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The following Dec. 3, 2004, WorldNetDaily story was retracted on June 9, 2005:

College concert for terror-supporting charity

Nova Southeastern University hosts fund-raiser for group with jihad ties

Posted: December 3, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Aaron Klein
© 2004

Nova Southeastern University is hosting a fundraising concert tomorrow for an Islamic charity that has reportedly been under investigation for accepting a contribution from a front group for Al-Qaida and is connected to several organizations that support terrorism.

Pending performers include a vocal supporter of the terrorist group Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

The Islamic Relief, in conjunction with the Medina Foundation/Islamic Foundation of Central Florida, is holding the concert to benefit "Islamic Relief orphans" at NSU's Rose and Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Guests are invited to enjoy "an evening filled with Hamd (praise) and Dhikr (remembrance) of Allah Most High, His Last Messenger (peace be upon him), and His Deen (Islam). Among the most popular and loved artists from the UK and U.S. will be here in South Florida for the first time ever."

The Islamic Relief, headquartered in Burbank, Calif., has come under repeated fire in the U.S. and Britain.

In her book "Invasion," syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin reports the Islamic Relief accepted $50,000 from an alleged bin Laden front-group at its UK office.

"Data from the United States Department of Labor reveals that four Muslim charities under federal investigation for ties to terrorism applied for high tech, or H1-B visas, on behalf of at least sixteen workers over the past years. Three of the charities ... had their assets frozen by the Treasury Department after the September 11 attacks. The fourth, Islamic Relief Worldwide in Burbank, California, accepted $50,000 from an alleged bin Laden front group at its British office, according to Treasury officials," wrote Malkin.

The military journal Jane's Intelligence Review states: "At the height of the foreign Arab and Muslim influx into Pakistan-Afghanistan from 1984-1986, bin Laden spent time traveling widely and raising funds in the Arab world ... The banks channeled funds to 20 non-governmental organizations, the most famous of which was the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO). Both IIRO and the Islamic Relief Agency functioned under the umbrella of the World Islamic League."

An Islamic Relief founder, Hanni Al Banna, is also a trustee and fundraiser for Muslim Aid, a charity created in London by singer Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, which according to Spanish police used funds to send mujahadeen fighters to Bosnia and has held events at which speakers have boasted of supporting al-Qaida terror activities. Stevens has been subsequently banned from entering the U.S.

The Islamic Relief last month held a fundraiser at Britain's Birmingham Central Mosque, which the FBI has said is a central location for jihad recruitment in the UK. Al-Muhajiroun, an Islamic fundamentalist organization, has held regular meetings at the mosque at which leaflets have been distributed urging congregants to fight in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Israel and Iraq. Two British men who carried out a suicide bombing at Mike's Place pizza shop in Tel Aviv in 2003 were reportedly recruited at the mosque.

The Islamic Relief has also been connected to the International Solidarity Movement, an organization outlawed in Israel that calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, held activities in which several men who later became suicide bombers participated, and has been caught harboring known terrorists in its Mideast office – including members of Islamic Jihad.

Thom Saffold, a leader of the International Solidarity Movement, recently made a public pledge for his supporters to donate to the Islamic Relief.

"Below are three ways by which you can help [the suffering Palestinians.] ... The first is a way as to how you can directly serve as a human shield for the Palestinians against the racist Zionists ... The second way is to make a direct donation to Islamic Relief ... The third way is to join the increasing number of demonstrations underway in the U.S. and the world against the Zionist aggression," wrote Saffold in an open letter.

Saffold urged his supporters to send money to Islamic Relief's Burbank office.

Although Saturday's concert is billed as an event to "raise money for orphans," Islamic Relief on its website defines "orphans" as "children whose fathers have died or have been killed. Their mother, a relative or a recognized institution cares for most orphans." This allows the group to raise money for families of suicide bombers and mujaheeden fighters, says Beila Rabinowitz of Militant Islam Monitor.

"It's the old 'orphans' ploy. They use the codeword 'orphan' to stave off any scrutiny or accusations of terrorist fund-raising, and to hide that they are raising money for families of suicide bombers and mujahedeen. It is a travesty of the war on terror that Nova Southeastern is allowing its theater to be used by Islamic Relief to raise money for fictitious 'orphans,'" said Rabinowitz.

For the majority of "orphans" from Bosnia featured on the group's website, for example, only the date in which the father was killed is listed. In many cases the date is within months of the listed birthday of the child in question.

Fauzia Mohamed, one of the event coordinators, told WorldNetDaily: "We don't know who the orphans are. I am telling you they are orphans."

Performers at Saturday's concert include Muslim singers Native Deen, Qari Abdul Jaleel, Qari Asif and Shaam. According to Jaleel's personal website, singer Abu Ratib may also perform with him. Ratib is a vocal supporter of the terrorist organization Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which has perpetrated many suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. Ratib regularly performs wearing an Al Aqsa scarf, considered in the Islamic world to be a statement of support for the terror group. Ratib's website features several pictures of him in the scarf.

A spokeswoman for NSU told WorldNetDaily the University cleared the charity organization with Homeland Security, the FBI and law enforcement before the theater was rented.

"Part of our theater is that we have a mandate to serve the local community," NSU's theater manager David Harris told WND. "We sometimes rent to nonprofits as a community service."

Universities have in the past cleared organizations they have hosted with U.S. law enforcement only to have the events turn controversial.

In October, Duke University hosted a Palestinian solidarity conference – cleared by the FBI and Homeland Security – in which students were recruited to join the a terror-supporting group. Students attended a workshop led by International Solidarity Movement co-founder Huweida Arraf where brochures for the ISM were handed out and attendees were urged to join the group. Attendees also screened a slide show detailing how to fool Israeli border control, since ISM members are denied entry.

"All too often, university employees apologize for Islamist terrorism and sometimes they even are involved with it," Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, told WND. "But the university as a place to raise money for Islamist terrorism sounds new to me. It represents another ominous sign of the direction in which institutions of higher education are heading."

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