2010-09-24 / Top Stories

Report: Meeks Interceded For Terrorism-Backer

By Howard Schwach

Congressman Gregory Meeks interceded with Homeland Security on behalf of a Muslim man who leads a charity that has been accused by the government of aiding Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda and Hamas, the New York Post reported in an exclusive report on Sunday.

In a September 2006 letter, Meeks, who represents Rockaway in the House of Representatives, scolded immigration officials for questioning Anwar Hajjaj, a Muslim scholar whose non-profit organizations have been linked to financing world-wide terrorism.

“[Hajjaj] is highly regarded as a professor of Islamic studies … he should not be subject to unfair scrutiny without just cause,” Meeks wrote, adding that Hajjaj often offered Muslim prayers at the Capitol.

Hajjaj, however, also headed the Taibah International Aid Society, a charity that has been accused of assisting terrorism in America and abroad.

Hajjah is also the head of another organization, according to the Post – the Virginia-based nonprofit, The World Assembly of Muslim Youth International (WAMY), which was funded by Osama bin Laden’s brother and is said to support terrorist groups. The group’s 2005 federal tax form is signed by Hajjaj, who is listed as the group’s director.

On its website, the group says, “People who attack Israelis are heroes of Palestine,” while Jews are “humanity’s enemies.”

Both of the organizations were named as defendants in lawsuits brought on behalf of the families of victims of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

The lawsuit says that WAMY, founded in Saudi Arabia in 1972, has been identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a suspected terrorist organization.

A federal judge last week refused to dismiss a lawsuit against WAMY, stating that the allegations against the group are “sufficient to demonstrate that they are knowingly and intentionally providing material support to al- Qaeda.”

Meeks told Post reporters Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein, “As a member of Congress and a proud New Yorker who deeply feels the loss of all families afflicted by the 9/11 attacks, my number one priority is doing everything in my power to ensure the safety and security of all Americans. At the same time, I also adamantly believe that securing our homeland must be done without risking the unfair or discriminatory treatment of any in our society as is our Constitutional duty. To that end, several years ago, it was brought to my attention that several Muslim American citizens faced what they felt was undue scrutiny from Department of Homeland Security officials at many US airports, including JFK. I sent letters to inquire about the treatment of two Muslim American citizens in particular that felt they were being treated unfairly at US ports of entry.”

Hajjaj was not arrested when he reentered the country at JFK, but was taken aside and questioned before being released, the Post report said.

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