On September 19, a federal jury found Fareed Ahmed Khan guilty of lying to the FBI about his work with the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), a leading American Muslim charity, and a scheme involving the shipping of medical equipment to Pakistan.
According to the Department of Justice:
Khan was a member of the Islamic Circle of North America ("ICNA") and was responsible for collecting cash and check donations to ICNA for its various charitable events. In 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation learned that, over the course of approximately eight years, Khan received more than $200,000 in cash deposits into his bank account. Investigators also learned that Khan was transacting with an individual in Pakistan who was arranging for third parties to deposit cash into Khan's account to fund medical equipment purchases for the individual in Pakistan. Khan then collected the purchased medical equipment, repackaged the items, and shipped them to Pakistan.
Exactly a year ago, Islamist Watch wrote about the indictment of Khan, noting that the inquiries into the shipments of medical equipment was likely part of a wider terror finance investigation.
Since then, material released during the trial shows we were right. In July and August, government documents filed in court state that the case "stems from a [Joint Terrorism Task Force] investigation into Fareed Ahmed Khan and others for providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization. "
Prosecutors also revealed that Khan's brother in Pakistan received money from one of Khan's Pakistani contacts involved with the scheme. According to prosecutors:
this same brother supported Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation ('FIF'), a foreign terrorist organization associated with Lashkar-e Tayyiba ('LeT') and Jamaat-ud-Dawa ('JUD'). Indeed, social-media records produced to the defendant illustrate that the defendant's brother requested the defendant to contribute to FIF.
As this case concerned Khan's decision to lie to the FBI and not a terrorism charge, the details regarding the movement of medical equipment and monies - allegedly to finance terrorist organizations -- have not yet been comprehensively explained or established.
In addition, the government has not yet shown any indication that ICNA was at all involved with the terror-linked scheme.
However, in January 2018, Islamist Watch revealed that one of ICNA's branches was openly working with the both Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation and the Milli Muslim League, the designated charitable and political wings of Lashkar-e-Taiba – the terror group that masterminded the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
[More on the ICNA's links to South Asian Islamism can be read here.]
If this case is indeed part of a larger investigation into terror-financing efforts among South Asian Islamists in America, Khan's conviction may just be one of many to come.
Sam Westrop is the Director of Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.