CAIR and Terrorism

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 24, 2004 | Go to article overview

CAIR and Terrorism


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Earlier this month, five Palestinian brothers were convicted in federal court of conspiring to use their Texas-based computer company to make illegal shipments of high-tech goods to Libya and Syria, two nations the State Department considers sponsors of terrorism. One of the brothers, Ghassan Elashi, the company's vice president of international marketing, was convicted of three counts of conspiracy, one count of money laundering and two counts of making false statements about the shipments. Mr. Elashi, along with two of his brothers, also faces a separate federal trial on charges relating to business dealings with Mousa Abu Marzook, the deputy political leader of the terrorist organization Hamas. Mr. Elashi is also the founding board member of a Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) chapter in Texas, according to the Dallas Morning News. In February 2003, the Muslim Legal Fund held a fund-raiser for the Elashi brothers, hoping to raise $500,000 for their defense. As the Morning News reported then, two of the Fund's board of directors had ties to CAIR.

In April, Randall Royer of Fairfax was sentenced to 20 years by a federal judge after pleading guilty to using and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, and carrying an explosive during the commission of a felony, reports Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum. (Mr. Pipes has been following many of the cases here related on his Web log, www.danielpipes.org.) Royer was arrested a year ago on charges of conspiring to join the Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations, as well as weapons charges (an AK-47-style assault rifle was found in his car along with 200 rounds of ammunition upon his arrest). Royer had been CAIR's communications director and civil-rights coordinator.

In September, Bassem Khafagi pled guilty to charges of making false statements on his visa application and bank fraud. He had been charged with funneling money to promote terrorist activities through the Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA), of which he was a founding member. The Washington Post reported in October that federal prosecutors described IANA's objective as the "dissemination of radical Islamic ideology, the purpose of which was indoctrination, recruitment of members and the instigation of acts of violence and terrorism." In January, the Syracuse Post-Standard revealed that Khafagi also had business ties to Rafil Dhafir, who has been accused of illegally sending money to Iraq. Dhafir is also a former vice president of IANA. Khafagi was sentenced to 10 months in prison and deported to Egypt. At the time of his arrest, Khafagi was a community affairs director of CAIR.

Last July, Rabih Haddad was deported to Lebanon after being arrested and held by federal agents during a raid on the Global Relief Foundation, which billed itself as a charitable organization. …

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