On Friday, Mubarak Hamed, the former director of the now defunct Islamic American Relief Agency-USA (IARA) based in Columbia, Missouri, pled guilty to three counts of a federal indictment charging that he illegally sent more than a million dollars to Iraq in violation of U.S. sanctions, conspiracy, and tax violations. Federal agents raided IARA's offices in 2004, seized its assets, and said it was part of a global network of similar Islamic charities that supported terrorist organizations. As part of his plea agreement, Hamed admitted the U.S.-based charity was part of this international network, with the IARA branch based in Khartoum, Sudan.
Five defendants were originally indicted in the IARA-USA case and three have now pled guilty. The remaining two, Abdel Azim El-Siddig and former Congressman Mark Deli Siljander, are expected to go to trial. It is not clear from Hamed's plea agreement if he will cooperate with the prosecution against the remaining defendants, but during Hamed's plea hearing an Assistant U.S. Attorney noted that Hamed might provide assistance to the government in "further proceedings."
IARA, and other similar Muslim "charities" that have proven to be support fronts for terrorists, are not without their supporters within the American Muslim community. The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) has steadfastly expressed support for IARA and condemned the government's investigation and prosecution efforts against it and similar charities, even though such law enforcement efforts have proven the true nature of the so called "charities."
Nor is the reach of IARA limited to Missouri and the hinterlands of Sudan and Iraq. A former Imam of the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in northern Virginia, Mohammed Adam El-Sheikh, was the ex-regional IARA director in Baltimore. This latest conviction and Hamed's admission that IARA-USA was part of the international terrorist support network only further solidifies the radical Islamist linkage to other entities such as Dar al-Hijrah and demonstrates the subversive threat posed to the United States.