- Self-described “humanitarian relief organization” created to help needy Muslims worldwide
- Was raided and shut down by U.S. government in December 2001 for funding terrorism, particularly al Qaeda
The Global Relief Foundation (GRF), also known as Fondation Secours Mondial, was established in 1992 in Palos Hills, Illinois, as a “humanitarian relief organization” to help needy Muslims worldwide. Its co-founders were Rabih Haddad and Mohamad Chehade. The organization also had international offices that were used to transfer finances, medical equipment, and other supplies.
On December 14, 2001, GRF was raided and shut down by the United States government because of funding it allegedly had given to terrorist organizations. A Treasury Department statement asserted: “The Global Relief Foundation has connections to, has provided support for, and has provided assistance to Usama Bin Ladin, the al Qaeda Network, and other known terrorist groups.”
GRF co-founder Rabih Haddad, who himself had ties to bin Laden’s mentor Abdallah Azzam, was taken into custody and was later deported to Lebanon. Haddad, who served as GRF’s President throughout the 1990s and into the year 2000, worked for Makhtab al-Khidamat, the precursor organization to al Qaeda, in Pakistan in the early 1990s.
According to the U.S. Treasury Department, GRF also had financial dealings with Mohammed Galeb Kalaje Zouaydi, a suspected financier of al Qaeda’s worldwide terrorist operations; GRF personnel had multiple contacts with Wadih El-Hage, bin Laden’s personal secretary who was convicted in a U.S. district court in May 2001 for his role in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; GRF dealt with officials of the Taliban, which provided a safe haven and base of operations for al Qaeda; GRF stocked and promoted pro-jihad audio tapes and books authored by Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, who was a spiritual founder of Hamas and co-founded (with bin Laden) Makhtab al-Khidamat; GRF published several Arabic newsletters and pamphlets that advocated armed action through jihad against groups perceived to be un-Islamic; a GRF newsletter requested donations “for equipping the raiders, for the purchase of ammunition and food, and for their [the Mujahideen’s] transportation so that they can raise God the Almighty’s word”; and in 2000 GRF received $18,521 from the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, a Texas-based Islamic charity that the U.S. government would designate as a terrorist organization on December 4, 2001.