Skip to comments.Muslim-Fund-Raising
Posted on 03/06/2003 3:37:21 AM PST by kattracks
NEW YORK, Mar 06, 2003 (AP Online via COMTEX) -- Allegations linking al-Qaida to money raised through a Brooklyn mosque have devastated New York Muslims and will hurt legitimate fund raising that was already crippled after the Sept. 11 attacks, Islamic groups said.
U.S. officials have charged a Yemeni cleric with providing material support to a terrorist network and say much of the multimillions of dollars he raised came from contributors in the United States, including worshippers at the Al Farouq mosque in Brooklyn.
Muslim leaders said Wednesday that the announcement is another setback for mosques and groups already struggling with a major downturn in donations after the terrorist attacks, which brought a grim economy, a bias against Muslims and federal scrutiny of their organizations.
"People are afraid to donate," said Zein Rimawi, board member of the Arab Muslim American Federation, an umbrella group for New York City mosques.
"They're afraid to even go to pray at the mosques" for fear of bias attacks or raids by law enforcement, he added. His mosque, the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge, has cut children's programs and assistance to the needy because of fewer donations, he said.
Sheik Mohammed Al Hasan Al-Moayad, who is being held in Germany, told an FBI informant that he supplied $20 million, recruits and weapons to Osama bin Laden in the years before the Sept. 11 attacks, officials said Tuesday.
Attorney General John Ashcroft told the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington that Al-Moayad "boasted that jihad was his field, and trumpeted his involvement in providing money, recruits and supplies to al-Qaida, Hamas and other terrorist groups."
The government released few details in its case, but said Moayad told the informant that he had received money for the jihad that was collected at the Brooklyn mosque.
Mosque officials said they were surprised by the allegations and insisted worshippers are only allowed to raise money for tax-exempt U.S. charities.
Naeem Baig, secretary general of the Islamic Circle of North America, said legitimate fund raising for the needy - a pillar of Islam - has been hit hard by post-Sept. 11 crackdowns on charities suspected of terrorist ties.
Some donors worry that writing a check could get them on a government watch list, said Baig, whose national organization is based in New York City.
"Most of the Muslims feel that the money being spent by Muslim organizations is being spent rightly, but the major worry is that if an organization is banned by the government, donors are also subject to interrogation," Baig said. "People don't want to put themselves in trouble."
He added that Islamic centers, on average, say donations have decreased by about 25 percent, and that the allegations about the Al Farouq mosque just "make that worse."
Ghazi Khankan, former president of the National Council on Islamic Affairs, said it creates "a confused atmosphere for us to be able to fulfill our religious duty."
On the Net:
Islamic Circle of North America: http://www.icna.org
N.Y. Muslims Hurt By Mosque Allegations By SARA KUGLER Associated Press Writer
Must suck to be you, Dude.
Might I suggest trying a different religion?
Or do they still kill converts?