al-Haramain Foundation

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Al-Haramain Foundation
Al haramain logo 2050081722-22058.jpg
Abbreviation HIF
Formation 1988
Extinction 2004
Type NGO
Legal status
Headquarters Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Region served
Aqeel Abdulaziz Aqeel al-Aqeel
Remarks  UN Banned worldwide by the United Nations Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee, for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of” Al-Qaida.[1][2]

Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation was a charity foundation, based in Saudi Arabia, alleged by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in a September 2004 press release to have "direct links" with Osama bin Laden.[3] The charity is now banned worldwide by United Nations Security Council Committee 1267.[4]

The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Department of the Treasury had already banned various branches of this organization at various times, including the US branch on 9 September 2004.[3] Under various names it had branches in Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Comoros, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Tanzania, and the United States.[4]

There was one branch of the foundation in the United States, located at Ashland, Oregon. The Ashland chapter assisted the Islamic Society of Springfield, Missouri, in the purchase of a prayer house, but the Springfield organization shares no common directors and is not and never was under the control of the Al-Haramain organization.[citation needed]

U.S. branch[edit]

The American branch of Al-Haramain Foundation filed a lawsuit on 28 February 2006.[5] The suit asserted that the Bush administration had circumvented the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by authorizing warrantless wiretaps. They asserted that the President lacked the authority to authorize wiretaps that circumvented the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Three individuals whose conversations were intercepted, Suliman al-Buthe, Wendell Belew and Asim Ghafoor, learned of the eavesdropping when U.S. officials accidentally delivered logs of phone calls to them.[5] Al-Buthe, who had traveled intermittently to the United States but who has always resided in Saudi Arabia, had been one of the directors of the Ashland chapter. Belew and Ghafoor were two of the Foundation's U.S. lawyers.

Thomas H. Nelson of Welches, Oregon, another Foundation lawyer, filed the lawsuit. Court records show he filed a motion to place the relevant material under seal.

On 31 March 2010, US District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that the Bush administration should have gotten warrants for its wiretaps of Al Haramain.[6]

Separately, the charity filed suit in August 2007, challenging the Department of Treasury's 2004 designation of Al Haramain as a "specially designated global terrorist" and the seizure and freezing of all of its assets.[7] In September 2011, an appeals court ruled that United States officials correctly designated the charity as supporting terrorism, but found the Treasury department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control improperly seized the charity’s assets using a “blocking order” to freeze them without a warrant supported by probable cause, violating the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable seizures, and that they also violated the charity's procedural due process rights by failing to give a post-seizure explanation of the basis for the seizure.[8]


  1. ^ QE.A.103.04. AL-HARAMAIN FOUNDATION (INDONESIA) United Nations, 30 October 2009
  2. ^ QE.A.104.04. AL-HARAMAIN FOUNDATION (PAKISTAN) United Nations, 30 October 2009
  3. ^ a b U.S.-Based Branch of Al Haramain Foundation Linked to Terror, press release, US Department of the Treasury, 9 September 2004
  4. ^ a b The United States Treasury Department has designated Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation as a "specially designated global terrorist" organization.UN list of affiliates of al-Qaeda and the Taliban
  5. ^ a b Leonnig, Carol D. (2 March 2006). "Saudi Group Alleges Wiretapping by U.S.: Defunct Charity's Suit Details Eavesdropping". Washington Post. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  6. ^ Charlie Savage, James Risen (31 March 2010). "Federal Judge Finds N.S.A. Wiretaps Were Illegal". New York Times. Archived from the original on 6 April 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2010. "A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the National Security Agency’s program of surveillance without warrants was illegal, rejecting the Obama administration’s effort to keep shrouded in secrecy one of the most disputed counterterrorism policies of former President George W. Bush." 
  7. ^ "Al Haramain v. Department of Treasury". U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  8. ^ Reuters (23 September 2011). "Officials Improperly Seized Assets of Islamic Charity, Court Finds". New York Times. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 

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