- Now-defunct Illinois-based front group for the terrorist organization Hamas
Established in 1981 and defunct since 2004, the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) identified itself as “a not-for-profit, public-awareness, educational, political, social, and civic, national grassroots organization dedicated to advancing a just, comprehensive, and eternal solution to the cause of Palestine and suffrages [sic] of the Palestinians.” The organization sought to advance this goal by producing what it characterized as factual articles on issues that the “Zionist-controlled” Western media allegedly failed to report.
Court documents show that IAP was created by a (now defunct) network called the “Palestine Committee,” which was established by the Muslim Brotherhood to advance Hamas’s political and financial agendas in the United States. IAP, in turn, served as a “media entity” for Hamas.
IAP was named in a May 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document — titled “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America” — as one of the Brotherhood’s 29 likeminded “organizations of our friends” that shared the common goal of destroying America and turning it into a Muslim nation. These “friends” were identified by the Brotherhood as groups that could help teach Muslims “that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands … so that … God’s religion [Islam] is made victorious over all other religions.”
Also named in the Muslim Brotherhood document were:
- Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers
- Association of Muslim Social Scientists (of North America)
- Audio-Visual Center
- Baitul Mal Inc.
- Foundation for International Development
- International Institute of Islamic Thought
- Islamic Association for Palestine
- Islamic Book Service
- Islamic Centers Division
- Islamic Circle of North America
- Islamic Education Department
- Islamic Housing Cooperative
- Islamic Information Center (of America)
- Islamic Medical Association (of North America)
- Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
- Islamic Teaching Center
- ISNA Fiqh Committee (now known as the Fiqh Council of North America)
- ISNA Political Awareness Committee
- Malaysian Islamic Study Group
- Mercy International Association
- Muslim Arab Youth Association
- Muslim Businessmen Association
- Muslim Communities Association
- Muslim Students Association of the U.S. and Canada
- Muslim Youth of North America
- North American Islamic Trust
- Occupied Land Fund (later known as the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development)
- United Association for Studies and Research
IAP was the parent organization of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which was co-founded in 1994 by Nihad Awad (IAP’s President), and Omar Ahmad (IAP’s Public Relations Director), and Ibrahim Hooper.
According to an August 14, 2001 Immigration and Naturalization Services report, IAP’s work consisted of “publishing and distributing HAMAS communiqués printed on IAP letterhead, as well as other written documentation to include the HAMAS charter and glory records [a list of terrorist attacks that HAMAS had carried out against Israeli civilians], which are tributes to HAMAS’ violent ‘successes.’” The same report also stated that IAP had received “approximately $490,000 from [Mousa Abu] Marzook during the period in which Marzook held his admitted role as a HAMAS leader.”
Terrorism expert Steven Emerson characterized IAP as Hamas’ “primary voice in the United States.” The former chief of the FBI’s counter-terrorism department, Oliver Revell, called IAP “a front organization for Hamas that engages in propaganda for Islamic militants.”
In December 2004, a federal judge in Chicago ruled that IAP (along with the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, or HLF), was liable for a $156 million lawsuit for having aided and abetted Hamas in the West Bank killing of a 17-year-old American citizen named David Boim. IAP thereafter had its assets frozen by the U.S. government and was shut down on grounds that it was funding terrorism.
IAP’s worldview and politics were reflected in the attitudes and activities of its founders and leaders, among whom were the following individuals:
- Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook: This IAP founder also established the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, whose assets were blocked by the U.S. government in 2001 because it was funding Hamas. In addition, Marzook is the founding President of the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), a prominent Islamist think tank with close ties to Hamas. In 1997 Marzook was extradited by the United States to Jordan. From there he went to Syria, where he currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Hamas’ Political Bureau.
- Sami Al-Arian was an IAP co-founder who would later go on to become a leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s North American operations.
- Sufian An-Nabhan was a Michigan-based Board member of IAP. In November 2002 he admitted to having personally sent money to the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development.
- Rafeeq Jaber served as IAP President. He was also a co-founder of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee‘s Chicago chapter, a founder of CAIR’s national office, and a Board member of the Bridgeview, Illinois Mosque Foundation.
- Emad Sarsour was a Wisconsin-based Board member of IAP. In 1993 he co-founded the Al Aqsa Educational Fund, a fundraising “charity” for Hamas, with Abdelhaleem Hasan Abdelraziq Ashqar. In a 2002 court ruling, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler labeled Ashqar “a senior Hamas activist.” In October 2003, Ashqar was indicted for refusing to testify before a Chicago grand jury investigating Hamas fundraising.
- Raeed N. Tayeh was a member of the IAP’s Executive Board. He was also a research fellow for the aforementioned United Association for Studies and Research. Tayeh called Yasser Arafat “an honorable Palestinian leader”; called Ariel Sharon “an irresponsible terrorist, murderer and war criminal”; and excused suicide bombings by saying, “The young Palestinians who commit crimes by exploding themselves, in some way, may have been affected by Israeli crimes.”
In the summer 2007 Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) trial (which looked into evidence of HLF’s fundraising on behalf of Hamas), the U.S. government released a list of approximately 300 of HLF’s “unindicted co-conspirators”.pdf+%22holy+land+foundation%22+and+list+of+%22unindicted+co-conspirators%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2&gl=us) and “joint venturers.” Among the unindicted co-conspirators were groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Hamas, INFOCOM, the Islamic Association for Palestine, the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim Arab Youth Association, the North American Islamic Trust, and the United Association for Studies and Research. The list also included many individuals affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and/or Hamas. Among these were Omar Ahmad, Abdurahman Alamoudi, Yousef al-Qaradawi, Abdallah Azzam, Jamal Badawi, Mohammad Jaghlit, Mousa Abu Marzook, Abdel Aziz Rantisi, and Ahmed Yassin.