JANUARY 14, 2008
With little success convicting Islamic charities that operate in the U.S. and support terrorism abroad, federal prosecutors are finally celebrating a big victory against a New York group that claimed to help Muslim war orphans and refugees.
A Brooklyn federal jury convicted three leaders of an Islamic charity called Care International for defrauding the federal government by winning tax exempt status for their organization while concealing that it supported militant fighters in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The men (Emadeddin Muntasser, Samir Al-Monla and Muhamed Mubayyid) face up to half a decade in prison and a quarter of a million dollar fine.
Their fake humanitarian group was an offshoot of a Brooklyn organization called Alkifah Refugee Center, which sent aid to Afghan jihadists that helped Al Qaeda. Care International raised nearly $2 million in the 10 years that it was active. The money was then funneled to Islamic extremists through bigger and better known organizations.
Because the terrorist supporters filed forms claiming that their group was helping orphans, widows and refugees in Muslim nations, they won tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service. This despite the fact that the group published a newsletter promoting Muslim militants fighting “jihad” in various countries.
Despite hard evidence, it has been an uphill battle for the U.S. government to convict similar Islamic organizations that financially support terrorism while enjoying U.S. tax-exempt status. That makes this a huge victory that is being celebrated nationwide by officials at every level of government.
The nation’s Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Kenneth Wainstein, called the verdict a milestone against those who conceal their support for extremist causes behind the veil of humanitarianism. He warns other similar groups that they will be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted.
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