Syrian Fundraising, terror ties and the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood
Some of the same individuals behind past terror tied funding operations are directing current charity efforts.
In Questionable Charity Groups Cloud Syrian Benefit we reported on Syrian songwriter/singer/activist Yahya Hawwa touring Muslim communities in America as part of a benefit to help Syrians in need. It was noted that one of the organizations sponsoring the event, Life for Relief and Development (LIFE), is one of the larger U.S. based Islamic Charities. It also has past partnerships with organizations such as Human Appeal International (HAI), a group reportedly linked to Hamas.
LIFE’s ties to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood originate with it’s founder and former CEO, Khalil Jassemm and his association with the late MB leader Dr. Ahmed Elkadi while residing in Panama City, FL. Elkadi’s father-in-law, Mahmoud Abu-Saud was also living in the Panama City area at the time. Abu-Saud was known for his expertise in finance and central banking and being heavily involved in the Muslim Brotherhood’s beginnings in Egypt. Abu-Saud and Elkadi worked together with the formation of several Islamic organizations including the first Islamic Center of Northwest Florida in 1986.
In 1985, Jassemm joined with Elkadi to form at least one charity, the Welfare Trust for Needy Patients, Inc in Panama City. The organization was dissolved in 1991. Jasseemm moved to California and started LIFE in 1992. LIFE was moved to Michigan in 1994. In the mid 1990s, Jasseemm maintained his ties to Elkadi while working as a visiting professor at the University of Maine, Department of Survey Engineering – Orno sponsored by Elkadi’s Institute of Islamic Medicine for Education and Research.
Jasseemm is also the author of several books relating to Islamic charities. His, “Islamic Perspective on Charity, a Comprehensive Guide for Running a Muslim Nonprofit In the U.S.” provides extensive guidance for Islamic charity officials in regards to laws governing such groups. Jasseemm is no longer listed as being affiliated with LIFE and is believed to be living in Jordan.
LIFE’s current board listing still reflects its MB influences and includes:
Dr. Gindy is a co-founder and board member of CAIR Michigan.
M. Yahia Abdul-Rahim
We’ve covered Dr. Rahim’s MB ties a number times. He is listed as the NAIT contact for the Bay County Islamic Society and is a director of the the Panama City Advanced School Corporation. In the 1992 Phone Book seized during the Holyland Foundation investigation into terrorist funding, Dr. Rahim (Y. Abdul-Raheem) was listed as the economic head of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.
A lessor known document showing Rahim’s MB ties is a 1994 Florida corporate filing for the Muslim Financial Group, Inc., which was dissolved one year later. In addition to Rahim named as director, it includes Mohamed Mabrook and Jamal Nyrabeah.
Mabrook was president of Global Chemical and had been convicted in 2002 of mail and wire fraud – defrauding investors of the company. According to a 2002 Wall Street Journal report it was a bit more complicated, involving suspected ties to Saudi investments and terror groups:
One month after the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. Treasury labeled Mr. [Yassin] Qadi, who is 47 years old, a “specially designated global terrorist” and froze his assets in the U.S. and Europe. The government says that Mr. Qadi and organizations he controls move money from Saudi sources through numerous businesses and charities world-wide. Some of the money ends up in the hands of terrorists, the U.S. says. Mr. Qadi declines to comment, but through his lawyers, he denies ever knowingly doing business with terrorists or financing them. He hasn’t been prosecuted, and his attorneys are trying to persuade the Treasury of his innocence.
The article refers to Mabrook’s company …
In the mid-1990s, another company to which Mr. Qadi had ties, Abrar Investments Inc., joined with International Relief Organization [IIRO] to invest in a Chicago chemical company — a deal that is also drawing scrutiny from federal investigators.
Abrar Investments was a Stamford, Conn., company that sought “Islamically permissible investment opportunities in the United States,” according to its prospectus. The company’s name means “the do-gooders.” Mr. Qadi’s lawyers confirm he, among others, invested money in the U.S. through Abrar Investments. He was also a director of Abrar’s Malaysian corporate parent, according to records gathered by terrorism researcher Rita Katz of the nonprofit SITE Institute in Washington.
Abrar and International Relief Organization jointly invested more than $2 million in Global Chemical Corp., which said it made household- and pool-cleaning supplies. Abrar provided $250,000 itself, as well as another $345,000 that came from one of its clients, according to an affidavit by FBI agent Valerie Donahue filed in federal court in Chicago in January 1997. International Relief Organization invested more than $1 million and guaranteed Abrar Investments against any potential loss from the deal, the Donahue affidavit said. Two of International Relief’s top officials owned a total of a 20% stake in Global Chemical, according to the Donahue affidavit.
The president of Global Chemical was Mohammed Mabrook, a Libyan immigrant and Islamic activist who during his college years in Tennessee organized opposition to the secular dictatorship of Libyan Col. Moammar Gadhafi. In 1985, Mr. Mabrook, had worked for a pro-Palestinian group headed by Mr. Marzouk, the senior Hamas leader who the U.S. believes was a coinvestor with Mr. Qadi in BMI, according to a 2001 federal-court filing in Chicago.
Global Chemical kept a warehouse full of highly toxic chemicals but appeared to have few if any customers, according to the Donahue affidavit. Alarmed, the FBI asked one of the government’s senior experts on chemical weapons, Dennis J. Reutter, chief of the army’s Materiel Command Treaty Laboratory in Edgewood, Md., to look at the chemicals Global Chemical was purchasing.
The FBI included an ominous excerpt from Mr. Reutter’s Oct. 23, 1996, report in Ms. Donahue’s affidavit. The purchases, he wrote, “do not appear to be consistent with R&D for formulation of commercial cleaning products or for quality control of commercial cleaning products.” The names of the chemicals weren’t made public. His report concluded that “taken in total, the purchases appear to be more consistent with support” of a laboratory performing biochemistry or “organic synthesis.” Mr. Reutter declines to comment.
Organic synthesis is one way to describe the process used to manufacture some explosives. But U.S. law-enforcement officials in Chicago say they didn’t find direct evidence of any bomb making at Global Chemical.
Mr. Salah — the confessed Hamas operative who received funds both directly from Mr. Qadi and from the Woodridge, Ill., real-estate investment Mr. Qadi financed — also allegedly had an interest in dangerous chemicals. In the 1995 confession to Israeli authorities, which he subsequently retracted and which the FBI summarized in court filings, Mr. Salah allegedly said that while in Chicago in the early 1990s, he trained recruits to work with “basic chemical materials for the preparation of bombs and explosives,” as well as various toxins.
Qadi was one of the original investors in Bait ul Mal, Inc. (BMI), an Islamic investment firm tied to the MB. A 2003 National Review article provides additional details regarding BMI and terror funding tied to charities, including IIRO.
Court documents for U.S. vs Mabrook portray Dr. Rahim a victim of fraud committed by Mabrook indicating he invested $600,000 in the Mabrook’s chemical company. In light of Rahim’s position in MB financial matters, Yassin Qadi’s funding activities and the involvement of IIRO, the “victim” label is questionable.
Nyrabeah resided in Panama City, FL along with Dr. Rahim and Dr. Elkadi. In 1993 Nyrabeah become a director of the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF) and is cited in court documents. A Canadian corporation filing also shows Nyrabeah as a listed director along with Enaam Arnaout for the Benevolence International Fund, incorporated in 2000. In 2002, Enaam Arnaout was linked by prosecutors to Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network and was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison. In 2002, the U.S. Government designated BIF as a “Financiers of Terrorism” for providing support to Hamas as well as Al Qaeda. Nyrabeah apparently was not charged.
Dr. Saqar’s ties to the MB can be found in the 1992 Phone Book seized during the Holy land Foundation investigation into terrorist funding. He is listed (spelled as Hani Shaker) as a member of the MB executive committee and as the “Masul” (leader) of the Administrative Office for East America.
Saqar was the former director of the Noor Islamic Cultural Center in Dublin, Ohio (NICC) until a disagreement emerged with other NICC members. Reporter Patrick Poole has written about the NICC’s former spirtual leader, Dr. Salah Sultan and his ties to Hamas and the MB. Up until recently, Saqar was president of the The Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights (EADHR), a group reported by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) to be a pro Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood group.
This year LIFE is not as visible with Hawwa’s fund raising appearances.
The primary sponsoring groups are Syria Relief and Development and United Muslim Relief. Both organizations under control of individuals with strong Muslim Brotherhood affiliations.
Syria Relief and Development was formed and incorporated in Kansas in 2011. It’s 2013 filings report over $5 million in relief efforts.
The organization’s books were initially handled by Mohamad Albadawi. The Causingfitna blog has some extensive information covering Albadawi’s ties to MB organizations and the myraid of Islamic special interest groups he is involved with.
Syria Relief and Development board of directors are:
Dr. Jihad Qaddour
The organization’s founder, and a founding member of the Islamic Society of Wichita in Kansas as well as a trustee for the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF). We reported on the SETF and it’s connection to the MB in U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Likely Influenced Senate Defense Bill . The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch (GMBDW) reported that the majority of SETF board members have a history of close ties to the US Muslim Brotherhood. Qaddour also was a trustee and treasurer for the Muslim American Society (MAS) – a MB front group. The Causingfitna blog reported on Qaddour’s participation in 2013 pro MB Kansas city rally and his involvement in 2015 lobbying efforts with the U.S. Senate.
The daughter of Jihad Qaddour, she is a former board member and secretary for Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA). A 2014 report by the Clarion Project provides information linking IRUSA with Hamas and the MB. In regards to IRUSA’s parent organization, Islamic Relief Worldwide, the GMBDW notes :
Islamic Relief was one of the founding members of the Union of Good, a “coalition of Islamic charities that provides financial support to both the Hamas ‘social’ infrastructure, as well as its terrorist activities.” The Union of Good is headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi and most of the trustees and member organizations are associated with the Global Muslim Brotherhood.
The Money Jihad blog reported in September 2014 that, “New tax documents reveal that Islamic Relief USA (IR-USA), the largest Islamic charity in the United States, gave over $118,000 in grants in 2013 to entities with previous connections to terrorism.”
Dr. Hashem Mubarak
As with the previously mention Dr. Rahim, Dr. Mubarak resides in Panama City, FL and has past professional ties to the late MB leader Elkadi. He has been the past president and spokesman for the Bay County Islamic Society, Panama City, FL and still currently serves on its board. He also serves with Dr. Rahim as a board member for the Panama City Advanced School, an Islamic k-12 school. The school ties it’s historical beginnings to Dr. Elkadi.
Like Jihad Qaddour, Mubarak is a member of the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF). As noted, it has been reported that the majority of SETF board members have a history of close ties to the US Muslim Brotherhood.
A resident of Wichita for over 20 years, Alfaihhas served as the chair and activities coordinator for the Islamic Society of Wichita.
Kuziez is a past vice president and treasurer of the Muslim Students’ Association of the US and Canada (MSA). The Investigative Project on Terrorism has prepared an extensive dossier on the MSA
In May of 2013, the financial rating of Islamic Relief USA, the nation’s largest Islamic charity, was downgraded from four stars to two stars by the nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator. By October of 2013, it was announced that IR-USA’s chief executive officer, Abed Ayoub, was leaving IR-USA to take over a northern Virginia charity now known as United Muslim Relief (UMR), that had dropped its old name, “Muslims Without Borders” one day earlier.
While he was CEO of IR-USA, Ayoub presided over a period of falsely inflated growth for the well-known Islamic charity. By grossly misstating the value of deworming drugs, IR-USA gave the appearance of having over received over $160 million in donations in 2010. When it used corrected valuation techniques in 2011, IR-USA reported contributions of only $60 million. The fraudulent bookkeeping of 2001-2010 enabled IR-USA to attract larger institutional donors than it otherwise would have, along with political endorsements from top Democrats and partnerships with federal agencies. Smaller Islamic charities were some of the victims of this fraud, because federal officials have often encouraged Muslim donors to give their zakat to larger, more “trustworthy,” charities like IR-USA. During Ayoub’s final year as CEO, IR-USA donated over $100,000 to nonprofits and mosques connected with terrorism.
Ayoub’s past work with IR-USA provides possible insight as to how he will manage UMR. It should be noted that Ayoub also was was involved in the management of parent organization of IR-USA, Islamic Relief Worldwide. While with IR-USA, his 2012 bio included:
As a governance committee member of Islamic Relief Worldwide™ (IRW), Mr. Ayoub monitors the present performance of IRW and plans future aims and priorities for the international organization. He is also the chairman of a subcommittee focused on governance and improving IR partnerships.
As noted earlier, the IRW’s connection to the Union of Good establishes Muslim Brotherhood influence.
COMMENT: As reported above, charitable non-governmental organizations with MB tied leaderships have a history of diverting donated funds to non-humanitarian activities and groups – many times to support Islamic terror activities. Some of the same individuals behind past terror tied funding operations are directing current charity efforts. With the increased turmoil and questionable goals of Islamic militant groups in Syria, the above described relief efforts warrant close scrutiny.