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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 81

United States does not tolerate use of Charities to Promote Terrorism

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 12 January ( "Today's verdict is a milestone in our efforts against those who conceal their support for extremist causes behind the veil of humanitarianism. For years, these defendants used an allegedly charitable organization as a front for the collection of donations that they used to support violent jihadists. This prosecution serves notice that we will not tolerate the use of charities as a means of promoting terrorism," said Kenneth L. Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan said, "Today's convictions should be a warning to organizations or persons who intend to fund their support of any militant organization or goal, including the mujahideen and jihad, by abusing our nation's tax laws,that they will be pro actively investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The United States government requires truthful and complete information to uphold our nation's laws."

The above sentiments were expressed by U.S. officials when three men, a Libyan national and two Lebanese nationals, were convicted today in federal court of conspiring to defraud the United States and engaging in a scheme to conceal information from the United States government.

Kenneth Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan; Warren T. Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - New England Field Division; and Douglas A. Bricker, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation - Boston Field Office, announced January 11 that Emadeddin Muntasser, age 43, of Braintree, Samir Almonla , age 50, of Brookline, and Muhamed Mubayyid, age 42, of Shrewsbury, were each convicted by a jury sitting before U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor, IV, of Conspiring to Defraud the United States and Engaging in a Scheme to Conceal Information from the U.S. Government. In addition, Muntasser was convicted of Making False Statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation during an interview conducted in April 2003 and Mubayyid was convicted of three separate counts of Making and Filing False Tax Returns on behalf of Care International, Inc. ("Care International") for tax years 1997, 1999, and 2000. Mubayyid was also convicted of obstructing and impeding the Internal Revenue Service.Al-Monla was acquitted on one count of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation during an interview conducted in April 2003.

Douglas Bricker, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Internal Revenue said, "The integrity of our tax system depends upon the honesty and accuracy of all taxpayers. IRS will vigorously investigate individuals and tax exempt organizations who fraudulently disguise their activities. While the vast majority of charities perform excellent work helping people in need, tax exempt organizations cannot be permitted to lie or generate funds for unstated or misrepresented purposes."

Warren T. Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said, "Counter terrorism is one of the FBI's top priorities, and these convictions are the result of excellent cooperation and commitment by the team of investigators who worked tirelessly to investigate and resolve this complex case."

Evidence presented during the 24-day trial proved that the defendants fraudulently used Care International to solicit and obtain tax deductible donations for the purpose of supporting and promoting the mujahideen (Muslim holy warriors) and jihad (violent armed conflict). The evidence demonstrated that from in or about April 1993 to April 2003,Munster, Almonla, and Mubayyid, concealed the fact that Care International was an outgrowth of and successor to the Al-Kifah Refugee Center ("Al-Kifah") and was engaged in non- charitable activities involving the solicitation and expenditure of funds to support and promote the mujahideen and jihad from the IRS, FBI, and Immigration and Naturalization Service (now known as Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Further, the government proved that Muntasser, Al-Monla, and Mubayyid conspired to defraud the United States for the purpose of impeding, impairing, interfering, and obstructing the lawful functions of the Internal Revenue Service in the ascertainment, assessment, and determination of whether Care International qualified and should be designated as a charitable organization pursuant to 26 U.S.C. Section 501(c)(3) in 1993 and should continue to be accorded that status thereafter.

During the trial, the government proved that in the 1990s Muntasser ran the Boston branch office of Al-Kifah, which was part of the Makhtab al Khidamat ("MAK") network founded by Sheik Abdullah Azzam and another person in Peshawar, Pakistan in the 1980s to provide support to the mujahideen. MAK had offices throughout the World. In North America, MAK was known by the name Al- Kifah.

The case was investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - New England Field Division, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Boston Field Office with assistance from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys B. Stephanie Siegmann, Aloke S. Chakravarty, and Donald L. Cabell of Sullivan's Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit.

- Asian Tribune -

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