Samir Salah, along with Yacub Mirza and
Jamal Barzinji, is a central figure in a group of Muslim businessmen and
philanthropists whose organizations were raided in 2002 by Operation Greenquest, the
largest federal terror financing investigation in U.S. history. Salah also set up a
bank whose assets were later frozen because of terror funding.
Salah founded Dar al-Hijra, a Virginia mosque that is known for its radical Wahhabi preaching and was visited by two 9/11 hijackers. He also helped set up and manage a branch of a bank, al Taqwa, that the U.S. froze shortly after 9/11 for funding terrorists, and he helped found the Safa Trust, a major target of a federal raid on suspected terror financiers. Safa Trust was the successor of the Saudi-funded SAAR Foundation.
Investigators in the U.S. and Europe claim that SAAR funds wound up in the hands of two Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs), Youssef Nada and Ahmed Idris Nasreddin, through two SDGT banks, Bank al Taqwa and Akida Bank Private Ltd. Bank al Taqwa acted as a vast Hawala network, an Islamic sort of Western Union where people can deposit money to be forwarded to other members around the world. One official said, “Looking at their finances is like looking into a black hole.” [Is this official referring to SAAR or SAFA here, or both? Would be good to clarify] In March 2002, U.S. authorities raided over 15 Safa-related homes and businesses as part of Operation Greenquest, but few indictments have resulted.
Salah is the former director of Taibah International Aid Association, whose Bosnian branch is designated SDGT for its links to another SDGT, Global Relief Foundation. A former Taibah employee is also on the list of designated terrorists. Two other directors of Taibah merit a mention. Abdurrahman Alamoudi, who was also an assistant to the president of SAAR, is now serving 23 years in prison for terrorist funding and involvement in a Libyan plot to assassinate the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Before heading to prison, Alamoudi appeared at a prayer service with President Bush three days after 9/11, gave seed money (which was later returned) to GOP power broker Grover Norquist’s Islamic Institute, and did consulting for the Pentagon. He also declared his support for Hezbollah and Hamas right in front of the White House, and the U.S. Treasury says he directed $1 million to a group in the United Kingdom that provided material support to Al Qaeda.
Former Taibah director Yacub Mirza acted on behalf of SDGT Yassin Al-Qadi at Ptech, a software company that installed powerful enterprise software on computers at many government agencies, including the Pentagon and the White House. Ptech was raided in 2002 as part of Operation Greenquest. Mirza—and Abdurahman Alamoudi—had connections to GOP power broker Grover Norquist. In an effort to lead American Muslims into the GOP base, Norquist accepted donations from several companies that would later be raided, and he led at least two men through the doors of the White House who would later be convicted on terror charges: Alamoudi and Sami al-Arian.
Taibah is part the “Safa Group,” an affiliation of dozens of companies and charities based at 555 Grove Street in Herndon, Virginia, that was accused in the affidavit behind the Operation Greenquest raids of maintaining a complex network of financial transactions that allowed millions in profits and donations to end up in the hands of two terrorist organizations, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad-Shikaki. Mirza is an officer or director at most of these organizations, although he has never been charged with a crime.
As of August 2006, Samir Salah was one of six trustees in charge of managing the Amana Mutual Funds Trust. Former Amana trustees include Yacub Mirza and Jamal Barzinji, who was also a director at most of the “Safa Group” entities and also worked with SDGT Youssef Nada, who founded Bank al Taqwa. Amana’s current independent board chairman, Talat Othman, gave a benediction at the 2000 GOP convention, and when Abdullah Taha Bakhsh bought stock in George W. Bush’s Harken Energy back in the early 1990s, Bakhsh handpicked Othman to sit on Harken’s board. Bakhsh is a former associate of Ghaith Pharoan, who is fugitive in a case regarding the collapse of BCCI, the largest bank fraud in world history. Bakhsh was also close with James Bath, George W. Bush’s buddy from his days of National Guard service, and it was this relationship that led a federal financial crime unit to investigate in 1992 whether Bath was allowing Saudi wealth to influence U.S. policy. In the months leading up to the 1991 invasion of Iraq, Bakhsh associate Talat Othman met several times with President George H.W. Bush and National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft. Othman was also the founding chairman of Grover Norquist’s Islamic Institute, which accepted and then returned a donation from Alamoudi.
During a bureaucratic turf battle shortly after the 2002 raids of the “Safa Group” and Ptech, the FBI absorbed all terror financing investigations from the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In May 2003, Operation Greenquest was dissolved. As of August 2007, a federal grand jury in northern Virginia was still looking into the terror financing accusations.
Samir Salah and Talat Othman still sit on the board of trustees at Amana Mutual Funds.
- http://www.siteinstitute.org/bin/articles.cgi?ID=inthenews402&Category=inthenews &Subcategory=0
- “Hub Islamic leader's radical links run deep,” Boston Herald SPECIAL REPORT; [All Editions] JONATHAN WELLS and KEVIN WISNIEWSKI. Jan 14, 2004. pg. 001
- “Report Links Charity to an Al Qaeda Front,” The Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2002, Glenn R. Simpson
- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/10/AR2006101001234_pf.h tml
- http://herndonweb.com/community/herndontalk/messages001001/4537.html, “U.S. Trails Va. Muslim Money, Ties”