Hazem Ragab was a co-founder and treasurer of the Global Relief Foundation (GRF), a charity which the U.S. government shut down in December 2001 because of its ties to terrorism.
Prior to his work with GRF, Ragab worked as a translator of published books whose contents were, in numerous cases, replete with anti-Semitic, anti-“infidel” rhetoric. One such book was Isma’il Nawahidhah’s The Obligation of Supporting the Muslims of Palestine, which says:
“They [Palestinians] were tested by the worst and most evil of creatures [Jews] who neither respect kinship nor covenants and who seek honour and might; but they will never attain this because they are a people who drew on themselves the wrath of Allah, and whom Allah humiliated and put over them ignominy and destruction…. It is a great sin to allow even a hand-span of the Muslims’ land to be occupied by the enemies of Islam…. This being the case, then how great a sin is it that the entire land of Palestine is occupied?… Palestine and Al-Aqsa will be recaptured only when the Ummah [Islamic community] stops abandoning their clear obligations, when they finally accept what was dictated by the divine law — that all of Palestine belongs to the Muslims. Palestine will continue to be the land of Jihad.”
Ragab also translated the book Disbelievers: Their Characteristics and Status in the Hereafter, which contains this passage:
“The Kaafir [non-Muslim] lies when he speaks and he is arrogant and self-deluded…. He is so shamelessly envious [of Muslims] that he would strive to mislead you so that you will be assembled with him in the Hell-Fire…. Fellow Muslims! Following the Kaafir is disgraceful, while disobeying them is might…. He [the Kaafir] lives in ignorance, lustful desires and errors;… Satan pushes him to commit sins… his deeds then become useless in this world and the next. His Lord does not love Him and tells that He is an enemy of the disbeliever…. The Kaafir is the worst of Allah’s creatures… When a Kaafir dies, the whole of humanity are relieved…. The _K_aafir’s grave will be carpeted with fire and he will have a continuous torment…. Therefore differ from idolaters and disbelievers in their behaviour and opinions, and beware of taking them as friends. You should hate them, disown them and their religion, and be proud of your religion.”
In the 1990s Ragab resided for some time in Arlington, Texas. The local Center Street Mosque, where he worshipped and raised funds for the GRF, were both linked to al Qaeda.
In early 2000, Ragab was approached by FBI agents seeking to question him about his connections to figures associated with Osama bin Laden at the Center Street Mosque, and about his fundraising activities on behalf of the GRF. Rather than tell the FBI what he knew, Ragab elected to flee the United States and took up residence in an undisclosed location somewhere in the Middle East.
In a 2004 lawsuit initiated by the families of those who had been killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Ragab, because of his high-ranking position with the GRF (which had funneled large sums of money to al Qaeda), was listed as a co-conspirator who had helped bring about those deadly attacks. Ragab’s defense attorney was Stanley Cohen, who described his client as an “extremely serious, religious man” who believed very strongly in the Muslim duty of charity—“to be generous with your work, life, money and skills.”