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Targets of terror financing probe had political clout (Norquist and Saffuri alerts)
Atlanta Journal-Constitution ^ | December 12th, 2003 | EUNICE MOSCOSO and REBECCA CARR

Posted on 12/12/2003 8:31:22 AM PST by Sabertooth

WASHINGTON -- Nine days after the federal government raided their homes and businesses, leaders of an alleged terror financing operation were given the opportunity to question the agency investigating them.

The meeting on March 29, 2002, in the office of Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) is an example of the political clout of what the government calls the "Safa Group," a web of companies and nonprofits based in northern Virginia.

One week later, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill met with Muslim leaders with connections to the Safa Group to hear complaints about the raids.

The leaders are suspected of running more than 100 businesses and charities that have allegedly supported the Palestinian Islamic Jihad-Shikaki Faction and Hamas, two organizations the government has designated as terrorist groups, according to a 132-page affidavit written by David Kane, an investigator with the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Warrant sought

He filed the document to support a government request for a warrant to search 29 properties in Virginia, a Georgia poultry business and other undisclosed locations on March 20, 2002.

The men who run the companies haven't been charged with any crime and, through their lawyer, have denied any connections to terrorism.

Several men suspected of connections to the Safa Group have donated to political campaigns on both sides of the aisle.

The men have given more than $84,000 since 1990 to a variety of federal candidates and political groups, including $5,500 to Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, a Michigan Republican, and $4,000 to former Rep. Lee Hamilton, an Indiana Democrat, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a political watchdog group.

The campaign contributions included more than $15,000 to Rep. Jim Moran, a Virginia Democrat.

"I had no reason not to accept it," Moran said. "I was happy to have anyone's support."

Returned funds

But Moran returned the money after reading press accounts about the federal investigation. "I didn't want to be associated in any way with a group that condoned or supported any form of terrorism," he said.

Other donations include $10,600 to former Rep. Cynthia McKinney, a Georgia Democrat with long-standing support from Arab-Americans because of her call for more attention to the Palestinian side of the Middle East conflict. McKinney could not be reached for comment.

Kane's affidavit alleges that the main leaders of the Safa Group of companies include Yacub Mirza, Jamal Barzinji, Ahmad Totonji, Muhammad Ashraf, Hisham Altalib, Cherif Sedky, Mohammed Jaghlit and Taha Alalwani, a naturalized American citizen who runs an Islamic graduate school where nine of the 12 Muslim chaplains in the U.S. military have been trained.

When asked about the March 29 meeting, Wolf's press secretary would only say the meeting took place, the raids were discussed and the individuals the government calls the Safa Group are Wolf's constituents.

"We don't talk about private meetings," said Dan Scandling, Wolf's press secretary.

Khaled Saffuri, head of the Washington-based Islamic Free Market Institute Foundation, was at the April 4 luncheon with the former treasury secretary.

GOP heavyweight Grover Norquist, a former board member of the foundation, said the group is not political; rather it is focused on educational issues such as promoting the belief that the Quran's teachings do not conflict with a free society.

Norquist has urged the Republican Party to open its doors to Muslims as well as other minority groups.

"People think that George Bush and Texas are hicksville and they don't have Muslims there," Norquist said. "They are wrong."

Saffuri, who has met with many top-level administration officials in recent years, including Secretary of State Colin Powell and FBI Director Robert Mueller, is also listed in Federal Election Committee reports as the treasurer of National Muslims for a Greater America, a defunct political action committee that received $5,200 from people connected to the Safa Group investigation.

In an interview, Saffuri said the institute received a total of $20,000 from the Safa Trust, one of the nonprofit organizations under investigation. The money went to pay for educational lectures on Islam, he said.

Saffuri said he has known members of the so-called Safa Group since the late 1980s. He said they have been caught up in a government fishing expedition, and the meeting with O'Neill was held to dispute the methods of the raids.

"No one in the meeting asked why did you raid the Safa Group?" Saffuri said. "We weren't there to question the raids, but the methods by which they were conducted."

In addition, the affidavit ties the Safa Group to Abdurahman M. Alamoudi, a politically connected Muslim activist, who was welcomed at the White House by former President Bill Clinton and President Bush for his work on behalf of Muslim causes. Alamoudi recently pleaded not guilty to an 18-count federal indictment alleging that he laundered money and violated immigration and customs laws by accepting $340,000 from the Libyan government, which the government considers a state sponsor of terrorism.

The $84,000 in contributions came from several of the alleged principals of the Safa Group and Alamoudi.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; US: District of Columbia; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 20020220; 200203; 20020329; 200304; 20030404; abdurahmanalamoudi; abdurahmanmalamoud; abraham; ahmadtotonji; alamoudi; antiterrorismraids; chaplains; cherifsedky; colinpowell; cynthiamckinney; davidkane; enemywithin; fbiraids; greenquest; grovernorquist; hamas; hamilton; hishamaltalib; islamicinstitute; islamicjihad; jamalbarzinji; jihadilobby; jimmoran; khaledsaffuri; leehamilton; lobbying; lobbyists; mckinney; militarychaplains; mirza; mohammedjaghlit; moran; mueller; muhammadashraf; muslimchaplains; nmga; norquist; oneill; operationgreenquest; opgreenquest; pauloneill; pij; powell; raids; robertmueller; safa; safagroup; safatrust; saffuri; shikaki; shikakifaction; spencerabraham; tahaalalwani; treasurysecretary; wolf; yacubmirza

1 posted on 12/12/2003 8:31:24 AM PST by Sabertooth
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To: Victoria Delsoul; Trollstomper; philman_36; harpseal; Travis McGee; dennisw; veronica; ...


2 posted on 12/12/2003 8:33:51 AM PST by Sabertooth (Credit where it's due: prevented SB60, and the Illegal Alien CDLs... for now.)
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To: Sabertooth
It's difficult to see how we're going to win this war if our political leadership - especially the President as Commander In Chief - cannot, or will not recognize the nature and psychology of this Islamist enemy.
3 posted on 12/12/2003 8:55:42 AM PST by onedoug
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To: onedoug
I agree with 100%. Our enemy is Islam, the religion itself as it is practiced. Now if some Islamic leader wants to take on reforming this religion and its mosques starts to preach tolerance and love, I would not mind respecting Islam then.

The fact that the most powerful nation on earth get dictated to by fourth rate little countries, like Saudi Arabia or Iran, is very embarrassing. If it is illegal to build a Church in Saudi Arabia, yet Saudi Arabia builds thousands of churches in the U.S., then who is the bitch in this relationship. If it is illegal to convert from Islam to Christianity in Saudi Arabia, yet Saudi Arabia finances ministries all over the U.S. to convert African American people and infuse hate in them, how can our leaders be silence on such inequities between our countries? In my book the most powerful nation should get equal treatment, and more. Tell me if I am wrong!

4 posted on 12/12/2003 9:12:00 AM PST by philosofy123
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To: philosofy123
Guess that means you don't agree that Saudi Arabia and Egypt should have been ADDED to the list of coalition members eligible to bid on contracts in Iraq :>)
5 posted on 12/12/2003 9:15:00 AM PST by SJackson (Terror-I know the sense of helplessness, the urge to arm yourself, that's what I did- Sen. Feinstein)
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: seamole
If you have a feel that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and reforming Islam is a possibility, then you have better information than me.
7 posted on 12/12/2003 10:14:45 AM PST by philosofy123
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To: onedoug
>>>cannot, or will not recognize the nature and psychology of this Islamist enemy.

They should try reading real history instead of the myopic academic apoligist whitewashers of the events, philosophy and theology underlying islam's 21st century push for world domination.

Islam is Jihad.
8 posted on 12/12/2003 10:29:29 AM PST by swarthyguy
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To: seamole
Wasn't Sistani assassinated?
9 posted on 12/12/2003 10:58:17 AM PST by thoughtomator (The U.N. is a terrorist organization)
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: SJackson
Most of the evil hate comes from Both Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
12 posted on 12/12/2003 1:20:12 PM PST by philosofy123
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To: philosofy123
Most of the evil hate comes from Both Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

Yup, along with Iran. As non coalition members, why we invited them into Iraq is beyond me.

13 posted on 12/12/2003 1:46:39 PM PST by SJackson (Terror-I know the sense of helplessness, the urge to arm yourself, that's what I did- Sen. Feinstein)
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To: Sabertooth; FairOpinion; Pro-Bush; BagCamAddict; ganeshpuri89; pokerbuddy0; cgk; Donna Lee Nardo; ..
14 posted on 12/12/2003 2:36:17 PM PST by JustPiper (Teach the Children to fight Liberalism ! They will be voting in 2008 !!!)
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To: All
Isn't Moran the same guy who said that America's Jews were the ones who were pushing for the war in Iraq in a redux of the Vast Zionist Conspiracy?
15 posted on 12/12/2003 4:09:45 PM PST by Angelus Errare
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To: Sabertooth; DarkWaters


16 posted on 01/13/2006 5:38:34 PM PST by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Take Back The GOP!)
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To: GOP_1900AD

I see the little agent is still pandering to the enemy. And the silence from D.C. is deafening. These front groups run and smell like communist inspired operations only with and Islamic backing using various in name only orgs’ and states like Iran, Syria, Pakistan, etc.

17 posted on 01/16/2006 4:08:32 PM PST by DarkWaters
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