Joe Kaufman, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is Chairman of the Joe Kaufman Security Initiative and the 2014, 2016 and 2018 Republican Nominee for U.S. House of Representatives (Florida-CD23).
The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) is raising money, through its division ICNA Relief, in the name of “CORONAVIRUS RELIEF.” The group claims that the funds will be used to assist low-income families, seniors, refugees and others. However, in the past, ICNA has been linked to the financing of terrorist groups overseas. Because of this, the group not only cannot be trusted with money, but should no longer exist to use it.
The coronavirus outbreak has changed the world as we know it, devastating global economies and taking the lives of (as of this writing) 20,000 people and counting. At least one organization related to terror, ICNA, is exploiting the situation. The group has created a campaign asking for donations “to respond to the crisis.”
As stated on ICNA’s website: “Many of our elderly, widowed, refugee and low-income families do not have access to the basic living necessities that we so often take for granted. They are struggling to pay their monthly bills due to either being in self-quarantine or their jobs being adversely affected by the virus. With your support, whether it’s donating or sharing ICNA Relief’s campaign, you can help these families stay safe and healthy, as well as provide them with the financial resources they so desperately need at this time.”
ICNA specifically says that the funds will go to “aid” those “who are impacted by the current lockdown.” ICNA’s record, though, when it comes to money for relief efforts, has been extremely questionable and disturbing.
ICNA is the American arm of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the largest Islamist movement in South Asia. A former Secretary General and current imam of ICNA, Ashrafuz Zaman Khan, in November 2013, was sentenced to death in Bangladesh for his role as a top commander for JI’s then-paramilitary wing, al-Badr, during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, responsible for the murders of at least 18 individuals.
In August 2006, JI announced on its website that its charitable apparatus, the Al-Khidmat Foundation (AKF), had taken a delegation to the Damascus, Syria home of then-global head of Hamas, Khaled Mashal, presenting Mashal with a check for $100,000. Mashal thanked the group and said that Hamas would continue to “wage Jihad” against the “Zionist yoke.” At the time of the transaction, ICNA was a partner to AKF and topped the list of donors on AKF’s website. AKF’s current President, Muhammad Abdus Shakoor, is a former Secretary General of ICNA, and today, ICNA continues to be a partner to AKF.
In October 2000, on the homepage of its website, ICNA’s South East Region published links to the official websites of Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban. Under the links was a directive from then-ICNA President Mohammad Yunus asking fellow Muslims to provide “material support” to what appeared to be Chechen militants associated with al-Qaeda. It stated, “Remember Your Fellow Chechnyan Muslims… We must show our spiritual and material support for our brothers and sisters being oppressed by the brutal Russian forces.” Immediately following the message was a link to qoqaz.net, a financing and recruitment website for al-Qaeda.
For its coronavirus efforts, ICNA enlisted the help of four doctors. One of them was Tipu Khan, the Fellowship Director for the Primary Care Addiction Medicine Fellowship at Ventura County Medical Center’s Family Medicine Residency Program, in Ventura, California (His Fellowship photo is on the ICNA flyer). Khan is passionate against Israel, which he calls “an illegal occupier with big guns conducting a Zionist jihad against the Arabs.” He excuses Hamas rockets being launched into Israeli civilian neighborhoods, saying, “[W]hen you’re fighting against [a] US made and supported weapons complex, no one has a chance for traditional warfare.”
In July 2014, when someone repeated an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory questioning the legitimacy of Israelis’ Jewish status, writing the following on Khan’s Facebook page, “I call them Khazars aka Russians… Or fake Jews,” Khan clicked “like” by it. The same day, Khan reposted material from Friends of Al-Aqsa, a group that promotes the Palestinian Intifada, the violent uprising against Israel; honors Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin; and defends suspected terrorists, including then-Guantanamo Bay prisoner Shaker Aamer, who, according to The Telegraph, was alleged to be “a highly-trained terrorist who served as Osama bin Laden’s personal translator.”
When donating to ICNA, whether it concerns coronavirus or something else, people should understand the highly controversial nature of the organization they are contributing to. ICNA is a radical Muslim group with documented ties to terrorism, and that includes terrorist financing. What may sound like a benign charitable cause coming from ICNA could very well turn out to be a front for malevolent activity wreaking havoc instead of helping.
It is therefore advisable that anyone wishing to help those impacted by the coronavirus outbreak contribute funds to a more reputable and proven charitable endeavor. It is, as well, advisable that the US government designate ICNA a terrorist entity and remove the group’s ability to operate on American shores.
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.