Sunday, July 29, 2007

[wvns] FBI Raids Dearborn Iranian Charity

FUND-RAISING OFFICES IN DEARBORN RAIDED ON SUSPICION OF TERRORIST TIES
NIRAJ WARIKOO
Detroit Free Press
7/24/07
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070724/NEWS02/70724034/1001/NEWS


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 Treasury said in a news release that it "targeted Hizballah's
support network by designating the Iran-based Martyrs Foundation,
including its U.S. branch, and the finance firm Al-Qard al-Hassan."

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, [and
apparently, a Zionist Jew disloyal to the United States Constitution
-WVNS] 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.

A man who answered the phone at Al-Mabarrat said he could not comment.

On tax records, Goodwill Charitable Organization Inc. lists its
address at a location on Michigan Avenue in Dearborn. No one from the
charity could be reached at the site and nearby businesses said they
were unaware of the charity.

According to tax records, Goodwill Charitable Organization received
$167,628 in contributions in 2005, and $202,500 in 2004. Leaders of
the group could not be reached for comment.

Hamad said that the allegations are just allegations for now, and that
the groups should have their due process.

The Treasury Department's designation means that the government has
frozen the groups' assets and prohibited any transactions with them by
people in the United States.


Contact NIRAJ WARIKOO at nwarikoo @ freepress.com or 248-351-2998.

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