The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday declared a Dearborn-based charity a front for the terrorist organization Hezbollah as FBI agents shut the group's offices and carted away boxes of records.
FBI agents raided the offices of Goodwill Charitable Organization Inc. on West Warren Avenue near Schaefer Road. They also raided the nearby offices of the Al-Mabarrat Charitable Organization on Schaefer, though the Treasury Department did not designate Al-Mabarrat as a Hezbollah front, and the FBI allowed its offices to remain open.
Nobody was arrested or charged at either charity and area Muslim leaders urged the public not to rush to judgment.
The FBI in Detroit has used a strategy of fighting terrorism by attacking terrorists' suspected funding sources and Tuesday's move against Goodwill Charitable Organization is part of that effort.
In a 2005 filing with the Internal Revenue Service, the Goodwill Charitable Organization said it helps the poor, not specifying whether the help is given at home or abroad...
Life for Relief was not shut down and no charges have resulted, but the investigation continues. An Aug. 23 federal court hearing is scheduled over the charity's demands to have its seized property returned.
Al-Mabarrat, while smaller than Life for Relief, is larger and better-known than Goodwill Charitable Organization, with a stated budget of about $1 million compared with about $170,000 for Goodwill in 2005.
Dawud Walid, local director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, said Al-Mabarrat is highly regarded, especially among Shia Muslims, and sends most of its support to southern Lebanon.