Monday, September 18, 2006

Walid comments further on FBI raid of Life for Relief & Development

Federal agents raid Islamic charity in suburban Detroit
SOUTHFIELD, Michigan Federal counterterrorism officials on Monday raided the suburban Detroit offices of an international Muslim humanitarian organization.
FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force agents executed search warrants at the headquarters of Life for Relief and Development in the Detroit suburb of Southfield.
The warrants were based on a criminal assertion, but the affidavits in support of the warrants are sealed, William Kowalski, an assistant special agent in the FBI's Detroit office, told the Detroit Free Press.
"The warrants have been signed off by a judge, and it pertains to an ongoing criminal matter," FBI spokeswoman Dawn Clenney told The Associated Press. She did not give additional details.
Agents hauled away documents, letters and ledgers starting at about 9 a.m. (1300 GMT), said Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations. Walid said agents told officials at the charity that the raid was related to criminal activity.
"They're seizing documents," Walid said. "They haven't closed down the charity, they haven't filed any charges against the organization nor have they arrested anyone. It was totally unexpected and they're baffled."
Mohammed Alomari, spokesman for Life for Relief and Development, described the federal agents as courteous and said staff members who remained in the office were cooperating. He said much of the staff was sent home for the day after agents arrived...(MORE)

Feds raid Southfield Muslim organization
Paul Egan / The Detroit News

SOUTHFIELD -- FBI agents from the Joint Terrorism Task Force raided the Southfield offices of an American Muslim relief organization today, but would not disclose the nature of the criminal investigation they were conducting.
The FBI executed a search warrant at the offices of Life for Relief and Development, located off 10 Mile Road, at about 9 a.m. and remained there for several hours, FBI Special Agent Dawn Clenney said.
The reasons given to a federal judge to obtain the search warrant were sealed and no arrests had yet been made. The search is "pertaining to a criminal matter," Clenney said.
Life for Relief describes itself on its website as the largest American Muslim humanitarian relief organization. The non-profit organization was founded in 1992 by concerned Iraqi-American professionals in response to the crisis in Iraq following the 1991 Gulf War, the website says.
The charity says it has provided more than $50 million in aid to over 13 million people around the world.
Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations, said he spoke to Life for Relief's director this morning and the director said he had no idea why the raid was executed.
"There have been no charges and no arrests thus far," Walid said...(MORE)

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