2 flying imams to rally for convicted Hamas “charity” fundraiser

Omar Shahin and Ahmad Shqeirat

Omar Shahin and Ahmad Shqeira are two of the six ‘flying imams’ who are suing the ‘John Doe’ passengers of US Airways Flight 300 with the help of their Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) lawyer. On Friday, April 6, 2007, Tonight, they are to attend a rally in support Rafil Dhafir, who is currently serving 22 years in federal prison for raising millions of dollars and funneling it to “charities” in Iraq through the Holy Land Foundation in addition to diverting $300,000 for his private use. The Holy Land Foundation was closed down in 2001 for providing funds to Hamas.

2 flying imams to attend rally for convicted 'charity' fundraiser Rafil Dhafir

Omar Shahin and Ahmad Shqeira also have connections with the Islamic Center of Tucson. In her FrontPage article, Janet Levy, had this to say about the ICT and some of the more infamous terrorists who belonged to it:

According to Washington-based terrorist expert Rita Katz, the Islamic Center of Tucson included what was “basically the first cell of Al Qaeda in the United States.” The connections between Al Qaeda and the ICT include Wael Hamza Jalaidan, a former ICT president, believed to be an Al Qaeda founder, and Hani Hanjour, who attended the mosque while a student at the University of Arizona and who later flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon on 9/11. Wadih El-Hage, a personal assistant to terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden, was active with the ICT in the late 1980’s where he is alleged to have established an Al Qaeda support network, according to the FBI. In 2001, El Hage was convicted by a federal judge in New York of planning the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Within three months of the 9/11 attacks, the US Department of Treasury closed down the Holy Land Foundation and said:

The Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) was designated under Executive Orders 13224 and 12947 as a charity that provided millions of dollars of material and logistical support to HAMAS. HLF, originally known as the Occupied Land Fund, was established in California in 1989 as a tax-exempt charity. In 1992, HLF relocated to Richardson, Texas. It had offices in California, New Jersey, and Illinois, and individual representatives scattered throughout the United States, the West Bank, and Gaza. In the year 2000 alone, HLF raised over $13 million. HLF supported HAMAS activities through direct fund transfers to its offices in the West Bank and Gaza that are affiliated with HAMAS and transfers of funds to Islamic charity committees (“zakat committees”) and other charitable organizations that are part of HAMAS or controlled by HAMAS members. Mousa Mohamed Abu Marzook, a political leader of HAMAS, provided substantial funds to the Holy Land Foundation in the early 1990s. In 1994, Marzook (who was named a Specially Designated Terrorist by the Treasury Department in 1995) designated HLF as the primary fund-raising entity for HAMAS in the United States. HLF funds were used by HAMAS to support schools that served HAMAS ends by encouraging children to become suicide bombers and to recruit suicide bombers by offering support to their families. HLF and several of its directors were indicted on criminal charges in July 2004.

Also indicted was Mufid Abdulquader, an engineer then employed by the city of Dallas, Texas. Along with being the alleged founder of the Holy Land Foundation, he is also the half-brother of Khaled Mishaal, Hamas’ political bureau chief and U.S. designee as a global terrorist:

North Texas resident Mufid Abdulquader is a city of Dallas engineer who was among the men charged Tuesday in a 42-count indictment for allegedly using the Richardson-based Holy Land Foundation to funnel millions of dollars to Hamas terrorist operations. But Abdulquader, a Palestinian and naturalized U.S. citizen, has a connection to Hamas shared by none of the others.

Abdulquader’s Syrian-based half brother is a top leader of Hamas, ranking so high that he has been a target of high-profile Israeli assassinations that have killed other organization leaders in recent months. Abdulquader’s half-brother – they share the same father – is Khaled Mishaal, Hamas’ political bureau chief and U.S. designee as a global terrorist.

Until the government unsealed its indictment Tuesday, the family relationship between the city of Dallas engineer and Mishaal was known only to a few intelligence officials who had grown increasingly concerned about it as Hamas leaders began publicly threatening to target Americans.

Omar Shahin and Ahmad Shqeira apparently agree that, “Rafil [Dhafir] is the best of us.” Why else would they be attending a rally for someone convicted of funneling money through a terrorist organization?

UPDATED April 6: Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten has previously pointed out Omar Shahin’s connection to the ICT and his own fundraising efforts on behalf of “charities” with ties to terrorism:

“…Omar Shahin, leader of the detained imams, has helped raise money for at least two charities later shut down for supporting terrorism. From 2000 to 2003, he headed the Islamic Center of Tucson…”

UPDATE II, April 6: Michelle Malkin graciously linked over Tracking the flying imams and points out Dr. M Zuhdi Jasser’s great commentary today that includes this passage:

Let us look at some of the deeper lessons and unanswered questions that should come out of this misguided lawsuit from CAIR and their six imams… Some educated, enlightened Muslims first need to inform the ‘imams” that imam in Arabic means teacher not leader. Much as rabbi means teacher. Their mad rush out of detention at the Minneapolis Airport and within seconds toward the media is hardly noble or spiritual nor the actions of teachers. Instead, it is intensely political and agenda-driven. Come to Phoenix and listen to the sermons of Imam Ahmed Shqeirat (primary plaintiff in the suit) of the Islamic Community Center of Tempe. Unless he experiences a major rebirth soon and focuses upon spiritual issues, he will still be delivering sermons focused upon domestic and foreign policy. Such topics are hardly nutrition for the soul.

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