[Congressional Record Volume 142, Number 87 (Thursday, June 13, 1996)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1081-E1083]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                        HON. CHARLES E. SCHUMER

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, June 13, 1996

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. Speaker, I rise to share with my colleagues a very 
disturbing article that ran in the April 8, 1996, edition of the Dallas 
Morning News.
  I have made fighting terrorism a focal point of my work as ranking 
member of the Crime Subcommittee. I find it terrifying that in this 
country groups actively raise money to support terrorist groups under 
the guise of nonprofit organizations. This article plainly demonstrates 
the critical need in the United States for tough fundraising provisions 
like those found in the terrorism bill signed by the President in 
April. I urge my colleagues to read this article in the Dallas Morning 
News. These groups aren't not-for-profit, they are for terrorism, and 
they must be stopped.

              [From the Dallas Morning News, Apr. 8, 1996]

Paper Trail Leads to Hamas; Two Organizations Based in Richardson Deny 
             They Promote Agenda of Anti-Israeli Terrorists

                 (By Gayle Reaves and Steve McGonigle)

       Inside a Kansas City auditorium in 1989, a masked man 
     stepped to a lectern and described in Arabic the ``oceans of 
     blood'' spilled in Hamas' armed attacks on Israeli soldiers 
     and civilians.
       He thanked two nonprofit organizations for being early 
       The Islamic Association for Palestine, sponsor of the 
     conference, and the Occupied Land Fund.
       Seven years later. Hamas is again threatening Middle East 
     peace with a series of suicide bombings. The Occupied Land 
     Fund has become the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and 
     Development. That group and the IAP, both now based in 
     Richardson, are under attack for allegedly aiding Hamas.
       Leaders of the local groups denied affiliation with Hamas.
       Sharing a stage with Hamas speakers doesn't mean they 
     approve of Hamas terrorism or provide support for it, they 

[[Page E1082]]

       ``We have never raised money for Hamas or tried to recruit 
     members for Hamas,'' said Shukri Abu Baker, executive 
     director of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and 
       Public records, materials from the two groups and 
     interviews over seven months show a pattern of personal, 
     financial and philosophical ties between Hamas and the two 
     nonprofit groups. For example:
       The Islamic Association for Palestine reprinted the Hamas 
     charter, which calls for killing Jews in jihad, or holy war. 
     The association's Arabic-language publications in the early 
     1990s routinely praised Hamas and its violent opposition to 
     the peace process. The association also published and 
     distributed Hamas communiques on U.S. college campuses.
       Videotapes displaying the logo and phone number of an 
     Islamic Association for Palestine subdivision glorify Hamas 
     attacks on Jewish soldiers and civilians.
       Last month, the Israeli government closed the Jerusalem 
     office of the Holy Land Foundation because of alleged ties to 
     Hamas. Officials also closed the headquarters of an Islamic 
     school partly funded by the Holy Land Foundation and 
     arrested its director for allegedly being a Hamas 
       Mousa Abu Marzook, the political leader of Hamas, provided 
     more than 10 percent of all donations to the Holy Land 
     Foundation in 1992, according to Internal Revenue Service 
     records. Mr. Marzook's wife is a cousin of Ghassan El-Ashi, a 
     Holy Land Foundation board member, and Basman El-Ashi, a 
     former president of the Islamic Association for Palestine.
       The Israeli government alleges that Mr. Marzook is actually 
     the military leader of Hamas and thus is involved in planning 
     and financing the group's terrorist operations. It has filed 
     bank records and confessions from alleged Hamas activities to 
     support the claim.
       Israeli officials allege that Mr. Marzook and Ismail 
     Elbarasse, a former board member of the Islamic Association 
     for Palestine's parent organization, funneled hundreds of 
     thousands of dollars from U.S. banks to fund Hamas terrorism. 
     Mr. Elbarasse and Mr. Marzook are friends and formerly were 
     business partners.
       Hamas--an Arabic acronym for Islamic Resistance Movement--
     was founded near the start of the intifada, a Palestinian 
     uprising against Israeli occupation of the West Bank and 
     Gaza. Hamas' goal is the destruction of Israel and 
     establishment of an Islamic state.
       The government of Israel and the Anti-Defamation League of 
     B'nai B'rith have alleged that the two Richardson-based 
     groups are part of the ``command and control structure'' of 
     Hamas in the United States.

                             charges echoed

       Those charges have been echoed by two pro-Israel members of 
     Congress, former FBI counterterrorism chief Oliver ``Buck'' 
     Revell and in an award-winning and controversial documentary, 
     Jihad in America, produced by journalist Steven Emerson.
       U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., asked the IRS last month to 
     revoke the Holy Land Foundation's tax-exempt status because 
     of what she termed its support for Hamas terrorism.
       Officials of the Islamic Association for Palestine and Holy 
     Land Foundation say they want peace between Israel and the 
     Palestinian people and that they deplore the killing of 
     innocent people.
       They admit sympathy with the Hamas cause of establishing a 
     Palestinian state and share its opposition to the Israeli-PLO 
     peace accord. But they argue that they are being demonized by 
     Zionists to halt aid to and information about Palestinian 
       ``We've been targeted because we are very visible,'' said 
     Mr. Baker, a co-founder of the Holy Land Foundation. ``We are 
     the only one focused on the needs of the Palestinian 
       Ghassan El-Ashi, another Holy Land Foundation co-founder 
     and an incorporator of the Islamic Association for Palestine, 
     branded the accusations ``guilt by association.'' He called 
     materials purporting to show links between the two 
     nonprofit groups and Hamas ``very old and shoddy.''
       Mr. El-Ashi said family ties to Mr. Marzook do not mean 
     they share the same politics. Among Palestinians, he said, 
     members of the same family ware often split among political 

                          records, interviews

       The Dallas Morning News examined court filings, business 
     records and materials produced by the Islamic Association for 
     Palestine and Holy Land Foundation since 1987, when Hamas was 
       The newspaper also interviewed law enforcement officers, 
     Middle Eastern scholars and high-ranking officials of the two 
     nonprofit organizations.
       The examination revealed two close-knit groups that often 
     work together. The Islamic Association for Palestine, which 
     describes itself as an information center, and the Holy Land 
     Foundation, which raises money for Islamic charitable causes, 
     have become prominent in the American Muslim community.
       Islamic Association for Palestine publications state that 
     the group was formed in 1981, six years before Hamas began in 
       Osama Abdul, vice chairman of the association, said the 
     group was started by students at universities around the 
     United States.
       The organization also says that it supplies information 
     about the Palestinian cause by publishing newspapers and 
     sponsoring conferences. The group has a home page on the 
       Al-Zaitonah (The Olive), an Arabic newspaper published by 
     the Islamic Association for Palestine, is considered in 
     Israel to be ``the Hamas paper,'' said Israeli journalist 
     Roni Shaked, author of a 1993 book on Hamas.
       An issue dated March 16, 1995, carried an ad for a book 
     entitled Jews Behind Every Crime and repeated a rhyme about 
     carrying the Palestinian fight from the hotels--that is, 
     diplomatic talks--to the trenches. A 1990 issue of another 
     association publication printed song lyrics praising Hamas as 
     ``the conscience of the country'' and ``iron in the face of 
     the Jews.'' The Islamic Association for Palestine has since 
     ceased to publish the quarterly called Ila Falastin, Arabic 
     for Toward Palestine.
       Cartoons depicted a mosque with its minaret replaced by a 
     Kalashnikov assault rifle and a map of the United States 
     drawn as a target pierced with arrows.
       A Palestinian-American convicted in Israel of aiding Hamas 
     terrorism told police that both Islamic Association for 
     Palestine papers were ``published by Hamas activists.'' Hamas 
     pamphlets are distributed in the occupied territories by 
     enclosing them with Al-Zaitonah, he said.

                              hamas' motto

       The charter of Hamas was printed by the Islamic Association 
     for Palestine, complete with the organization's name and 
     local post office box address. The charter includes Hamas' 
     motto, which lists ``jihad as its methodology and death for 
     the sake of Allah is its most coveted desire.''
       ``There is no solution to the Palestinian Problem except by 
     Jihad,'' the charter says. It refers to jihad as carrying 
     weapons and confronting the enemy, providing equipment to the 
     fighter and looking after his family.
       Mr. Abdul said he did not know that the association had 
     published the Hamas charter. But any Hamas statements 
     published by the association ``were published for information 
     purposes only'' because ``everybody was asking about this 
     organization,'' he said.
       The Islamic Association for Palestine, he said, does not 
     endorse the killing of innocent civilians.
       ``We as IAP, we don't feel happy when someone is killed,'' 
     he said. News of the four suicide bombings that were carried 
     out in Israel between Feb. 25 and March 4, claiming 58 lives, 
     ``worried us because we knew 2 million Palestinians will be 
     punished'' for them.
       But audience members at the December 1989 conference of the 
     Islamic Association for Palestine shouted ``Allahu Akbar'' 
     (``God is great'') when the masked Hamas spokesman talked 
     about an ocean of blood.
       In a videotape of the conference, Yaser Bushnaq, a Dallas 
     resident who was then president of the Islamic Association 
     for Palestine, welcomed participants. A Hamas banner draped a 
     table, from which one speaker after another praised Hamas. 
     The conference was named after Abdulla Azzam, considered a 
     Hamas martyr.
       Ahmed Al Qattan, a militant cleric from Kuwait, said Hamas 
     ``made the Jews shiver in fear.'' He led a chant that said, 
     in part, ``Long live Hamas. . . . Now the stone will be 
     replaced by the Kalashnikov.''
       Mr. Abdul insists that the association was not endorsing 
     Hamas terrorism by organizing the 1989 conference. At that 
     time, ``every Palestinian was emotionally involved with the 
     intifada . . . . If you talked to people about anything else, 
     they would just leave you,'' he said.

                           attack re-enacted

       Mr. Emerson, the documentary producer, supplied another 
     videotape that he described as a Hamas training video. It 
     depicts men with assault rifles re-enacting an attack on a 
     Jewish factory.
       In another scene, rifle bullets spell out ``Hamas'' in 
     Arabic characters. the opening frames carry the logo of Aqsa 
     Vision Audio Visual Production. The association's Richardson 
     telephone number is provided at the end for ordering copies.
       Mr. Abdul called Aqsa Vision ``the sales department of 
     IAP,'' selling items with the association's logo or slogans. 
     He said Aqse Vision ``does not produce any tapes.''
       He called the alleged training video ``a professional cut-
     and-paste job'' by Mr. Emerson, whom he and Muslim leaders 
     around the country have denounced as pro-Zionist.
       Mr. Emerson's 1994 documentary drew national attention to 
     the Islamic Association for Palestine and the Holy Land 
     Foundation. He alleged that the two organizations were part 
     of a radical Islamic network operating within the United 
       The recent bombings by Hamas in Israel have renewed that 
     attention, as has Israel's effort to extradite Mr. Marzook 
     from the United States to put him on trial for terrorism. He 
     remains in jail in New York while the extradition case is 
     being decided.
       Israel says that Mr. Marzook, a former resident of Ruston, 
     La., is actually Hamas' military leader. He has said that he 
     knew nothing of Hamas' military actions and is fighting 
       Thick volumes of records filed by Israel in the case 
     contain extensive statements by Muhammad Salah, a Chicago-
     area used-car dealer who confessed to being a Hamas agent. 
     His statements, made in early 1993, fueled Israeli charges of 
     Hamas activism in the United States.
       Mr. Salah told Israeli investigators that Mr. Marzook sent 
     him and another Hamas leader in London to reorganize Hamas 
     operations and distribute funds to Hamas activists in the 
     Occupied Territories.

[[Page E1083]]

                          confession recanted

       Last year, Mr. Salah was convicted of aiding Hamas 
     terrorism and sentenced to five years in prison. He later 
     recanted his confession, insisting the statements were 
     coerced through abuse and torture.
       Statements by Mr. Salah and other alleged Hamas activists 
     described attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians. They 
     also trace more than $200,000 provided for guns and 
     terrorists action to a U.S. bank account.
       The account, at a bank in McLean, Va., was held jointly by 
     Mr. Marzook and Mr. Elbarasse, a former board member of the 
     American Middle Eastern League for Palestine, an Islamic 
     Association for Palestine parent organization.
       Stanley Cohen, a New York attorney for Mr. Marzook, said it 
     was Mr. Elbarasse who transferred $735,000 to Mr. Salah's 
     Chicago bank account.
       Mr. Salah then had $200,000 transferred to him in Israel, 
     bank records show. When Mr. Salah was arrested, $97,000 in 
     cash was also confiscated.
       Mr. Cohen said the money did not belong to his client. Mr. 
     Marzook did not know it had been sent to Mr. Salah, the 
     attorney said, nor did Mr. Marzook direct how Mr. Salah 
     should spend the funds.
       A man at Mr. Elbarasse's home in Falls Church, Va., hung up 
     the phone when a reporter asked to speak to Mr. Elbarasse.
       Several current and former association officials are 
     helping Mr. Marzook with his legal troubles. Mr. Bushnaq, the 
     former association president, is one of two signatories on 
     the Marzook legal defense fund, Mr. Cohen said.
       Rafiq Jaber and Sabri Ibrahim, current president and vice 
     president, respectively, of the Islamic Association for 
     Palestine, say they also are assisting with Mr. Marzook's 
     defense by circulating petitions and encouraging 
     contributions. Both live in the Chicago area, where the 
     association is planning to move its headquarters.
       Mr. Marzook is also a key link between Hamas and the Holy 
     Land Foundation, one of the largest U.S. fund-raisers for 
     Islamic charitable causes.
       Founded as the Occupied Land Fund in California in 1987, 
     the organization renamed itself and moved to Richardson in 
     1992. Last year the group raised $2.25 million in donations 
     and another $1 million in in-kind contributions, officials 

                              tax returns

       According to Holy Land Foundation tax returns, Mr. Marzook 
     contributed $210,000 in 1992. His personal secretary, Nasser 
     Alkhatib, contributed another $22,450. Total contributions 
     for the year were $2 million.
       Mr. Baker, the foundation's executive director, remembered 
     Mr. Marzook making the contribution after an Islamic 
     conference in Kansas City.
       He cited the donation as proof that there is no secret 
     relationship between Mr. Marzook and the foundation. Mr. 
     Marzook knew his contribution would be reported, Mr. Baker 
       At the time, Mr. Baker said, Mr. Marzook had not stated 
     publicly that he was a leader of Hamas.
       ``We'll take any money if it's legal,'' the Holy Land 
     Foundation director said.
       Mr. Marzook, through his attorney, denied making the 
     contribution. Mr. Cohen said the donation came from Mr. 
       ``I'm saying that transaction was from the joint account 
     and had nothing to do with Mr. Marzook,'' he said. ``I'm 
     sorry. Mousa Marzook did not donate $210,000 to them.''
       Mr. Cohen acknowledged that Mr. Marzook's wife, Nadia, 
     invested $250,000 in 1993 in InfoCom Corp., a Richardson 
     computer company run by her cousin, Bayan El-Ashi. Mr. El-
     Ashi is the brother of Ghassan El-Ashi, the foundation's 
     treasurer and InfoCom's international marketing director.
       Ghassan El-Ashi declined to discuss whether Mrs. Marzook 
     was an investor in InfoCom, and he referred questions to Mr. 
       There is an even stronger link between Hamas and the Holy 
     Land Foundation than Mr. Marzook--one which Mr. Baker and 
     Ghassan El-Ashi readily admit and defend.
       The Holy Land Foundation provides grants to schools, 
     clinics, mosques and other social service organizations in 
     the Middle East and elsewhere to meet Muslim humanitarian 
       Publications say the Holy Land Foundation raises money for 
     widows, orphans, the homeless and ``families of martyrs.'' 
     The group boasts it was the first to aid 413 suspected Hamas 
     activists whom Israel deported to Lebanon in 1992.
       In Gaza and the West Bank, Middle East experts say, Hamas 
     is widely regarded as one of the largest and most efficient 
     providers of social services. The Holy Land Foundation helps 
     supports some of those Hamas institutions.

                             hamas bastion

       The Islamic University of Gaza is listed by the foundation 
     as one recipient. It is known as a Hamas bastion; Mr. Marzook 
     was one of its founders.
       Mr. Baker said the Holy Land Foundation does not care about 
     the political leanings of the people whose programs it funds. 
     ``Our humanitarian work is not colored by political reality 
     in that area,'' he said.
       Mr. Abdul of the Islamic Association for Palestine denied 
     that Hamas operates social service agencies--that is a 
     Zionist mischaracterization, he said.
       Dr. Philip Mattar, executive director of the Institute for 
     Palestine Studies in Washington, said Hamas' social service 
     system is undeniable.
       ``Hamas does run social and health services in the West 
       There's no doubt about it,'' he said. ``Most of their money 
     goes to running those services. But they benefit enormously 
     in that it generates an enormous amount of good will, 
     especially in underdeveloped areas.''
       In many such organizations in the Middle East, accusations 
     of corruption are common. ``You won't find too much 
     corruption among Hamas organizations,'' Dr. Mattar said. 
     ``They are quite puritanical.''
       Another recipient of Holy Land Foundation funds was an 
     Islamic school operated by Jamil Hamami. Mr. Hamami, who has 
     been called a Hamas leader by Israel, has been detained 
     several times. His Faith School is one of the most respected 
     in the West Bank, Mr. Baker said.
       Since the bombings began in March, Israeli authorities have 
     shut down many Muslim charities because of suspected Hamas 
     ties. Among those closed was the Holy Land Foundation's 
     Jerusalem office.
       ``Yes, that was because they are claiming we have Hamas 
     ties,'' Mr. Baker said. He called Israel's action ``a 
     political move'' that the foundation is challenging in 
     Israeli court.
       Ms. Lowey, the congresswoman who is seeking to revoke the 
     foundation's tax-exempt status, contended that the Holy Land 
     Foundation's aid to Hamas-run charities and deportees is 
     proof of the foundation's support for terrorism.
       ``If you're raising money for Hamas activists, you're 
     raising money for Hamas,'' she said in a statement.

                            money not traced

       Vince Cannistraro, a former CIA counterterrorism chief, 
     said U.S. officials have not been able to trace money raised 
     by Muslim charities in the United States to Middle East 
     terrorism. But he said contributions to the Hamas social 
     service network can benefit its military operations.
       ``You can give money to a specific hospital in Gaza, for 
     example, and that money will go there,'' he said. ``And if 
     that money is controlled by Hamas, that frees up money that 
     can go for bad things.''
       Mr. Baker said the Holy Land Foundation is considering a 
     fund-raising campaign to rebuild houses for families of 
     suicide bombers. The Israeli government has demolished more 
     than 100 such homes, he said.
       The demolitions are against international law because they 
     are ``collective punishment'' aimed at a large group of 
     people rather than at specific individuals convicted of 
     crimes, he said.
       ``My obligation as a humanitarian is to go there and 
     rebuild those houses,'' he said. ``I don't want the rest of 
     the children to go and blow themselves up because they see 
     the world is full of injustice.''
       Mr. Baker, who has spent half his life in the West and 
     whose mother is Christian, said he believes Israel has a 
     right to exist.
       He said Israel's Zionist government should put aside its 
     bigotry and permit Palestinians to have a country, too.
       ``A lot of good Jews are doing wonderful things in this 
     country and everywhere. They do not deserve my anger or 
     hate,'' he said. ``A lot of bad Muslims are doing bad things. 
     They deserve my frustration.
       ``But if you want to . . . base all your positions and 
     attitudes in this life on religion or ethnicity or political 
     backgrounds, you're doomed to be a failure.''