For decades, Habitat for Humanity (HFH), a Christian charity, has been building homes for those who are less fortunate in society, regardless of religion. Because of this truly noble undertaking, the organization has garnered much praise around the world, including from leaders of nations. However, recently, the group has been doing something to lose that respect and sully its reputation. It has been allowing itself to become affiliated with groups associated with international terrorism. One of these groups is the Islamic Circle of North America or ICNA.
ICNA is the American affiliate of South Asian Islamist group Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). JI’s militant wing, Hizbul Mujahideen, owned the Pakistani compound where Osama bin Laden was hiding out and where he was eventually killed by US Navy Seals. ICNA, itself, has been linked to terrorist financing and has used the web to promote different terrorist groups, including Hamas, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and the Taliban.
ICNA conducts its annual functions with the Muslim American Society (MAS), which, in November 2014, along with al-Qaeda and ISIS, was designated by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government a terrorist organization. The National Executive Director of MAS, Mazen Mokhtar, was a US-based administrator for qoqaz.net (‘Jihad in Chechnya’), an al-Qaeda recruitment and financing site, and has been quoted as calling Hamas operations “heroic” and suicide bombings “an effective method of attacking the enemy and continuing jihad.”
The main charity of ICNA is ICNA Relief. In August 2006, ICNA Relief was the top donor and partner to Pakistani charity Al Khidmat Foundation (AKF), at the same time AKF took a delegation to Syria to hand deliver nearly $100,000 to the global head of Hamas, Khaled Mashal, at his then-Damascus residence. Today, Mashal operates out of Qatar. Mashal thanked the group and said Hamas would continue to wage “jihad” (war) on the “Zionist yoke” (Israel).
ICNA Relief continues to work directly with AKF overseas. In fact, the President of AKF’s Central Board of Management, Muhammad Abdus Shakoor, is a former Secretary General of ICNA.
On October 15th, ICNA Relief partnered with the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at Florida International University (FIU) for a Habitat for Humanity event, in Pompano Beach, Florida. Attending were both leaders of their respective Muslim groups, the President of the FIU MSA, Sara Haroon, and the Secretary of ICNA Florida and ICNA Relief USA Florida, Abdul Rauf Khan.
ICNA’s Khan has used his Facebook page to post videos dedicated to Nation of Islam leader and anti-Jewish fanatic Louis Farrakhan and Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood. He has been photographed wearing Muslim Brotherhood garb, himself. Khan also posted a video on his Facebook site glorifying a member of Hezbollah as a “hero,” and he posted a link to an anti-Semitic video labeling comedian talk show host Bill Maher, “Zionist Jew Bill Maher.”
Listed on the flyer – which contains both the ICNA Relief and Habitat for Humanity logos – as the contact for the Habitat event is Taha Qureshi, the Outreach Coordinator for ICNA Relief USA Florida.
Qureshi likes sharing controversial posts on his Facebook page. In October, he shared a post stating, “Don’t worry about Trump. Abu Lahab has always existed – We just need more Abu Bakrs.” When Muslims refer to someone as an Abu Lahab, who was the half-uncle of Muhammad, they are calling him/her an enemy of Islam.
In August, Qureshi shared a Facebook post with his readers referring to English as a “shit language.” And in February, Qureshi shared a post praising the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna, as “a legend” who “feared none but his Lord” and memorializing the anniversary of his death in 1949.
This is not the first event ICNA Relief has done with Habitat for Humanity. They have done a number of them, in Florida and other parts of the country. In January, the two came together, also in Pompano Beach, Florida. Attending that event as a volunteer for ICNA Relief was the imam of Masjid Jamaat Al-Mumineen (MJAM), Izhar Khan.
In May 2011, Khan was arrested and spent the next 20 months in a federal detention center in Miami on charges of terrorism. According to the indictment against him, “Izhar is a Pakistani Taliban sympathizer who worked with [his father Hafiz Muhammad Sher Ali Khan] and others to collect and deliver money for the Pakistani Taliban… Izhar… provided and attempted to provide material support and resources… knowing and intending that they be used in preparation for and in carrying out… a conspiracy to murder, kidnap, and maim persons in a foreign country.”
Other radical Muslim outfits have participated in similar projects with HFH, including the Hamas-related Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Are these the types of groups and individuals Habitat for Humanity wishes to represent their cause? Does HFH really want a support network for terror and bigotry to be associated with their name and their logo?
It is obvious these organizations are cynically exploiting Habitat’s name and humanitarian endeavors for their own sinister purposes. If HFH wishes to preserve its integrity – and its donors – it must cease working with groups which promote a violent Islamist agenda.
The website for Habitat for Humanity contains the following message of thanks: “We are deeply grateful to the many partners who help Habitat for Humanity build decent and affordable housing in the United States and around the world.”
But how could anyone ever be thankful towards those who spread violence and hate?
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.