May 18, 2006, - 3:42 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
You never know where the money you pay for shawarmeh or falafel is going.
Today, Talal Khalil Chahine, and his wife, Elfat El Aouar, were indicted for income tax evasion and skimming and concealing over $16 million. Chahine is the millionaire owner of La Shish, a chain of Middle-Eastern restaurants throughout its suburbs.
If you live in Detroit and are schooled in either its Islamic community and world of federal law enforcement, this is hardly news, and you’ve known for years not to eat at La Shish.
That is, if you’re not then-Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge, former DHS official Asa Hutchinson, Michigan/Ohio Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent in Charge Brian Moskowitz a/k/a “Abu Moskowitz,” Homeland Security “civil rights” advocate Daniel Sutherland, and assorted others. As I’ve written, they and others have supped with Muslim supporters of terror at La Shish’s Dearborn restaurant multiple times.
As for the rest of us, we know that La Shish owner Talal Chahine is involved with a lot of nefarious things. And we know that La Shish restaurants weren’t making that much money. Most of the $16 mill came from other “activities.” A Shia Muslim, who is a member of the Hezbollah mosque, Chahine was suspected of making his money from drug-dealing, and using his restaurants to launder the money. Relatives of his, got federal prison time for dealing and were believed to have taken the fall for him. His son, Khalil, was twice arrested for drug-related offenses.
Not long ago, that same son, Khalil, was convicted of murder. He murdered Paul Hallis, a Maronite Christian Arab, for the crime of daring to become engaged to a Muslim woman–a woman who reportedly dated the younger Chahine AND his married brother-in-law, Ali El-Ozeir. Yes, there are Islamic honor killings in America. And FYI, prior to his jail stint for murder, Khalil Chahine was the youth leader at the Hezbollah mosque.
Last year, the IRS raided La Shish for income tax evasion. It was known that Chahine sent a lot of his money back to Lebanon, where it was believed to fund Hezbollah terrorism. Sources say Chahine also was a loan shark to members of the Islamic community, in addition to the alleged drug dealing.
When agents raided his La Shish headquarters and two homes, reports said IRS agents found fake documents (passports, etc.) and tapes showing that Chahine tried to bribe witnesses to lie at his son’s murder trial.
Chahine’s criminal enterprises and likely funding of Hezbollah has been known for years. Yet, Abu Moskowitz refused to allow his ICE agents to investigate. His best buddy, “former” Islamic terrorist and FBI award revokee, Imad Hamad, whined about the raids when the IRS finally did them (with ICE agents standing by to watch). And maybe Abu M just didn’t want to upset Hamad buddy and benefactor/lawbreaker Chahine. Leave it to the IRS, which–as with Al Capone–always gets its money, to be less politically correct about Muslims and more focused on enforcing the law.
While the IRS has a photo of Chahine with Hezbollah spiritual leader Mohammed Fadlallah, Chahine’s contributions were not directly to Hezbollah, but to Al Mabarrat Association. It has a Dearborn, Michigan affiliate, Al Mabarat Charitable Organization (note the U.S. version uses one “r”, the Lebanese version–two “r”s). Al Mabarrat is clearly an open front for Hezbollah, and has Fadlallah’s photo on its website front and center. Despite that, U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy III and the IRS refuse to prosecute the U.S. branch of the charity for apparently violating the law and apparently donating the money to Hezbollah. And the State Department and Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Department of Treasury refuses to put either the Lebanese or American charity on the State Department terrorist list. On the contrary, the U.S. government allows it to operate and has licensed it as a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible organization, subsidized by American taxpayers.
And, by the way, as I’ve noted, Chahine’s imam, Elahi, openly meets in Lebanon with Fadlallah all the time. Al Mabarat Charitable Organization’s Dearborn officers–Fouad T. Beydoun, Ahmad J. Bazzi, and Nazem Baydoun–are from families that all come from Bint Jbeil, the Hezbollah stronghold in the South of Lebanon. Al Mabarat Charitable Organization’s taxes show annual outlays of close to $1 million, but improperly fail to provide a separate schedule listing where the money went. Where is the money going?
It is interesting to note that Chahine was indicted now, over a year after raids on his restaurant. That gave him plenty of time to flee the country. My sources told me long ago that, just after the raids, he fled to Lebanon and wasn’t coming back.
And maybe that was the point of the raids: to alert Chahine that it was time to go. This has been typical of indictments by Detroit’s U.S. Attorney Murphy on a number of terror cases. He recently indicted several members of the Hammoud family for smuggling cigarettes and money laundering to Hezbollah. Well actually, the indictment was handed down in 2004, but Murphy sat on it for two years, while he allowed most of the Hammouds to flee the country. (Now, finally indicting Chahine, he didn’t bother to charge him with funding terrorists, which it appears Chahine did.)
This whole thing is very embarrassing to Murphy, since–as I wrote last year–he appeared at the Hezbollah mosque and joked and laughed about whether Hezbollah was a terrorist group. And he clapped enthusiastically when the mosque’s Imam, Mohammed Ali Elahi, said that “the group in the South of Lebanon [Hezbollah], that’s not terrorism. That’s legitimate resistance.” (FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel Roberts, and Abu Moskowitz clapped, too.) That “group in the South of Lebanon” is where Chahine–a key financier of the Hezbollah mosque–was sending his money, according to sources.
The same machinations are present throughout the Justice Department, which, last year, indicted Tareq Hamdi–a Bin Laden associate–while he was out of the country (like he’d come back after that).
War on Terror? Only if you like the PR of indictments. With terror defendants alerted ahead of time by federal officials, they’ll never face justice.
Blame our clumsy, clueless, and weak U.S. Department of (non)Justice for terrorists and terror financiers going free. Yet again.
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