November 25, 2002, - 5:03 am
[Note: This article originally appeared in The Jerusalem Post on Monday, November 25, 2002.]
The recent Second Annual Palestinian Students Divestment Conference at the University of Michigan is over, but the real story is who paid for it.
In addition to university buildings, paid for by taxpayers, and a stipend, paid for by Michigan students’ tuition, the conference of anti-Semitic, anti-American hate speakers, including Islamic Jihad founder Sami Al-Arian, was funded by some frightening sources.
The Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP)
Funded in part by $490,000 from the personal bank account of Hamas political director Moussa Abu Marzouk, IAP is a Hamas front-group, which distributed the Hamas charter, official Hamas intifada communiques issued from Gaza, and Hamas glory records, which are tributes to Hamas’s “violent successes.” IAP also produces Hamas training and recruitment videos.
IAP’s finances are entwined with those of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), which in December 2001 the US government shut down and froze the assets of, saying that it finances Hamas.
In a March 1991 fund-raising letter, IAP urged its members to send funds to HLF (then called the Occupied Land Fund) to support efforts to liberate “Palestine” through the intifada. According to the Dallas Morning News, “Public records, materials from the two groups [IAP and HLF]… show a pattern of personal, financial and philosophical ties between Hamas and the two nonprofit groups.”
In December 2001, federal authorities deported IAP leader Ghassan Dahduli on immigration violations. Dahduli’s name was found in the address book of Wadih El-Hage, Osama bin Laden’s former finance chief and personal secretary, who was convicted in the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in East Africa.
IAP and HLF are co-defendants in a civil lawsuit filed in 2000 by the parents of David Boim, an American teenager murdered by Hamas in Israel in 1996. The suit cites the financial connections between IAP and the Holy Land Foundation, such as shared board members and joint projects.
The Muslim Community Association of Ann Arbor (MCA)
This is the mosque of Rabih Haddad, now in jail awaiting trial because the charity he founded, Global Relief Foundation (GRF), funded terrorism and was involved with al-Qaida. On October 18, through Executive Order No. 13224, President George W. Bush designated GRF, the second largest US Islamic charity, as a terrorist entity.
In 1996 and 1997, GRF officials had contact with El-Hage. Mohammed Zouaydi, a key al-Qaida financier with ties to the Hamburg cell that carried out the 9/11 attacks, gave $211,000 in cash to GRF and funneled $600,000 to al-Qaida operations around the world.
An Illinois post-office box used by GRF, registered in Haddad’s name, sent out Arabic GRF newsletters that urged “martyrdom through jihad.”
Soliciting contributions to GRF, the literature sent from Haddad’s PO box advocated the violent ouster of former Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto and “the emergence of a Pakistani Taliban Movement to remedy the situation.”
It also sought donations “for equipping the raiders, for the purchase of ammunition” for the jihad. Haddad also distributed messages from Abdallah Azzam, bin Laden’s and al-Qaida’s spiritual leader.
The Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS)
ACCESS may be the most frightening funder of the conference because its chief, Ismael Ahmed, is running for University of Michigan regent in the November elections. And because American tax dollars fund his organization American tax dollars which he then used to pay for this hateful conference.
According to its latest annual report, in 2001, ACCESS got at least 73.6% of its $10.2 million annual revenue from taxpayers. ACCESS, North America’s largest Arab welfare agency, funded commercial driving lessons and attempts to get hazardous-materials hauling certificates for Ahmed Hannan and Karim Koubriti, members of Detroit’s recently indicted al-Qaida cell. When confronted by the press, ACCESS chief and Michigan regent candidate Ahmed dismissed their al-Qaida membership as a mere “political credential.”
After 9/11, ACCESS organized and publicized in The Detroit News a campaign against universities cooperating with federal agents trying to find foreign students linked to terrorism.
ACCESS, which thinks nothing of funding the anti-Semitic hate conference in Ann Arbor, was paid $1.3m. to provide “sensitivity training” to the Dearborn Police Department, Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, and Dearborn and Detroit Public Schools. Ahmed also opposed the Clinton Counter-terrorism Act of 1996 because it prohibited donations to terrorist groups, including Hizbullah and Hamas.
Everyone should be concerned not just with the hate and support for terrorism that went on at the University of Michigan Divestment Conference, but with who is funding it not only those closely associated with al-Qaida and Hamas, but unwitting American taxpayers themselves. Hopefully they will keep that in mind, as they go to the polls to hold accountable legislators who freely gave American tax money to ACCESS, and an irresponsible U-M Regent candidate, Ahmed the man who misused their money to foment hate and support terrorism.
Tags: Abdallah Azzam, Ahmed Hannan, Al-Arian, al-Qaeda, American Embassies, American Teenager, Ann Arbor, Arab Community Center for Economic, Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, Benazir Bhutto, chief, chief and personal secretary, Dallas Morning News, David Boim, Dearborn Police Department, Debbie Schlussel, Detroit, East Africa, Executive, Federal Authorities, finance, financier, founder, front group, Gaza, George W. Bush, Ghassan Dahduli, Global Relief Foundation, Hamas, Hamas Charter, Hamburg, Hlf, Holy Land Foundation, Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, Illinois, irresponsible U-M Regent candidate, Islamic Association, Islamic Association for Palestine, Islamic Jihad, Ismael Ahmed, Israel, Jerusalem Post, Karim Koubriti, leader, MCA, Michigan, Michigan Students, Mohammed Zouaydi, mosque of Rabih Haddad, Moussa Abu Marzouk, Muslim Community Association of Ann Arbor, Nonprofit Groups, North America, Occupied Land Fund, Osama bin Laden, Osama bin Laden's former finance chief, Pakistan, Pakistani Taliban Movement, Palestine, Palestinian Students, personal bank account, personal secretary, political director, President, regent candidate, Sami Al-Arian, Social Services, spiritual leader, the Dallas Morning News, the Detroit News, The Jerusalem Post, The University of Michigan, United States, University of Michigan, University of Michigan Divestment Conference, US government, USD, Wadih, Wadih El-Hage, Wayne County Sheriff's Department