Friday, January 22, 2010

Holy Land Indictment in Dearborn

Stay tuned on this one.

Dearborn man indicted in case linked to terror support group Holy Land

The Detroit News

Detroit -- Federal prosecutors today unsealed a 2008 indictment against a Dearborn man accused of working for the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, a charity designated as a bankroller of terrorism by the U.S. government in 2001.

Syrian-born Mohamad Mustapha Ali Masfaka, 47, also known as Abu Ratib, is charged with making false statements to the FBI, making false statements in his application for U.S. citizenship and attempting to unlawfully obtain U.S. citizenship.

Masfaka, who was arrested when he crossed the Ambassador Bridge to Detroit from Windsor on Thursday, appeared in U.S. District Court today and was ordered held pending a detention hearing Monday. He appeared without a lawyer but said he planned to hire one.

The indictment alleges Masfaka worked for the Holy Land Foundation in 1997 and 1998, acting as the organization's Detroit-area representative, and cashed checks from the group totaling about $5,000.

Masfaka was interviewed by the FBI at his Dearborn home in 2003, when he allegedly said he worked for the Holy Land Foundation for eight months in 1997 and 1998, but only as a singer in a band that worked fund-raising events for the Holy Land Foundation, the indictment alleges.

Masfaka, who could not be reached for comment today, "also falsely told FBI agents that he never received payment directly" from the foundation, the indictment alleges.

He also made false statements in 2003 and 2004 when he was seeking citizenship, the indictment alleges.

The government alleges the Holy Land Foundation provided millions of dollars in material and logistical support to the Palestinian group Hamas, a designated terrorist organization since 1995.

The Holy Land Foundation and some of its officers were indicted by a federal grand jury in Texas in 2004 on charges that included providing material support to terrorists. That case resulted in a mistrial, but a retrial in 2008 brought convictions and a finding that the organization was a Hamas front.

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