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US Muslim charity head arrested

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    Assalamu alaikum, US Muslim charity head arrested http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/americas/newsid_1960000/1960650.stm The head of a Muslim charity in
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2002
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      Assalamu'alaikum,

      US Muslim charity head arrested

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/americas/newsid_1960000/1960650.stm

      The head of a Muslim charity in the United States has been charged with
      perjury after he denied his organisation supported groups engaged in
      terrorism.
      The FBI filed an affidavit with the complaint, saying that Enaam M
      Arnaout, the executive director of the Benevolence International
      Foundation, had close connections with Osama Bin Laden "and many of his
      key associates dating back more than a decade."

      Mr Arnaout, a 39-year-old Syrian-born US citizen, was arrested on Tuesday
      morning on two counts of perjury and will be held until a hearing next
      week.

      US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said: "The complaint alleges Benevolence
      International Foundation was supporting violence secretly."

      Federal agents raided the charity, based in the Palos Hills suburb of
      Chicago, on 14 December.

      Its assets were frozen following the 11 September attacks, but the
      organisation sued the federal government, saying it had nothing to do with
      terrorism.

      "I am confident that Mr Arnaout is not engaged in terrorist activities,
      nor has he supported such activities knowingly or directly," his lawyer
      Stephen Levy told the Associated Press when he was charged.

      He said his client would be "more than helpful" if granted immunity from
      prosecution.

      Accusations

      According to the FBI affidavit, the organisation was established by Adil
      Abdul Galil Betargy, a wealthy Saudi sheikh who is an associate of Bin
      Laden, according to documents seized in Bosnia.

      It also alleges that the foundation sponsored Mamdouh Salim, an associate
      of Bin Laden, for a trip to Bosnia.

      Mr Salim once attempted to get nuclear and chemical weapons for al-Qaeda,
      according to the affidavit.

      The US Government says its informants have told it that Mr Arnaout also
      handled money for Bin Laden.

      Mr Arnaout is also said to have allowed one of Bin Laden's wives stay at
      his apartment in Pakistan, which the government says proves that Bin Laden
      trusted him.

      Benevolence International describes itself in its brochures as a
      humanitarian organisation dedicated to helping victims of wars and natural
      disasters in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

      Tax documents suggest it received $3.3m in contributions for the year
      ending April 2000.

      It is one of two Islamic Chicago-based charities whose assets were frozen.

      The chairman of the other charity, Global Relief Foundation, was detained
      for alleged immigration violations.


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