IPT's Ray Locker on Fox News discussing questions surrounding the Ground Zero Mosque's financing
Interview on Fox News
September 4, 2010
Multimedia for this item
Clayton Morris: Welcome back to Fox and Friends on this Saturday morning. Well the developer of the Ground Zero mosque had promised that he would not take money from sketchy sources, remember this.
Sharif El-Gamal: We will not take money from Iran, we will not take money from Hamas, we will not take money from organizations that have un-American values.
Ainsley Earhardt: Interesting because in 1999 a key financial backer of the mosque reportedly donated at least $6,000 to a so-called charity which was linked to Hamas. The money man was Hisham Elzanaty who is an Egyptian-born businessman who's contributed to what's described as a significant, or was described as a significant investment to the Ground Zero Mosque. And we are joined now by Ray Locker of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. Thank you so much for being with us. Do you think at the time of this donation he knew that they were linked to Hamas?
Locker: Oh probably not, I mean there was plenty of evidence out there for people who wanted to find it, but in many cases, people didn't want to find it, and he probably didn't think about it, and thought he was giving it to an orphanage. When they were prosecuted or shut down by the government a few years later, the Attorney General John Ashcroft said that they had duped a lot of people.
Morris: Right so they did dupe a lot of people, but it raises larger questions though, doesn't it Ray, about this guy Sharif El-Gamal and some of the shady dealings in – first of all we know that he's had seven run ins with authorities, he's been charged with soliciting prostitutes at certain points in his life, there are some really serious questions about this guy's past. And he won't talk to Fox. He's being completely mum about it. What have you been able to find?
Locker: Well not so much about El-Gamal, I mean we found that he has had these legal problems, as have most of the people in New York media found that, and his inability to kind of come clean about where they're going to get their money is troubling. You know, that's been an ongoing theme throughout this situation.
Earhardt: You know let's say he didn't know that he was giving money to this group that was linked to Hamas, is this still grounds to say we don't want a mosque built near 9/11 or near the Ground Zero site?
Locker Well it certainly doesn't help the pro-mosque people, I mean this is just another thing that makes people wonder where the money is going to come from, wonder about the propriety of the project, you know, all of this is kind of accumulating, and it just doesn't, you know, help the people who want to build the mosque.
Morris: We're still trying to figure out where more of this money came from and they have not been forthcoming about some of these donors, some of these investors, El-Gamal has said they are going to be completely transparent about this entire process but that hasn't been the case. Are we likely to uncover more of these shady business dealings?
Locker: Well it's possible we don't know who all of his investors are and it's very possible that if you find another person like Elzanaty whose given money to a charity, there are going to be more problems.
Earhardt: How did all of this come out – how did we investigate and find this information out?
Ray Locker: Well we worked with Charles Leaf, the Fox reporter that you had on earlier, and we had the documents from the Holy Land Foundation trial in our system and we found El-Zanaty's contribution that way.
Earhardt: Well Charles even said, he's talked to some of the investigators, and he said back in the '90's it was pretty much known by all who were involved with that group, that they were linked to Hamas. It wasn't proven until the late '90's though.
Locker: Well that's true, Steven Emerson, our group's founder did a documentary that ran on PBS in late '94, that highlighted the concerns about the Holy Land Foundation, and that was a widely seen documentary, it was a Polk award-winning documentary, so people knew about it, and the Dallas Morning News did a lot of significant reporting on that issue throughout the '90's. So it wasn't something that was hidden from public view.
Morris: Well Ray Locker we appreciate you joining us this morning and staying on top of this story.
Locker: Thank you very much.
Morris: Thanks Ray.
Earhardt: Definitely Interesting findings.
Morris: Yeah, absolutely.
Earhardt: Very suspicious.
Morris: Will there be more to come out?
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