Care International and misinformation

Washington Times | October 20, 2006

One must read Susan Estrich and Harvey Silverglate’s letter in response to our Monday Op-Ed as being a product of their duty as attorneys to zealously advocate for their client, Emadeddin Z. Muntasser (“Financing jihad: did he or didn’t he?” Wednesday). They incorrectly accuse us of having “uncritically lifted” our arguments “out of the Department of Justice playbook” and accepting the U.S. government’s “deeply flawed misunderstanding of…fundamental Islamic principles,” but the narrow advocate’s view they themselves take ignores important aspects of those fundamental principles and betrays their own limited understanding.

Ms. Estrich and Mr. Silverglate contradict themselves. Their letter argues that jihad means “‘utmost effort’ or ‘struggle’ to promote and defend Islam.” Yet, in their motion to dismiss the federal indictment against Emadeddin Z. Muntasser and Muhamed Mubayyid, former directors of Boston’s Care International, they specifically reference certain warlike aspects of jihad. They (and their legal team) write, “the giving of zakat (alms) is required of all Muslims as one of the five pillars of Islam, and the Koran is commonly (but not universally) interpreted to include the mujahideen as one of the eight recipients of zakat.”

The Islamic religious obligation to conduct jihad is universally recognized. The authoritative 19th-century Dictionary of Islam, [available online, p. 243] defines jihad, as “The duty of religious war (…a duty extending to all time) [which] is laid down in the Qur’an.”The Dictionary then quotes extensively from several Suras of the Koran. Sura 9, Verses 5 and 6, command Muslims to “kill those who join other gods with God wherever ye shall find them; and seize them, besiege them, and lay wait for them with every kind of ambush” unless they convert. Verse 29 orders them to “Make war upon such of those to whom the Scriptures have been given as believe not in God” and who reject Allah or “his Apostle.”

Similarly, the renowned Sufi master al-Ghazali (d. 1111) writes: “One must go on jihad at least once a year…one may use a catapult against them [non-Muslims] when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and drown them.” As to non-Muslims, al-Ghazali continues, “One may cut down their trees…One must destroy their useless books.”

To promote this jihad, Boston’s Care allegedly continued its fundraising activities on behalf of al Qaeda until 2003, long after the U.S. government had changed its policy regarding jihadis in Afghanistan. Moreover, Mr. Mubayyid was affiliated with a Boston IT company whose major investor was Yasin al-Qadi, who was designated as a terrorist in October 2001. A Saudi businessman, Mr. Qadi also headed the Muwafaq Foundation, which according to a former legal counsel to the U.S. Treasury Department funded al Qaeda, Hamas and other terrorist organizations.

Regarding Care, the defendants claimed that neither they nor the organization were affiliated with al Qaeda. Yet the Care website boasted that Abdullah Azzam, an al Qaeda co-founder, had founded it, too. Further, Care published Azzam’s writings, advocating the Muslim obligation to conduct jihad against the West “today,” until “the last piece of land, which was in the hands of the Muslims…is liberated.”

Finally, Miss Ehrenfeld rightly sued Khalid bin Mahfouz in the U.S. to protect her First Amendment rights, and those of all other U.S. journalists and publishers damaged by his numerous libel lawsuits in Great Britain. That case most definitely concerns the protection of free speech and a free press, especially as related to the public interest and national security. Even the House of Lords’ recent decision in Jameel vs. the Wall Street Journal, supports her arguments.

The defendants, on the other hand, are accused of lying to the federal government in federal filings. Furthermore, they did not only call for jihad. They allegedly funded it, too, long after September 11. Clearly, court documents demonstrate that this is not an issue of free speech or religious freedom.

American Center for Democracy

Senior Fellow
American Center for Democracy

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Alyssa A. Lappen is a U.S.-based investigative journalist. She is the former Managing Editor at the Leeb Group (2012-2017); a former Senior Fellow of the American Center for Democracy (2005-2008); and a former Senior Editor of Institutional Investor (1993-1999), Working Woman (1991-1993) and Corporate Finance (1991). She served six of her 12 years at Forbes (1978-1990) as an Associate Editor. Ms. Lappen was also a staff reporter at The New Haven Register (1975-1977). During a decade as a freelance, her work appeared in Big Peace, Pajamas Media, Front Page Magazine, American Thinker, Right Side News, Family Security Matters, the Washington Times and many other Internet and print journals. Ms. Lappen also contributed to the Terror Finance Blog, among others. She supports the right of journalists worldwide to write without fear or restriction on politics, governments, international affairs, terrorism, terror financing and religious support for terrorism, among other subjects. Ms. Lappen is also an accomplished poet. Her first full-length collection, The Minstrel's Song, was published by Cross-Cultural Communications in April 2015. Her poems have been published in the 2nd 2007 edition of Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust and both 2007 issues of Wales' award-winning Seventh Quarry: Swansea Poetry Magazine. Dozens of her poems have appeared in print and online literary journals and books. She won the 2000 annual Ruah: A Journal of Spiritual Poetry chapbook award and has received a Harvard Summer Poetry Prize and several honorable mentions.

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