Skip to comments.Mosque founder denies terrorism link
Posted on 08/23/2004 8:28:50 PM PDT by quantim
LOS ANGELES (AP) A top fund-raiser for an Islamic charity with alleged links to terrorism testified Monday he believed the donations were used only for humanitarian projects, and asked to be freed while he fights deportation. Abdel-Jabbar Hamdan, 44, a founder of a mosque in Anaheim, was arrested on immigration charges last month as federal authorities unsealed an indictment against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, charging the Texas-based charity funneled millions to the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Hamdan's detention has sparked protests by Southern California Muslims who see it as an unfair pressure tactic to get him to reveal information about Holy Land.
Hamdan, born in a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank, acknowledges traveling around the country as a Holy Land fund-raiser. He insists, however, he has no information to support allegations the group aided Hamas, which the United States has labeled a terrorist organization.
"My mission was purely humanitarian, to help the children and the disadvantaged people in Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and around the world," he said at an immigration hearing on Terminal Island in Los Angeles harbor.
Lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union are seeking Hamdan's release on bond while he seeks to become a legal resident. The government asserts he is a flight risk and a threat to national security.
After a day of testimony and motions, Judge D.D. Sitgraves continued the bond hearing until Oct. 1. A hearing on whether he can be deported has not yet been scheduled.
U.S. officials, citing confidentiality rules, have not disclosed his alleged immigration violation; his attorneys say he is accused of violating the student visa he used to enter the country from Jordan in 1979.
"This is where our life is," said Yaman Hamdan, the eldest of Hamdan's six children all born in the United States. "America is our country."
Three men indicted on charges of using the Muslim charity to provide $12.4 million to Hamas from 1995 to 2001 were released from jail Friday in Dallas while they await an October trial. Two other defendants were arrested in California and New Jersey and are expected to be returned to Texas. Another two are fugitives outside the United States.
Hamdan, a top fund-raiser for an Islamic charity with alleged links to terrorism testified Monday, Aug. 23, 2004, that he believed the money he collected was used only for international humanitarian projects, and he asserted that his links to his family in the United States are so strong that he should be freed as he fights deportation. (AP Photo/Rene Macura)
I wonder if any of this dough ended up in Kerry's campaign?