SAUDI FUNDING OF THE ISLAMIST FIFTH COLUMN IN AMERICA:
SAUDI-SUPPORTED ISLAMIC EXTREMIST ORGANIZATIONS
OPERATING WITHIN THE BORDERS OF THE U.S.A.
By Matthew Epstein
Two years and two months from the horrifying terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, we must take a closer look at (1) the organizations that claim to speak for the Muslim community in America and (2) how those organizations came to such positions of influence. Despite the Bush administration's efforts toward outreach to Muslims residing in the U.S.A., large sections of the institutional Islamic leadership in America do not support the United Sttates government's counterterrorism policy, denouncing virtually every terrorism indictment, detention, deportation, and investigation as religiously motivated attacks on Islam.
To be clear, I would like to state that militant Islamic fundamentalism is not synonymous with Islam the religion. The overwhelming majority of the world's more than one billion Muslims do not support violence or militancy. The radicalization of the Islamic political leadership in the United States has developed parallel to the radicalization of the Islamic leadership worldwide, sharing a conspiratorial view that Muslims in the United States are being persecuted on the basis of their religion and an acceptance that violence in the name of Islam is justified. While such leaders protest that they have condemned terrorism, and they have in the abstract, they refuse to specifically condemn Islamist terrorist groups and leaders by name, or acknowledge the responsibility of those groups and leaders for the acts of terror.
Although the high visibility of such individuals and organizations suggests broad leader- ship and significant followings in the United States, by many accounts, they draw sup- port from far fewer American Muslims than they claim fall under their leadership. Unfortunately, however, militant Islamists command a disproportionate share of media and political attention as a result of substantial funding received from wealthy benefac- tors, led by the Saudis and their Wahhabi brand of Islam.
With deep pocketbooks and religious conviction, the Saudi Wahhabists have bankrolled a series of Islamic institutions in the United States that actively seek to undermine United States counterterrorism policy at home and abroad. In the U.S.A., the Saudi Wahhabis regularly subsidize the organizations and individuals adhering to the militant ideology espoused by the Muslim Brotherhood and its murderous offshoots--Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and al-Qa'ida, all three of which are designated terrorist organizations. Several of these U.S.-based organizations drawing Saudi support have recently been shuttered and many of their leaders indicted, including, the Holy Land Foundation, Benevolence International Foundation, and the Islamic Concern Project.
Saudi largess has similarly been bestowed upon the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S.-based organization purporting to "promote a positive image of Islam and Muslims in America" and "empower the Muslim community in America through political and social activism." However, in supporting claims of religious discrimination, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and its leadership has managed to disguise its true agenda of supporting militant Islam and protecting the operations of radical groups supporting terrorism.
A careful review reveals that CAIR was a creation of the Hamas group in the United States. CAIR leaders have been heard expressing their support for Hamas both in public and on FBI surveillance tapes. CAIR has received support from, and lent support to, Hamas financial conduits in the United States. Several CAIR officers and em- ployees have been recently indicted on terrorism-related charges. CAIR routinely questions the motives behind U.S. counterterrorism policy and law enforcement.
The rise of militant Islamic leadership in the United States requires particular attention if we are to succeed in the war on terror. While the attacks of September 11, 2001, were executed by al-Qa'ida, it is the bastions of militant Islam that provide the recruits for tomorrow's Mohammed Attas and the political cover to conceal their operations. In this battle, we must distinguish between militant Islamic leaders and the vast majority of Muslims in the United States and around the world who do not support the militants' violent agenda. In preventing future attacks on American soil, we must actively drain the pools from which Islamist terrorist organizations recruit and confront the financial sponsors that create them.
Two years and two months from the horrifying terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, we must take a closer look at (1) the organizations that claim to speak for the Muslim community in the United States of America and (2) how these organizations came to such positions of influence. Despite Bush administration's efforts towards outreach to Muslims residing in the U.S.A., large sections of the institutional Islamic leadership in America do not supportthe United States government's counterterrorism policy from Kabul to Gaza, and from Portland to Tampa. Listening to sermons at mosques, attend- ing Islamic conferences and reading Islamic publications, one would believe that the United States is engaged, not in a war on terrorism, but instead a war on Islam. In the U.S.A., militant Islamic leaders, operating under the false patina of serving as moder- ate religious, civil rights and political leaders, have denounced virtually every terrorism indictment, detention, deportation, and investigation as religiously motivated attacks on Islam. Instead of trying to cleanse the Islamic community from the extremism that ex- ercises disproportionate influence, various Islamic leaders, claiming that they represent the majority of Muslims, have sought to portray counterterrorism efforts as part of an orchestrated campaign against Islam. Such a position only serves to protect the radi- cals and the terrorists who, as they did before 9/11, sought refuge in the unwillingness of American policymakers to distinguish militant Islamic supporters from the vast ma- jority of Muslims who abjure violence.
To be clear, I would like to state that militant Islamic fundamentalism is not synony- mous with Islam the religion. The overwhelming majority of the world's more than one billion Muslims do not support violence or militancy.
The radicalization of the Islamic political leadership in the United States has developed parallel to the radicalization of the Islamic leadership worldwide. They share several common characteristics, including (1) an increasingly pervasive conspiratorial view that Muslims in the United States and around the world are being persecuted on the basis of their religion, (2) a similarly conspiratorial belief that Western nations, led by the United States, aim to destroy Islamic culture, and (3) an acceptance that violence in the name of Islam is justified in the face of Western aggression against the ummah (Islamic community). As a result, the institutional Muslim leadership in the United States, mir- roring the rise of militant Islam, has grown increasingly anti-Western and anti-U.S.A. Various Islamic religious and political leaders have depicted U.S. counterterrorism as anti-Muslim in an effort to de-legitimize counterterrorism measures at home as reli- gious witch-hunts.
While such leaders protest that they have condemned terrorism, and they have in the abstract, they refuse to specifically condemn Islamist terrorist groups and leaders by name, or acknowledge the responsibility of such groups and leaders for the acts of ter- ror. For example, in November of 1994, Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), was interviewed on the CBS news program, 60 Minutes. Awad was asked his views on Hamas less than four weeks after the group took responsibility for a suicide bus bombing that killied 23 Israelis:
In June of 2000, Hussein Ibish, the Communications Director for the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), was a guest on CNBC. Ibish was asked his views regarding Hizbollah, an organization responsible for the deaths 241 American Marines:
In exploring the factors behind the radicalization of the Islamic leaders in the United States, one element may have had the greatest impact -- a flood of Persian Gulf dollars, primarily from Saudi Arabia, funding the penetration of militant Islam in the United States. I will explore the vehicles through which militant Islamists cause the propaga- tion of anti-Western religious, political, and social Islam in the United States.
Foreign Sponsorship of the Militant Islamic Agenda in the United States:
Wealthy militant Islamic patrons from Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf kingdoms, as well as the governments themselves, have, for years, financed and otherwise sup- ported a number of organizations in the United States that advance the agenda of prop- agating their violent strain of Islam known as Wahhabism. In recent months, major media, scholars of Islam, and high-ranking government officials have provided detailed accounts of Saudi support for Islamic extremism worldwide. Islamic militants have declared the United States a crucial battleground in their bid to extend their ideology worldwide. In this vein, they have richly supported U.S.-based organizations operating as charitable associations, religious institutions, civil rights groups, and political action committees--all of which have militant Islamic purposes. The goals and means of this movement are discussed at conferences and conventions held across the country, such as the statements made by Abdulrahman Alamoudi--then head of the American Muslim Council (AMC)--at the 1996 Islamic Association for Palestine conference held in Chicago, Illinois:
Although stating he is against attacks in the United States, Alamoudi is not opposed to violence per se. While professing opposition to carrying out attacks on U.S. soil; he implicitly gave the green light for attacks on the U.S. interests and personnel overseas. When he says this country will become a Muslim country, a statement which would rarely come to public light, he is reflecting a hidden agenda in which the U.S.A. is viewed as becoming part of the Islamic empire.
Alamoudi, far from a fringe player in American politics, was the Executive Director of the American Muslim Council (AMC). Alamoudi's organization was addressed by FBI director Robert Mueller at its 2002 annual convention held in Alexandria, Virginia, and was called "the most mainstream Muslim group in the United States" by Mueller's spokesman.
In order to provide cover for their militant Islamic agenda and activities, Islamic ex- tremists routinely seek to undermine U.S. counterterrorism measures. Along these lines, U.S. law enforcement is depicted as biased and racist. For example, on an infor- mational compact disc distributed at some mosques in the Washington, D.C., metropol- itan area, immigration and civil rights attorney Ashraf Nubani warned that:
Similarly, groups such as AMC and the National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom authored and distributed warnings that Muslims in America must not talk to the FBI. Posted on AMC's website as late as 2001 was the following:
Although the high visibility of such individuals and organizations suggests broad lead- ership and significant followings in the United States, by many accounts, they draw support from far fewer American Muslims than they claim fall under their leadership. As stated by the late Seif Ashmawy, former publisher of the Voice of Peace and some- one who has testified before Congress on the activities of Muslim extremists and their ability to infiltrate and deceive the American public, "both organizations [CAIR and AMC] champion extremists whose views do not represent Islam. They do not represent moderate Muslims such as myself."
Unfortunately, militant Islamists command a disproportionate share of media and po- litical attention as a result of substantial funding received from wealthy benefactors, led by the Saudis and their Wahhabi brand of Islam. With deep pocketbooks and religious conviction, the Saudi Wahhabists have bankrolled a series of Islamic institutions in the United States that actively seek to undermine U.S. counterterrorism policy at home and abroad. From Islamic centers to student associations, from relief organizations to book- stores, an ideology committed to the destruction of Western civilization is being offered as the only solution to the plight of the ummah. Saudi and Kuwaiti organizations, in- cluding the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) and the International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations (IIFSO), actively promote religious hatred and violence through the publication of books, such as Protocols of the Elders of Zion and The Muslim Brotherhood.
WAMY, a Saudi government-sponsored organization, wrote Islamic Views, an Arabic- language book.Printed by the Saudi Government's Armed Forces Printing Press, Is- lamic Views teaches that Islam "is a religion of Jihad" and that Jihad "was an answer for the Jews, the liars." The book declares:
The Muslim Brotherhood, a book published by the Kuwaiti IIFSO and listed on their website as late as July 2001, reads:
In the United States, the Saudi Wahhabis regularly subsidize the organizations and in- dividuals adhering to the militant ideology espoused by the Muslim Brotherhood and its murderous offshoots--Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and al-Qa'ida, all three of which are designated terrorist organizations. By way of example, Saudi financial and operational support have been bestowed upon U.S.-based "relief organizations," such as the Holy Land Foundation (Hamas) and Benevolence International Foundation (al- Qa'ida), and "research institutes," such as the World Islam Studies Enterprise (Pales- tinian Islamic Jihad). In the last two years, all three of these U.S.-based organizations have been shut down as terrorist fronts or conduits and many of their leaders have been jailed on terrorism-related charges.
Several other organizations sustaining militant Islamic ideologies continue to function in the United States, including the American Muslim Council (AMC), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), and Mercy International USA. Such organizations have all benefited from Saudi and other Persian Gulf support. These groups frequently cooperate on rallies, conferences, and fundraising activities.
Similarly, Saudi largess has been bestowed upon the Council on American-Islamic Re- lations (CAIR), a U.S. based organization purporting to "promote a positive image of Islam and Muslims in America" and "empower the Muslim community in America through political and social activism." Founded in 1994, CAIR's stated mission is to actively combat "anti-Muslim discrimination nationwide." However, in supporting claims of religious discrimination, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and its leadership have managed to disguise the organization's true agenda of supporting mili- tant Islam and protecting the operations of radical groups supporting terrorism. A care- ful review reveals that the Council on American Islamic Relations and its leadership promote a militant strain of Islam in the United States, including anti-Western senti- ments and support for violent Islamic causes. As with other such organizations in Amer- ica, CAIR has received significant economic, political, and operational support from Saudi funders.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations & Militant Islam:
CAIR & Hamas:
The ideological and organizational roots of the Council on American-Islamic Relations can be found in the extremist Muslim Brotherhood and its violent Palestinian offshoot, Hamas. In 1994, CAIR was founded by two officials from the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a primary U.S.-based support organization for Hamas.
IAP & the Origins of CAIR:
In an article published in The Link, CAIR founder and Executive Director Nihad Awad explained:
The first manifestation of Hamas' presence in the United States was the creation of the Islamic Association for Palestine for North America (IAP) in 1981. Founded by Hamas leader, Mousa Abu Marzook, IAP has served as a Hamas support organization in the United States by publishing Hamas communiques, distributing Hamas recruitment vid- eos, and hosting conferences raising monetary and popular support for Hamas. Mar- zook has been listed by the U.S. Treasury Department as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.
IAP conferences held in the United States routinely incite hatred, including this incen- diary statement clearly aimed at provoking violence against the U.S.A.--this statement made by a Hamas supporter at an IAP conference after the 1991 Gulf War:
The speaker was standing in front of a banner with "Hamas" spelled out in Arabic us- ing human skulls, under the heading, "Islamic Association for Palestine."
In an August, 2002, court decision regarding the freezing of terrorist assets in the United States, a federal court judge found that "the Islamic Association for Palestine has acted in support of Hamas." The decision was issued in support of the December, 2001, Executive Order freezing the assets of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF). The U.S. Treasury Department announced that the U.S.-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development provides millions of dollars each year that is used by HAMAS.
CAIR received a $5,000 initial disbursement from HLF in 1994.
In a March, 1994, speech at Barry University, future CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad announced: After I researched the situation inside and outside Palestine, I am in support of the Hamas movement."
On FBI wiretaps recorded in 1993, Omar Ahmed, who has served as President of IAP and Board Chairman of CAIR, is overheard professing his commitment to Hamas. Ac- cording to the FBI translation and summary of the conversation:
An FBI note explains that "Ahmed Yasin" is Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, the spiritual leader of HAMAS.
As Omar Ahmed suggests, CAIR has an active lobbying effort in Washington, D.C., and across the country. CAIR officials frequently meet with representatives from the White House, the U.S. State Department, Congress, and the FBI. In 1997, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad was appointed to the Civil Rights Advisory Panel to the White House on Aviation Safety and Security.
Future CAIR leadership was present at the infamous 1993 Philadelphia meeting, which FBI documents describe as "a meeting in the United States among senior leaders of HAMAS, HLFRD and IAP." According to FBI documents, the meeting was attended by future CAIR board chairman, Omar Yahya Ahmed, and future founding board mem- ber of the Texas CAIR chapter, Ghassan Elashi. According to an FBI action memoran- dum analyzing wiretaps of the meeting:
The fact that participants in this senior Hamas meeting would go on to organize CAIR in the United States exposes the militant Islamic disposition of CAIR leadership.
CAIR actively raised money for HLF via their mailing list CAIR-NET. In 2001, HLF's assets were frozen by the Treasury Department, which found the organization to be a Hamas conduit. The Texas chapter of CAIR and HLF share a common founder in Ghassan Elashi. As stated above, Elashi himself was present at the 1993 Philadelphia meeting that planned Hamas fundraising in the United States. This meeting shows that the future leadership of CAIR participated in meetings with senior Hamas leaders and discussed Hamas fundraising in the United States.
CAIR Leadership Under Indictment:
In the last year, at least three former CAIR employees or directors have been indicted on terrorism, money laundering, or fraud related charges. Ghassan Elashi, a founding board member of CAIR's Texas chapter, was indicted on charges of engaging in finan- cial transactions with terrorist entities. In addition, former CAIR employees, Ismail Randall Royer and Bassam Khafagi, were indicted in separate investigations out of the Eastern District of Virginia and the Eastern District of Michigan. Ghassan Elashi, in addition to being a founding board member of the Texas chapter of CAIR, was a found- er of the now frozen HLF, originally known as the Occupied Land Fund. On December 17, 2002, Elashi was indicted in the Northern District of Texas for engaging in financial transactions with Hamas leader, Musa Abu Marzook, a Specially Designated Terrorist. According to the indictment, Elashi and his company, Infocom, received funds amount- ing to at least $250,000--at least $250,00 of investment capital--from accounts con- trolled by Marzook.
In June, 2003, Randall Todd Royer (aka Ismail Royer), who had served as a CAIR Communications Specialist, was indicted by a grand jury on charges that he and 10 other Muslim men were part of a conspiracy to support "violent jihad" overseas. The indictment states that Royer traveled to Pakistan and trained with weapons at Lashkar E-Tayyiba terrorist camps, where he also fired automatic weapons at Indian troops. Lashkar E-Tayyiba has been designed by the U.S. Treasury Department as a terrorist organization. Members of Royer's group declared that their intent was to fight against Americans in Afghanistan.
In the mid-1990's, Royer engaged in military warfare when he joined a combat unit of Muslim irregulars in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In a May, 2003, Royer identified himself as the Communications Director for the Na- tional Liberty Fund, an organization created to raise money for the legal defense of indicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami al-Arian. Criticizing the government's case, Royer stated, "One wonders why the government bothered to indict him if it was not prepared to go to trial."
According to a biography posted on IslamOnline.net, Royer served as CAIR's Communication Specialist, starting in 1997. He worked for CAIR at least through late October, 2001, according to reports in the media. Thus, while he was still working for CAIR, Royer purchased an AK-47 assault rifle and 219 rounds of ammunition, distributed newsletters for a group later designated as a foreign terrorist organization, and fired at Indian targets in Kashmir, according to a federal indictment.
In January, 2003, Bassam Khafagi was indicted and arrested on bank fraud charges involving checks and money transfers between his corporation, International Media Group, Inc., and personal bank accounts. As late as November 1, 2002, Khafagi served as Director of Community Relations for the Council on Islamic-American Relations. According to media reports, Khafagi was employed by CAIR at the time of his arrest.
Khafagi was also a founding member and President of the Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA). According to corporate records, Khafagi served in a leadership posi- tion at IANA during the time senior al-Qa'ida recruiter Abdelrahman Al-Dosari (a.k.a. Shaykh Abu Abdel Aziz Barbaros) spoke at IANA's 1993, 1994, and 1995 conferences.
As part of its agenda to undermine U.S. counterterrorism measures, CAIR officials and representatives have openly espoused conspiracy theories questioning al-Qa'ida;s re- sponsibility for 9/11. On October 7, 2001, CAIR-New York Executive Director Ghazi Khankan asked an audience:
On October 5, 2001, CAIR-New York encouraged its constituents to write letters to the Editor of the New York Times questioning the identity of the 9/11 hijackers:
CAIR Defends Islamic Terrorists and Their Financiers:
In an effort to undermine the financial war on terrorism, largely carried out by the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the new Bureau of Customs and Immigration Enforcement, CAIR officials have decried the arrest of ter- rorist leaders and the seizing of terrorist assets in the U.S.A. as baseless witch hunts.
Questioning the arrest of indicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian, CAIR Board Chairman Omar Ahmed said:
Of course, the arrest of Sami al-Arian was the culmination of a 100+ page indictment drawing upon thousands of hours of wiretaps and videotapes, and thousands of pages of documents. However, Ahmed surely knows that his constituents will never review the indictment or evidence. The effect of Ahmed's statement is to undermine Muslim sup- port for U.S. law enforcement and create fear in the Islamic community that the U.S. government is their enemy.
Following the arrest of the Elashi brothers for engaging in financial transactions with designated terrorists, CAIR-Dallas Chairman Mohamed Elmougy defended the Elashis stating: All I can tell you is the community is behind the Elashi brothers, and they are caught in a kind of political game." The heading of Elmougy's October 5, 2001, Letter to the Editor of the New York Times reads as follows:
In May 2003, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies hosted a forum titled "Bridging the Gap Between America and the Muslim World: The Role of Muslim and Arab American Organizations." Guest speaker and CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad commented on the closure of Islamic charities in the United States. On the issue of the shutting down Islamic relief groups that served as conduits for terrorism, and in particular the Benevolence International Foundation, Awad observed that:
The relief organization in Chicago identified by Awad is Benevolence International Foundation (BIF). During the sentencing hearing for BIF leader Enaam Arnout, the Chicago U.S. Attorneys filed a response clearly stating that BIF and its leaders had provided significant financial and operational support to al-Qa'ida:
Belittling the significance of BIF support for terrorism serves only to discredit counter- terrorism law enforcement and incite the Islamic community.
Following the 1998 attacks on the U.S. Embassies in East Africa, a Los Angeles tele- vision station posted a billboard advertisement featuring a picture of Osama bin Laden with the headline "The sworn enemy." CAIR issued a press release protesting that the billboard was "offensive to Muslims." On May 24, 1998, CAIR co-sponsored a rally at Brooklyn College, and one of the featured speakers, Wagdy Ghuniem, advised the audience that, "Allah says, he who equips a warrior of Jihad is like the one who makes Jihad himself." On October 28, 2000, CAIR co-sponsored a rally in Washington, D.C., where invited speaker Abdurahman Alamoudi proclaimed: "Hear that, Bill Clinton, we are all supporters of Hamas. Allahu Akbar!"
Saudi Support for CAIR:
In a press release dated November 8, 2001, CAIR officials proclaimed that they do not receive support from foreign sources:
But records show that CAIR, in fact, received significant Saudi financial support to sus- tain and expand its American operations. CAIR has repeatedly sent representatives to Saudi Arabia seeking financial and political support. CAIR often received such support from the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY).
The relationship between WAMY and the Saudi government was perhaps best de- scribed by Dr Abdul Wahab Noorwali, Assistant Secretary General of WAMY:
Abdullah Naseef, Vice Chairman of the Majlis as-Shura of the Saudi Arabian govern- ment, Vice Chairman of WAMY and former Secretary-General of the Muslim World League, explained:
In 1998, the Saudi Gazette reported that CAIR's Executive Director Nihad Awad ad- dressed a press conference at the WAMY headquarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Ac- cording to the report, "He [Awad] said CAIR needed funds to fight discrimination against Muslims, to promote the true image of Islam, and to combat the anti-Islamic propaganda."
According to a December 23, 1999, Arab News article, Dr. Hamid Shaygi, Assistant Secretary General of WAMY announced at a Riyadh press conference, with Nihad Awad in attendance, that WAMY "was extending both moral and financial support to CAIR in its effort to construct headquarters in Washington, D.C., at a cost of $3.5 million." The article continued, saying WAMY would also "introduce CAIR to Saudi philanthropists and recommend their financial support for the headquarters project."
On one fundraising trip to Saudi Arabia in 2002, CAIR and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) proudly announced their cooperation on a million dollar public relations campaign. As reported by The Muslim World, the weekly newspaper of the Saudi Muslim World League:
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal:
In 2002, CAIR received $500,000 from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. As reported by Arab News on November 18, 2002:
Islamic Development Bank:
According to a Saudi government press release, in August 1999, the Islamic Develop- ment Bank approved "$250,000 as a contribution to the purchase of land in Washing- ton, D.C. to be the headquarters for an education and research center under the aegis of the Council for American Islamic Relations." With headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the stated purpose of the Bank is to "foster the economic development and social progress of member countries and Muslim communities individually as well as jointly, in accordance with the principles of Shari'ah, i.e., Islamic Law."
According to news reports, the Islamic Development Bank was formally opened in Oc- tober, 1975, inspired by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. Of the $900 million in founding capital, Saudi Arabia was reported as the top contributor, with $240 million.
International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO):
According to tax documents filed by the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), CAIR was given at least $12,000 in financing from the U.S. offices of IIRO. P. According to federal affidavit, the U.S. operations of IIRO were financed by $10 million from IIRO in Jeddah Saudi Arabia. IIRO in the United States was a direct subsidiary of its Saudi parent, sharing leadership and funds with the Jeddah-based headquarters.
IIRO's U.S. offices were first raided by the FBI in 1997, as part of a Hamas money laundering investigation. More recently, federal terrorism investigators have confirmed that IIRO is the subject of a current terrorism and money laundering investigation fo- cusing on material support to al-Qa'ida and Hamas. As declared by Senior Special Agent David Kane with the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, "I know that terrorists who have attacked or tried to attack the United States around the world have been associated with MWL/IIRO.
The rise of militant Islamic leadership in the United States requires particular attention if we are to succeed in the war on terror. While the attacks of September 11, 2001 were executed by al-Qa'ida, it is the bastions of militant Islam that provide the recruits for tomorrow's Mohammed Attas and the political cover to conceal their operations. As stated earlier, militant Islamic fundamentalism is not synonymous with Islam the reli- gion. In this battle, we must distinguish between militant Islamic leaders, and the vast majority of Muslims in the United States and around the world who do not support the militants' violent agenda. In preventing future attacks on American soil, we must ac- tively drain the pools from which Islamist terrorist organizations recruit and confront the financial sponsors that create them.
Islamism & Jihadism -- The Threat of Radical Islam
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War & Peace in the Real World
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Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
Against the U.S.A. & Western Civilization
Islamist International Terrorism &
U.S. Intelligence Agencies
U.S. National Security Strategy
Matthew Epstein presented the foregoing statement, on September 10, 2003, as testi- mony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary
Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security. Epstein is Assistant Director of The Investigative
Project, one of the largest non-governmental intelligence centers on militant Islamic organizations.
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