Emerson: The HLF-CAIR Connections
It’s disgraceful how little coverage the Holy Land Foundation trial—the largest terror financing trial in history, implicating some very high-profile Islamic advocacy groups—is getting in US mainstream media, and Steven Emerson tries to fill some of the gaps: HLF and CAIR, a Supplement to Mainstream Reporting.
CAIR was founded by high ranking officials of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a Hamas front group effectively shut down after losing a $156 million civil judgment in a case brought by the parents of an American teenager murdered by Hamas terrorists. HLF was also a defendant in that case, and the ties between CAIR, IAP and HLF run very deep.
Ghassan Elashi, a defendant in the HLF trial, also a participant in the 1993 Philadelphia meeting of Hamas activists (along with CAIR founders Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmed), founded CAIR’s Texas chapter. In a previous criminal trial, Elashi has already been found guilty of laundering money for top Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzook, as well as violating sanctions against state sponsors of terrorism. He was sentenced to nearly 7 years in prison.
Earlier in the week, Elashi caused a stir in the courtroom, yelling about how the trial was part of a “Zionist conspiracy,” which is nothing new for Elashi and CAIR. When FBI agents raided Elashi’s company, Infocom, CAIR issued a press release complaining of an “anti-Muslim witch hunt,“ and - in typical CAIR fashion - purporting to speak for all American Muslims, which stated:American Muslims view yesterday’s action as just one of a long list of attempts by the pro-Israel lobby to intimidate and silence all those who wish to see Palestinian Muslims and Christians free themselves of a brutal Apartheid-like occupation. We believe the genesis of this raid lies not in Washington, but in Tel Aviv.As I noted above, Koenig reported that CAIR members were at the 1993 Hamas meeting. But evidence introduced during the trial implicated CAIR in the conspiracy even further, as documents from the trial link CAIR to the other U.S.-based Hamas front organizations, and demonstrate CAIR’s extensive ties to the Muslim Brotherhood – specifically the Palestine Committee.
Further, shortly after its incorporation, CAIR received $5,000 from HLF, a fact CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad disingenuously denied, until he was forced to concede it after the wire transfer was made public.
And as I reported in The New Republic, “[i]n the days after September 11, CAIR used its website to raise money for HLF, sending people who clicked on a link—called ‘Donate to the NY/DC Emergency Relief Fund’—to the HLF website.” If you clicked on that link, it led you to the following, now defunct, URL: http://www.hlf.org/cgi-bin/sc/order.cgi?… (empasis added). Clearly, it is the actions of CAIR’s founders and leaders, and not an “anti-Muslim witch hunt,” which has put CAIR in the government’s crosshairs.
While there has been some mainstream coverage of the HLF trial, it has been sporadic, hardly befitting the largest terrorism financing case in U.S. history. Their readership deserves better.