- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 1, 2003

A leading U.S. Muslim activist charged with violating sanctions against Libya sought to smuggle $340,000 to “one of more” terrorist organizations operating out of Syria, including al Qaeda, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, according to court records.

Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi, founding member of the American Muslim Council and the American Muslim Foundation, attempted to deliver the cash — 34 bundles of sequentially numbered $100 bills — one day after leaving Libya, but was stopped by British customs agents Aug. 16 in London before boarding a flight to Damascus, Syria.

An affidavit filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent Brett Gentrup said the money “was intended for delivery in Damascus to one or more of the terrorists or terrorist organizations active in Syria.”

The affidavit, filed in support of a government motion to deny bail to Mr. al-Amoudi, said the Muslim leader was “engaged in financial transactions” with Libya, which the document described as “one of the seven state sponsors of terrorism.”

U.S. Magistrate Theresa Buchanan ordered Mr. al-Amoudi held until trial.

Mr. al-Amoudi, 51, of Falls Church, was arrested Sunday by ICE and FBI agents at Washington Dulles International Airport shortly after arriving in the United States on a flight from London. He was accused of visiting Libya in violation of government-ordered sanctions and of illegally accepting $10,700 from the Libyan Mission to the United Nations.

The affidavit said Mr. al-Amoudi told British authorities he hoped to use the $340,000 for the American Muslim Foundation and he intended to deposit the cash at banks in Saudi Arabia “from which he would feed it back in smaller sums into accounts in the United States.”

But Mr. Gentrup said federal investigators did not believe the money was intended for the foundation, noting that the Libyan government has used couriers for the past several years to deliver cash to support terrorist organizations.

The affidavit also said Mr. al-Amoudi, in a speech at a Muslim conference in Beirut in 2001, described as “wrong” the August 1998 simultaneous bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 persons, including 12 Americans, because the blasts killed and injured Africans, including Muslims.

A transcript of the speech, according to the affidavit, said Mr. al-Amoudi said he would “prefer to hit a Zionist target in America or Europe or elsewhere but not like what happened at the embassy in Kenya.”

During the speech, he complained that Africans had died in the Kenya attack “but not a single American,” the affidavit said.

The affidavit also said Mr. al-Amoudi obtained the power of attorney for family members of 22 persons apprehended in Afghanistan and being detained at the U.S. naval base prison for al Qaeda and Taliban suspects in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

It said the documents authorized “a particular attorney” in Saudi Arabia or Yemen to act on behalf of the family members.

Mr. al-Amoudi was the chief architect of the military’s Muslim cleric training and selection program.

Meanwhile, a Senate subcommittee will begin hearings this month to determine if Islamic radicals have infiltrated the U.S. military and other key institutions, including the federal prison system, to recruit disaffected Americans as anti-U.S. warriors.

The hearings, set to begin Oct. 14, were called by Sen. Jon Kyl in response to the arrest of three current and former U.S. servicemen in an expanding spy probe at Guantanamo Bay. He said the arrests “only underscore the need for our government to give a hard, close look at its policies in regard to the selection of clerics and translators.”

The three are Ahmed Fathy Mehalba, an ex-U.S. Army soldier contracted by the military as an Arabic-language translator; Capt. James Yee, an Islamic chaplain in the U.S. Army; and Senior Air Force Airman Ahmad al-Halabi.

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