Wednesday, July 25, 2007

US Treasury Cracks Down On Two Muslim Charities Funding Terror

by Ezra HaLevi

Legal action is being taken against two Muslim charities in the United States due to their support of the Hamas and Hizbullah terrorist groups.

On Tuesday, the US Treasury began legal action against the Iran-based Martyrs Foundation and what it says is a front-group for it – the Goodwill Charitable Organization (GCO), which has a US branch in Dearborn, Michigan. The organization is accused of providing funding to Hizbullah. Action was also initiated against al-Qard al-Hassan, a Lebanese firm believed to have been used by Hizbullah as a front for managing its finances. The administrative order also includes a warrant for the arrest of two Lebanese men who acted as go-betweens from the charitable foundations to Hizbullah.

The legal action translates into the freezing of all assets and accounts of the foundations and individuals, as well as a ban on doing business with any of the entities for any US citizens.

"We will not allow organizations that support terrorism to raise money in the United States," Stuart Levey, the Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, told reporters.

Treasury investigators found that potential donors were instructed by US-based Hizbullah terrorists to send contributions to the GCO, which would pass the money to the Martyrs Foundation in Lebanon.

In addition to Hizbullah, the Martyrs Foundation channels funds to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Islamist terror groups.

Another Islamist organization, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, is on trial after a decade-long FBI investigation into the group’s funding of Hamas.

"The charity's leaders lied about their purpose because to tell the truth is to reveal what they were all about - the destruction of the State of Israel and replacing it with a Palestinian Islamic state," Prosecutor James T. Jacks said in his opening statement Tuesday.

The fund channeled money and support to families of suicide bombers, according to the prosecution. Federal agents raided the group’s US offices in December, 2001.

The fund’s lawyers claim it supported humanitarian efforts in PA-controlled areas and did not know it was aiding Hamas. Five of the fund’s top officials are being accused of funneling $36 million to individuals and groups tied to Hamas.

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