Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Walid comments regarding raids on charities today in Dearborn

Al Mabarrat charitable foundation was raided today without any arrests or charges against it from the government similiar to the raid last year on LIFE for Relief & Development. Al Mabarrat is still open for business like LIFE. Unfortantely, these charities may continue to have suspicion cast over them, and may never get their days in court to clear their names from suspicion.

I repeat that it is still LEGAL to donate to Al-Mabarrat as well as LIFE.

Goodwill Charities, a virtually unknown charity in the Muslim community, was raided and closed today due to the US Department of Treasury's release this morning regarding groups that may have ties to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah. The raid regarding Goodwill was not a low level decision from the district US Attorney in my view, but a high level one originating from Washington DC.

The timing of today's raids coincided with the first day of the Holy Land Foundation Trial in Texas, the 1st major Muslim charity to be charged with terror related crimes. Many in the Detroit Muslim community have suspicion based upon history that today's directive from the US Department of Treasurer was released on this day for political purposes and to further taint the trial and public opinion surrounding Holy Land Foundation trial and Muslim charities in general.


Fund-raising offices in Dearborn raided on suspicion of terrorist ties
July 24, 2007



Federal agents are raiding today the Dearborn offices of two charities suspected of having ties to terrorist groups in the Middle East.

A Dearborn police officer guarded the entrance to the office of the Goodwill Charitable Organization, a fund-raising office established by the Martyrs Foundation in Dearborn, on Warren Avenue, tucked between a grocery store and an import store.

The charity is not affiliated with Goodwill Industries, said Christine Bragale, spokeswoman for Goodwill Industries International.

Goodwill Industries International has sent the Muslim charity a letter in the past to get it to stop using the Goodwill name, Bragale said.

In Dearborn, several uniformed and plainclothes law enforcement officials shuttled in and out of the office, while bystanders and neighbors stood by watching.

The government also has frozen the assets of the Goodwill Charitable Organization, according to the news release.

"We will continue to target those who form the financial backbone of Hizballah, Hamas, PIJ and other terrorist groups that are attempting to destabilize Lebanon and target innocent civilians," said Stuart Levey, under secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, in the news release. "We will not allow organizations that support terrorism to raise money in the United States or to evade our measures and continue to operate simply by changing their names."

A search warrant was executed at the Goodwill Charitable Organization office, according to Imad Hamad, regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

According to the Treasury, the Martyrs Foundation "channels financial support from Iran to several terrorist organizations’’ including “Hizballah, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)."

Federal agents are also raiding the Al-Mabarrat Charitable Organization, which has a Dearborn office on Schaefer Road, north of Warren Avenue.

Agents with the FBI, IRS, and the U.S. Secret Service were seen hauling away files and placing them into a van outside the office. Al-Mabarrat, whose headquarters is based in Lebanon, has held fund-raisers in metro Detroit in recent years.

Also, the FBI is holding a meeting this afternoon with Muslim leaders at the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights to discuss the raids, according to Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

The meeting will include Imam Mohammed Elahi, who heads the mosque, and Walid.(MORE)


Feds raid charity suspected of aiding Hezbollah

Paul Egan / The Detroit News

DEARBORN -- Federal agents this morning raided the offices of two Dearborn charities, shutting down one of the charities but making no arrests.

The raids were part of a crackdown announced by the Treasury Department in Washington D.C. against alleged financial supporters of Hezbollah and the Iranian Martyrs Foundation.

At about 10 a.m., members of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force entered the offices of the Goodwill Charitable Organization Inc. at 13112 W. Warren Ave.

At about the same time, federal agents raided the nearby Al-Mabarrat Charitable Organization at 7415 Schaefer Rd. in Dearborn. Unlike the Goodwill Charitable Organization, Al-Mabarrat will be allowed to remain open, said Dawud Walid, local director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, who was briefed by the FBI.(MORE)


Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the meeting was a courtesy to local leaders, but he's concerned any time an issue like this is raised in the Arab American community.

"We're fearful there might be a backlash against our mosque or individual Muslims," Walid said.(MORE)

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