Federal agents were looking for information on terrorist operations and Hizballah activity when they raided two Muslim charities last month, court records show.
The agents hauled away computers, files, money and other items from the Dearborn offices of Al-Mabarrat Charitable Organization and Goodwill Charitable Organization, two Shi’ite Muslim groups that raised money in metro Detroit.
On the same day, July 24, the U.S. Treasury Department said Goodwill was a front group for Hizballah and froze its assets, but Al-Mabarrat was not labeled, charged or placed on any terrorism list.
According to an affidavit filed with the search warrant for the raids, agents were looking for financial ties to “foreign Lebanese or Iranian affiliated charitable organizations” as well as “anti-United States or anti-Israel propaganda.”
Hizballah, based in Lebanon, is considered a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department, but some Muslims in metro Detroit see it as a legitimate group that resisted Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon.
Agents also raided the homes of two men on the same day as the raids. As with the charities, agents were looking for material “dealing with Hizballah, martyrdom, suicide operations, bombings or other terrorist attacks,” the affidavit says. . .
Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said, “we’re concerned about Al-Mabarrat being able to function, being allowed due process and not being tried in the court of public opinion.”
He added, “Al-Mabarrat emphatically denies any connection to Hizballah.”
Regarding the photo of Khomeini, Muslim leaders said that’s protected under the Constitution.
“Having a picture or book related to a figure does not equal full endorsement,” Walid said.