U.S.-Based Muslim Charities Face Scrutiny for Terrorism Links. (People & Events)
Federal agents have .raided the offices of a number of U.S.-based Muslim charities, asserting that the groups may be involved in efforts to funnel cash to terrorists overseas.
The raids began on Dec. 14, when agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Treasury Department swept through the offices of the Global Relief Foundation in Bridgview, Ill., seizing boxes of documents, furniture and other items.
The same day, federal agents raided the office of the Benevolence International Foundation in Newark, N.J. Law enforcement officials said both groups are accused of financing terrorist activity.
No one was arrested during the raids, and officials at the foundations denied any wrongdoing.
"This is a terrible, terrible strategy," said Roger Simmons, an attorney for Global Relief. "I've been involved with the group since October, poring over their records, and I have never seen any hint of any involvement with terrorist violence."
Officials with the Bush administration insisted that they had compelling evidence of the groups' links to terrorism. Specific details were not released, as the raids were conducted under the terms of the new USA Patriot Act, which allows federal law enforcement agents to keep the terms of search warrants secret.
Earlier in December, the administration moved to seize the assets of three Islamic charities accused of channeling money to Hamas, a militant Palestinian network that has claimed responsibility for recent suicide attacks in Israel. …