Former Employee of Hamas-Linked Charity Indicted in Michigan on Terror-Related Charges
Updated: October 19, 2010
Posted: February 5, 2010
A Detroit resident has pleaded guilty to lying to federal authorities about his involvement with an American-based Muslim charity shut down by the government for funneling money to Hamas.
On October 14, 2010, Mohamad Mustapha Ali Masfaka, 47, pleaded guilty to attempted naturalization fraud, making false statements to federal authorities and perjury for lying about his affiliation with the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), a Muslim charity shut down in December 2001 for providing material and logistical support to Hamas. The indictment against Masfaka was unsealed in a Michigan federal court on January 22, 2010, one day after he was arrested as he attempted to enter the U.S. from Canada. Masfaka faces a maximum sentence of 23 years in prison.
The indictment alleges that Masfaka, a U.S. permanent resident from Syria, ran the Detroit-based operations for HLF from his home and organized the group's fundraising events in 1997 and 1998. According to the Department of Justice, HLF, which was once considered the largest Muslim charity in the U.S., supported Hamas in its goal of "creating an Islamic Palestinian state by eliminating the State of Israel through violent jihad."
According to the indictment, Masfaka failed to disclose his involvement with HLF in his application to become a naturalized U.S. citizen and in subsequent interviews with immigration authorities. He also allegedly lied to federal agents about the nature of his affiliation with HLF and explained that he worked for the charity as an uncompensated singer at fundraising events. Federal authorities, however, have alleged that Masfaka was HLF's Detroit representative and that he received at least five payroll checks from HLF totaling approximately $5,000.
Federal agents have further alleged that Masfaka praised Hamas in songs he sang at HLF fundraisers. In one instance, Masfaka sang, "One thousand salutes, one thousand salutes to Palestine and the recruits of Hamas." In another duet with a child, Masfaka asked Allah to "smash these filthy ones. With the knife and the dagger and with your stones and the axe," while the child sang, "I am leaving; pray for me; Hamas is calling me."