Alms for Jihad Convictions

Justice has been served: on Monday, five former officials of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), once the largest Islamic charity in the United States, were found guilty of funneling at least $12 million of the charity’s funds to the jihad terror group Hamas. Shukri Abu-Baker, Ghassan Elashi (founder of the Texas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations), Mohamed El-Mezain, Mufid Abdulqader, and Abdelrahman Odeh could get sentences of as long as twenty years in prison for providing support to terrorists.

This verdict is a huge setback for the Stealth Jihad initiative in the United States, which I chronicle in my book by that name.

According to the Federation of American Scientists, “today, a very complex financial network connects the operations of over seventy branches of the Muslim Brothers worldwide. During the Muslim Brothers’ seventy-plus years of existence, there have been cycles of growth, followed by divisions into factions, including clandestine financial networks, and violent jihad groups, such as al-Jihad and al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya in Egypt, HAMAS in Palestine and mujahideen groups in Afghanistan.”  

During the first Holy Land Foundation trial last year (which ended in a mistrial), the Muslim Brotherhood memorandum about its “grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within” first came to light. The Holy Land Foundation itself was one of the chief engines of this stealthy effort, enjoying a sterling reputation as a charitable organization while actually acting as a virtual fundraising engine for Hamas.

And the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which all too many sectors of government, law enforcement, and the mainstream media routinely consult with and refer to as a “moderate” Muslim group, joined in with some stealth activity of its own. After September 11, CAIR carried a link to HLF on its website under the heading, “Donate to the NY/DC Emergency Relief Fund.” It may never be known how many people gave money to this thinking they were helping the injured and bereaved in New York and Washington, when they were actually giving money to Hamas. In any case, this earned CAIR the designation of “unindicted co-conspirator” in the HLF case.

Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted the blind Islamic cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, told The Investigative Project: “This is one of the most significant victories the Justice Department has won in the war on terror. Financing is the life-blood of jihadist organizations like Hamas. With the assistance of willing co-conspirators, they conceal their activities and use the Muslim obligation of charitable giving to mask support that is actually channeled to their murderous agenda. Today’s verdicts say, loudly and clearly, that Americans aren’t fooled and won’t tolerate it. As a former federal prosecutor, I am especially proud of the assistant U.S. attorneys who persevered through some real travails in securing justice for the American people.”

Americans aren’t entirely fooled, but that’s not for lack of effort by HLF and its allies.

After the verdicts were announced, the child of one of the defendants, unidentified in news reports, cried out in the courtroom: “My dad is not a criminal! He’s a human!” This was one hint of the strategy that the stealth jihadists and their allies will now pursue: to portray these jihadists as martyrs — a tried-and-true strategy that has been used for decades, going back to the fog of disinformation that for years surrounded that old Communist spy, Alger Hiss.

William Moffitt, an attorney who represented Sami Al-Arian, the former university professor who pled guilty to aiding another terror group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, said this about the Holy Land Foundation defendants: “I suspect that they will be viewed much the same way that Mandela was viewed by the black South African population — as freedom fighters who have dedicated their lives to the liberation of Palestine.” The HLF trial was, he said, one of many “show trials,” the purpose of which was “to further, in the minds of the public, the so-called ‘war on terrorism.’ There are legitimate terrorist organizations out there. But we’ve tried to make every group that doesn’t agree with us like al-Qaeda.”

Of course, Hamas for several years carried on its website its own “Glory Record,” which recounted the murders of innocent civilians in Israel by Hamas members. To oppose and abhor this is not a rhetorical exercise, nor is it demonizing “every group that doesn’t agree with us.”

To obfuscate what is straightforward is a hallmark of the Stealth Jihad. William Moffitt’s statement is not the last attempt we will see to whitewash the activity of the supporters of jihad in the United States and to portray them as victims, while depicting the real victims and their defenders as evil oppressors. Nonetheless, the HLF verdict is a sign that Americans are waking up to this gambit.