Right on the verge of the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States comes another scandal. Given the accusations that Obama is Muslim, this raises concerns people had during the election.
t is also more difficulty for someone who doesn't need more controversy at this time. Nevertheless one of the prayer speakers who is scheduled to be part of the inaugural prayer service on Wednesday is under investigation as a co-conspirator in a trial concerning terrorism-fundraising in Texas. The story was reported by Politico on Saturday.
Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America is supposed to be part of a religious entourage that will include Jewish rabbis and Christian ministers, all of whom are to lead prayers for the new President and his family at a service scheduled for the National Cathedral in Washington DC. Mattson's group is described as the largest umbrella organization for Muslims in North America and is being accused as being on a list of 300 co-conspirators involved in a criminal case in Texas. The co-conspirators are accused of sending more than $12 million to Hamas through a group called the Holy Land Foundation. Hamas was declared a terrorist organization by the United States in 1995. Presently this group is accused of assaulting Israel through firing rockets into civilian areas that unleashed the present war in Gaza. The Foundation was convicted of 108 charges in 2008.
When questioned about this, Linda Douglass, a spokesperson for the Obama inauguration declared Ms. Mattson as "a widely respected faith leader with a stellar reputation." She went on to say that it is important to have someone like Mattson because Mattson and that she had been at the Democratic National Convention in August without controversy then. The trials for the Holy Land Foundation, however, took place after the convention.
Leaders of ISNA have protested being listed as one of the co-conspirators and have not been specifically charged with a crime. Nevertheless federal prosecutor James Jacks noted that there was considerable evidence of the group's ties to Hamas and that numerous exhibits were part of the evidence that showed that relationship. ISNA, however, declares that the accusations against the group is part of a smear campaign and that it is not guilty of any wrongdoing.