Quranic Literacy Institute
The Quranic Literacy Institute was established as a non-profit organization based outside of Chicago, Illinois. The group has numerous links to terrorist groups and financiers.
The Quranic Literacy Institute was established to translate sacred Islamic texts from Arabic to English and to publish the translated versions. Their “Quran Project” was intended to create “an entirely new translation of the Quran based on a careful and scholarly review and analysis of every single word of its more than 6200 verses.”
The organization was founded by Ahmad Zaki Hammad who is a scholar of Islam that has advanced degrees from Al-Azhar University in Cairo and the University of Chicago. He also served as the president of the Islamic Society of North America and was on the board of the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT). QLI had close relations with NAIT, both because of Hammad, but also through Bassam Osman. Bassam Osman was a former board member of QLI and served as the chairman of NAIT.
Ties to terrorism
The Quranic Literacy Institute was allegedly part of a large web of organizations and individuals that were funding terrorist groups. In October 2001 in the wake of 9/11, the U.S. Department of Treasury froze the assets of 38 individuals believed to be involved in terrorist financing. One of the individuals, Yassin Kadi, was a prominent Saudi businessman who was linked to Osama bin Laden and was a terrorism financier through his business ventures and charitable projects. In 1991, Kadi loaned $820,000 to the Quranic Literacy Institute allegedly due to his friendship with the group’s president. While he said that the money was intended to allow them to make a land investment in order to yield profits and support their work, the income was actually given to Mohammad Salah, a high level Hamas military operative who was employed as a computer analyst by the Quranic Literacy Institute. When Mohammad Salah pleaded guilty to helping Hamas in an Israeli military court in 1995, the U.S. Treasury Department added him as a list of specially designated terrorists. In 1998 when he returned to the Chicago suburbs, the U.S. filed a forfeiture complaint to confiscate $1.4 million in assets that belonged to him and the Quranic Literacy Institute. The $820,000 loaned to the Institute by Kadi was included in the confiscated funds.
The organization was also used to transfer funds by Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook, who was working to resurrect the military wing of Hamas. The organization served as a transfer point of funds between Hamas political committee leaders to those tasked with revitalizing the Hamas military wing. This occurred after the mass deportation of Hamas and other terrorists from Gaza and the West Bank to southern Lebanon in 1992.
In 2004, the Quranic Literacy Institute was ruled liable, along with the Holy Land Foundation, and Islamic Association of Palestine, in a $156 million lawsuit for aiding and abetting Hamas in the death of 17-year-old U.S. citizen, David Boim. The decision was later reversed on the grounds that it could not be proven that the funds given by these organizations to Hamas were intended for use in the death of David Boim and nothing else. Further trials occurred against the Holy Land Foundation; its 2008 trial was the largest terrorism financing prosecution in American history.
- Levitt, Matthew. (2006). Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Chapter 5.
- Laura B. Rowe, Ending Terrorism with Civil Remedies: Boim v. Holy Land Foundation and the Proper Framework of Liability, 4 Seventh Circuit Rev. 372 (2009)
- Levitt, Matthew. (2006). Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Chapter 3.
- “Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the U.S.” p. 433-434: Prometheus Books, New York, USA, 2006.
- "U.S.: Money trail leads to Saudi". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
- "Chicago link emerges as U.S. freezes more assets". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
- “Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the U.S.” p. 189: Prometheus Books, New York, USA, 2006.
- "Hamas victim's family get $156m". BBC. 2004-12-08. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
- Breinholt, Jeffrey. "Why the Boim Ruling is a Pyrrhic Victory for the Islamic Charities". The Investigative Project on Terrorism. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
- “Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the U.S.” p. 184: Prometheus Books, New York, USA, 2006.