Shia-style

Ashura "celebration" at Dar-E-Abbas in Lilburn, Ga.

Or maybe Lilburnistan.  Did you think that only Europe is being Islamized?

Lilburn is similar to many cities in America.  It has a cozy population of 11,000 in Gwinnett County about 15 miles outside Atlanta…  It also has at least four Islamic facilities each with colorful back stories.

The one pictured above, the A.G.A. Dar-E-Abbas Islamic Center, has a history of code violations.  Those violations are partly why a Dar-E-Abbas rezoning request was denied by Lilburn in a heated decision last fall.

Then there’s the “Nasfat of Atlanta,” also in Lilburn.  They seem to keep their noses cleaner than Dar-E-Abbas, although they promise on their website “to become renowned for quality da’wah,” which is Islamic proselytizing.  Nasfat also states that they will “not discriminate”…against Muslims.  There are no pledges on their website about discriminating against anybody else.

Next there’s a nonprofit corporation known as the Al-Rasoul Masjid & Center AMC IncThey’re currently in noncompliance with Georgia corporations laws for not filing necessary paperwork with the Secretary of State.  Lovely.

Finally, there’s the “Ali Center,” registered with the state as the Imam Ali (A.S.) Center.  The registered agent and CEO of the Ali Center is Kaiser Ali, but the actual owner of the property (according to property records for its address at 695 Beaver Ruin Road) is the Dawat-E-Hadiya of America.  That owner, although technically registered in California, is actually the corporate vessel of a foreign-based Shia Muslim sect.

If you ever feel like buying a nice piece of property with foreign funds, committing code violations on the premises, or failing to file required paperwork, just stop by Lilburn sometime.  A local imam will be happy to give you pointers.

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IRS may revoke tax-exempt status of Islamic charities in Ga.

May 17, 2010

At least five Islamic charities in Georgia are at risk for revocation of their federal 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.  In 2006, federal legislation required most nonprofit organizations to file 990 forms annually regardless of how little revenue the organization took in.  If an organization fails to file its forms for three years, then it will lose its tax-exempt status.  That means the organization would have to pay taxes and that donations to the organization aren’t tax deductible.

The deadline for charities to file is today, May 17.  The Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics has made data available on all charities that have not filed as of last month.  A review of the data by Money Jihad shows these organizations as non-filers:

  • American Muslim Alert Foundation Inc (Atlanta)
  • Madrasat AL-Huda Islamic School of Augusta
  • Majlis Eid Committee of Greater Atlanta Inc
  • Murid Islamic Community in Atlanta Inc
  • Baytul Barham (Duluth)

Many charities, even legitimate ones, are in danger of losing their tax exempt status.  However, given the murky track record of Islamic charities in the United States using zakat to fund overseas jihadists such as Hamas, the lack of any reports being filed by these groups with the IRS give particular cause for alarm.