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The Ground Zero Mosque controversy is reigniting as the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, and new accusations against its chief financier adds to concerns about the money for the $100 million project. Those behind the Ground Zero Mosque have a history of shady financial dealings, and have not ruled out taking money from Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Allstate Insurance is suing Hisham Elzanaty, the Ground Zero Mosque’s top financial backer, for running a “highly developed and sophisticated kickback scheme.” He is alleged to have fraudulently set up medical facilities, despite not being a licensed professional. He then presented Allstate Insurance with inflated medical bills and engaged in illegal fee-splitting arrangements, it is claimed. He is being sued by Allstate for $5.1 million. State Farm and Geico separately sued Elzanaty this year for $1.9 and $1.7 million respectively on similar allegations of fraud.
Elzanaty donated $6,000 to the Holy Land Foundation in 1999, which was shut down by the federal government in 2001 for acting as a front for Hamas. The government’s position was vindicated during the trial, and documents were introduced into evidence proving that the charity was set up by the Muslim Brotherhood to finance the terrorist group. Elzanaty says that he did not know of HLF’s terrorism connection when he made the donation, as the charity said it was raising money for orphanages.
“The Ground Zero Mosque’s financing should worry all Americans, even those who don’t have a problem with the location of the mosque,” Martin Mawyer, president of the Christian Action Network, told FrontPage. The organization is putting on a screening tour of its film opposing the Ground Zero Mosque in Congress and New York City public parks in the week leading up to the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
Other questions surround Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his Cordoba Initiative. He is also the leader of the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA), which has the status of a “church” and therefore, does not need to disclose its donors. ASMA told the government in its filing that it had 500 attendees for its religious services, but the apartment building these services are held at cannot accommodate such a crowd. The organization was originally named the American Sufi Muslim Association and was co-founded with Faiz Khan, a 9/11 conspiracy theory activist. Khan also led prayers at Imam Rauf’s mosque until December 2009.
ASMA’s 2009 financial statement says it is “developing Cordoba’s ability to function independently.” However, the filed tax return for Cordoba claims it is not financially tied to any other group. Furthermore, between 2006 and 2008, Cordoba did not declare over $130,000 in donations from 2006 to 2008. The government was not informed of a $32,000 donation in 2007. Two donations of $98,000 and $25,000 to ASMA for Cordoba were also not filed. The individuals behind the Ground Zero Mosque are now talking of forming another group with the specific purpose of fundraising.
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