IPT News, June 24, 2015:
Federal investigators shut down a massive Hamas-support network in the United States between 2001 and 2008, prosecuting some elements and freezing the assets of others.
But the Investigative Project on Terrorism finds that many of the same functions – fundraising, propaganda and lobbying – endure, now carried out by a group called American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). The IPT investigation identified at least five AMP officials and speakers who worked in the previous, defunct network called the “Palestine Committee.” It was created by the Muslim Brotherhood to advance Hamas’ agenda politically and financially in the United States.
Last year, AMP joined a coalition of national Islamist groups in forming the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is among the other founding members (for more on that coalition, click here). CAIR and its founders appear in internal Palestine Committee records admitted into evidence during the largest terror financing trial in U.S. history.
Several Palestine Committee entities were created by Mousa Abu Marzook, who remains a top Hamas political leader. One branch, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), was convicted in 2008 along with five senior officials, of illegally routing more than $12 million to Hamas. HLF’s role in the Palestine Committee was the chief fundraising arm for Hamas in the United States, prosecutors say.
“The purpose of creating the Holy Land Foundation was as a fundraising arm for Hamas,” said U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis during a sentencing hearing.
A flow chart of other Palestine Committee entities includes the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) and a Northern Virginia think tank called the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR). IAP served as a propaganda outlet, organizing rallies and publishing magazines with articles supporting Hamas. CAIR was added to a Palestine Committee meeting agenda shortly after its 1994 creation.
UASR published an academic journal and, prosecutors say, was “involved in passing Hamas communiques to the United States-based Muslim Brotherhood community and relaying messages from that community back to Hamas.”
Today, AMP routinely engages in anti-Israeli rhetoric, sponsors conferences that serve as a platform for Israel bashers, and openly approves “resistance” against the “Zionist state.” One AMP official acknowledged the goal is to “to challenge the legitimacy of the State of Israel.”
An April 2014 AMP-sponsored conference in Chicago, for example, hosted Sabri Samirah, the former chairman of IAP, as a speaker. There was little to no talk about how to achieve peaceful coexistence.
“We are ready to sacrifice all we have for Palestine. Long Live Palestine,” Samirah said. “We have a mission here [in the U.S.] also to support the struggle of our people back there in order to achieve a free land in the Muslim world, without dictators and without corruption.”
The U.S. government had earlier deemed Samirah a “security risk” and he was barred from reentering the country for several years following a trip to Jordan in 2003. While in Jordan, he served as a spokesman for the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood’s political party, the Islamic Action Front. The charges against Samirah were subsequently dropped and he returned to the U.S. last year.
- Islamist Groups Join Forces to Lobby Congress (investigativeproject.org)