Islamic Charity Founder's Trial Starts

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), August 31, 2010 | Go to article overview

Islamic Charity Founder's Trial Starts


Byline: Karen McCowan The Register-Guard

There are no terrorism charges in the U.S. government's tax fraud and money-smuggling case against an Ashland Islamic charity founder, the prosecutor told a jury Monday during opening arguments in the trial of Pete Seda.

But Assistant Oregon U.S. Attorney Chris Cardani repeatedly invoked the word "jihad"- an Arabic word for "holy war" - and images of Muslim fighters in Chechnya to suggest a radical motive for the Iranian-born U.S. citizen's alleged financial crimes.

And both U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan and Seda's defense attorney repeatedly probed prospective jurors' views of Islam.

Hogan disqualified one possible juror who disclosed "a general mistrust of Muslims." Among those seated on the panel was another who said the only thing she knew about Muslims was "9/11 and what our country's gone through," but said she thought she could judge Seda objectively.

In his opening statement, defense attorney Lawrence Matasur told the all-white panel of eight women and four men that Seda was a moderate Muslim and interfaith peacemaker who became a victim of guilt by association in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The case comes to trial more than five years after the U.S. Attorney filed charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and filing a false return by a tax-exempt organization against Saudi Arabia-based Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, Inc. and Seda, who co-founded a U.S. branch of the group in the late 1990s. Also charged in the 2005 case was the other U.S. branch co-founder, Soliman Al-Buthe, accused of conspiracy and of failure to report the international transportation of currency.

The government charges that Seda and Al-Buthe conspired to channel an Egyptian man's $150,000 donation through Al-Haramain USA's Ashland bank, convert it into travelers checks, and smuggle it out of the country to Muslim Mujahideen fighting Russian soldiers in Chechnya. Cardani alleged in his opening statement that the two took great pains to conceal the transaction, which could have been conducted as a wire transfer. He also said Seda filed a phony 2000 tax return showing that the money went toward purchase of a Missouri Islamic prayer house.

Al-Buthe is in Saudi Arabia, where he cannot be extradited to face his charges.

A judge dismissed all charges against Al-Haramain in 2005, but U.S. District Court Judge Michael Hogan refused to dismiss the case against Seda, 52.

Matasur told the jury that Seda was born Pirouz Sedaghaty in Iran, that he immigrated to the United States in 1976, coming to Ashland, where he attended college, worked for the forest service, and eventually founded his tree care business, The Arborist.

He Americanized his name and, in 1994, became a naturalized U.S. citizen, the defense attorney said. He also continued to practice his Muslim faith, opening his home for prayer services and setting up a Koran Foundation to give away copies of the faith's holy book. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Islamic Charity Founder's Trial Starts
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.