Non-profit

American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)

Website:

www.ampalestine.org

Location:

FALLS CHURCH, VA

Formation:

2006

Type:

Radical Islamic Advocacy Group

Project of:

Americans for Justice in Palestine Educational Foundation

American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) is an anti-Israel organization with strong ties to pro-Hamas individuals and organizations. While AMP refers to itself as an educational organization focused primarily on raising awareness for Palestinian causes,[1] it has been described by the Anti-Defamation League as “the leading organization providing anti-Zionist training” in America. [2]

Multiple individuals associated with AMP have ties to organizations that have been implicated by the federal government for offering support to terrorist entities such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. [3] At a 2014 AMP conference, a lecturer invited attendees to “navigate the fine line between legal activism and material support for terrorism.” [4]

AMP was founded in 2006 by Hatem Al Bazian, a controversial Palestinian-American professor at the University of California at Berkeley with ties to multiple anti-Israel organizations. [5][6] Bazian gave a speech in 2004 in which he called for an “intifada,” or uprising, in the United States. [7]

AMP is organized as a “corporate nonprofit,” and is exempt from publicly disclosing financial details on federal tax forms. [8] AMP receives funds through its fiscal sponsor, Americans for Justice in Palestine Educational Foundation Inc. (AJP), a 501(c)(3) organization. [9] AMP and AJP are distinct entities despite sharing offices and officers, and funding similar work. [10]

History

American Muslims for Palestine, according to its website, was started as a “strictly volunteer organization” beginning in 2005. [11] In 2008, it opened its national headquarters in Palos Hills, Illinois. [12] In 2016, the organization opened an office in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC to engage in congressional advocacy. [13]

Between 2012 and 2016, Americans for Justice in Palestine, American Muslims for Palestine’s tax exempt arm, took in $3.6 million in donations. It claims to be supported entirely by donations from the public and does not disclose donations by any other organization. [14] In 2016, AJP spent more than $950,000 on its activities, which included an annual pro-Palestinian conference in the U.S., print materials, grass-roots organizing, and a real estate purchase of $269,000. [15]

Key People

Multiple officers of AMP and its tax exempt arm, AJP, have ties to organizations that have been found to support Hamas and other terrorist groups. [16]

Hatem Al Bazian

Hatem Al Bazian is the founder and president of both American Muslims for Palestine and Americans for Justice in Palestine.

Earlier in his career, Bazian was a fundraiser for a pro-Palestinian organization called KindHearts, which had its assets frozen by the federal government amid allegations that it provided “support for terrorism behind the façade of charitable giving,” specifically for allegedly providing aid to the terrorist organization Hamas. [17]

Bazian was one of two featured speakers at a 2004 KindHearts fundraising dinner in California. [18] The other speaker was Mohammed el-Mezain, who was sentenced to prison for his role in the Holy Land Foundation, which provided financial support to Hamas. [19]

In December 2014, Bazian spoke at an event[20] sponsored by a UK-based charity called Interpal, which the U.S. Treasury designated as a terrorist entity in 2003 for funding Hamas. [21]

In addition to his ties to these organizations, Bazian supports other controversial organizations in the United States. He is the co-founder of Students for Justice in Palestine, an organization known to protest Jewish speakers on college campuses. He is a supporter of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, part of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. [22]

A Jewish student appointed to San Francisco State University’s Student Judicial Council alleged that Bazian blocked his appointment on the grounds that the student supported the State of Israel. [23]

Rafeeq Jaber

American Muslims for Palestine’s tax-exempt arm, the AJP Educational Foundation, lists Rafeeq Jaber as its tax preparer on recent IRS filings. Jaber formerly served as the president of the Islamic Association for Palestine,[24] which was found in federal court to have provided support for Hamas.

Jaber has been identified in the Palestinian press as the “spiritual father” of American Muslims for Palestine’s coalitions,[25] and he signed a September 2015 petition in support of Syria as a representative of AMP. [26]

Jaber’s financial services business is currently listed at the same office building where Islamic Association for Palestine was located before it was shut down by the federal government. [27]

Abdelbasset Hamayel

Abdelbasset Hamayel is AMP’s registered agent in Chicago. [28] He served as KindHearts’ Illinois and Wisconsin representative. [29]

Hamayel also served as secretary general for the Islamic Association for Palestine an organization found civilly liable in 2014 in a federal district court for offering material support for Hamas. [30] The judgment was upheld by a federal appeals court in 2008. [31]

Osama Abuirshaid

Osama Abuirshaid is American Muslims for Palestine’s National Coordinator and National Policy Director. [32] In August 2015, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services deemed Abuirshaid “ineligible for naturalization” for failing to disclose his connections with Islamic Association for Palestine , the organization found liable for supporting Hamas. [33]

Abuirshaid also has alleged ties[34] to the founder of a fraudulent charity known as Help the Needy, which illegally sent funds to Iraq in violation of U.S. sanctions and also sent funds to charities designated by the U.S. Treasury for funding al-Qaeda. [35]

Ashraf W. Nubani

Ashraf W. Nubani is a Virginia-based immigration attorney that works as AMP’s legal agent. He currently heads AWM Point Law, a law firm in Virginia which specializes in green card, visa, and deportation cases. He came to the United States from Kuwait at the age of four. [36]

In 2016, the Washington Post reported that Nubani has represented at least “21 people accused of terrorist ties.” [37] One notable individual was Osama bin-Laden’s son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith. He was accused of “giving voice” to bin-Laden’s recruitment of young suicide bombers and was with bin-Laden in the hours following the September 11th terrorist attacks. [38]

Nubani has also defended several members of the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque in Northern Virginia, of which he is also a member, and was dubbed by outsiders as “The Virginia Jihad Network.” [39] One member, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, was sentenced to life imprisonment for plotting the assassination of President George W. Bush and providing material support for al Qaeda. Another member represented by Nubani, Randall “Ismail” Royer, pled guilty and was sentenced to 14 years in prison for assisting Americans in joining a Kashmir-based terrorist group. [40]

Activities

American Muslims for Palestine lists its primary activities as the creation and promotion of educational materials. According to the Anti-Defamation League, its educational efforts have been “primarily geared toward providing the Muslim community with inflammatory rhetoric and false accusations against Israel to promote advocacy for Palestine.” [41]

American Muslims for Palestine also hosts an annual conference on Palestinian activism in America, which regularly attracts Islamic fundamentalist speakers and approximately 2,000 attendees. [42]

At the opening ceremony in the 2011 conference, Jamal Said, an imam who was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas financing trial, hailed “the activists and freedom fighters who gave up their personal ambitions and their own lives so our cause may live.” [43]

In previous years, American Muslims for Palestine’s conference has pledged to train attendees to navigate the legal rules forbidding support for Hamas and other terrorist organizations. [44] Speakers at AMP’s conferences have called Muslims convicted of supporting terrorism heroes and victims of injustice. In 2013, speakers stated that AMP’s goal was to delegitimize the State of Israel in America. [45]

AMP has also placed a heavy emphasis on campus activism.  Speakers at AMP seminars have said that the fight for a Palestinian state will “center on American college campuses.” [46] AMP offers support for and helps coordinate the activity of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which AMP founder Hatem Al Bazian co-founded. The Anti-Defamation League has identified SJP as the “primary organizer of anti-Israel events” on U.S. campuses. [47]

AMP also has a record of inflammatory anti-Israel activity in the U.S., including targeted at neighborhoods with large Jewish populations.

In March 2013, on the first day of Passover, AMP unveiled a billboard campaign in suburban New York accusing Israel of “apartheid.” The ad features the silhouette of an Israeli soldier aiming a gun at a Palestinian child. [48]

In November 2012, the AMP issued a statement that condemned Israeli for retaliating against barrages of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, accusing Israeli leaders of “using Palestinian blood for election purposes.” [49]

American Muslims for Palestine also supports the controversial Boycott, Divest, Sanctions movement, which calls for an economic boycott to isolate Israel. In his 2016 Congressional testimony, Jonathan Schanzer described AMP’s support for BDS “as a concerted campaign to delegitimize and wage economic warfare against the state of Israel.” [50] In 2018, the Israeli government officially barred members of American Muslims for Palestine from entering Israel due to its support of the BDS movement. [51]

Organizing with IfNotNow (INN)

Starting in 2017, AMP began to work with far-left organization IfNotNow in organizing anti-Israel protests and demonstrations. AMP and INN disrupted the 2017 Senate confirmation of David Friedman as the United States ambassador to Israel. [52] Within the same year, AMP and INN organized joint demonstrations in front of the Trump Hotel and the White House in Washington, D.C. opposing President Donald Trump and “the occupation of Palestine.” [53]

Rep. Ilhad Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib

In April 2019, Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) met with members of AMP as well as Joe Catron, an anti-Israeli activist. In addition, AMP and INN were amongst several pro-Palestinian organizations which showed support for both Rep. Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) when the Representatives faced criticism due to anti-Semitic comments. [54]

July 2019 Protest

Between July 8th-9th, 2019, AMP joined with several anti-Israel groups in organizing a joint protest of the annual summit for Christians United for Israel (CUFI) in Washington D.C. Labeled as “Rise Against Racism: Counter CUFI,” the protest included participation from anti-Zionist groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), and the U.S Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR). [55] In addition to organizing disruptions inside and outside the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the joint protest organized “non-violent direct action training along with a series of panel discussions which included speakers such as anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour and JVP activist Lesley Williams.” [56]

References

  1. “About AMP.” Ampalestine.org. Accessed on May 6, 2019. https://www.ampalestine.org/about-amp ^
  2. “American Muslims for Palestine.” Anti-Defamation League. Accessed May 23, 2019. https://www.adl.org/resources/profiles/american-muslims-for-palestine . ^
  3. Schanzer, Jonathan. “Congressional Testimony at Hearing before House Homeland Security Committee Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee.” May 12, 2016. Accessed May 20, 2019. ^
  4. Shane Harris, “Pro-Palestinian Group Lectured On Skirting Terror Laws,” The Daily Beast. December 5, 2014. Accessed May 20, 2019. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/12/05/pro-palestinian-group-lectured-on-skirting-terror-laws.html ^
  5. “Dr. Hatem Bazian, Chairman.” American Muslims for Palestine. Accessed May 23, 2019. https://www.ampalestine.org/about-amp/staff/dr-hatem-bazian-chairman. ^
  6. Miller, Abraham. “Cal Berkeley’s Latest Effort to Erase Jewish History From Israel.” Observer. September 7, 2016. Accessed May 6, 2019. https://observer.com/2016/09/cal-berkeleys-latest-effort-to-erase-jewish-history-from-israel/ ^
  7. Frommer, Rachel. “Covert Watchdog Calls Founder of Students for Justice in Palestine ‘Most Dangerous Professor in America’.” Algemeiner.com. July 12, 2017. Accessed May 23, 2019. https://www.algemeiner.com/2017/07/12/covert-watchdog-calls-founder-of-students-for-justice-in-palestine-most-dangerous-professor-in-america/. ^
  8. Illinois Secretary of State Business Services, Corporate Filing, “American Muslims for Palestine Inc.,” File Number 66688003. Accessed May 20, 2019. http://www.ilsos.gov/corporatellc/CorporateLlcController ^
  9. “Are donations to AMP tax exempt?” American Muslims for Palestine. Accessed May 20, 2019. http://www.ampalestine.org/index.php/about-amp/amp-faq/219-are-donations-to-amp-tax-exempt ^
  10. Internal Revenue Service, Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, “AJP Educational Foundation Inc.,” 2014. Accessed via GuideStar May 20, 2019. http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments//2014/271/365/2014-271365284-0ba3397f-9.pdf ^
  11. “When was AMP formed?” American Muslims for Palestine. Accessed May 20, 2019. http://www.ampalestine.org/index.php/about-amp/amp-faq/214-when-was-amp-formed ^
  12. “When was AMP formed?” American Muslims for Palestine. Accessed May 20, 2019. http://www.ampalestine.org/index.php/about-amp/amp-faq/214-when-was-amp-formed    ^
  13. Email to Subscribers, “New DC-area office open! AMP welcomes new legislative coordinator!” American Muslims for Palestine, March 3, 2016. The organization is not located at the address registered in Washington, DC. ^
  14. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. AJP Educational Foundation Inc., 2016. Form 990. ^
  15. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. AJP Educational Foundation Inc., 2016. Form 990.. ^
  16. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. AJP Educational Foundation Inc., 2016. Form 990.. ^
  17. U.S. Department of the Treasury, Press Release, “Treasury Freezes Assets of Organization Tied to Hamas,” February 19, 2006. Accessed May 20, 2019. http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js4058.aspx ^
  18. Flier, “KindHearts San Diego Fundraising Dinner for Palestine,” Sakkal Design Graphic Design and Illustrations, June 18, 2004. http://www.sakkal.com/Graphics/logos/kindheart/benefit/kindheart_san_diego_flyer.html ^
  19. U.S. Department of Justice, Press Release, “Federal Judge Hands Downs Sentences in Holy Land Foundation Case,” May 27, 2009. Accessed May 20, 2019. https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/federal-judge-hands-downs-sentences-holy-land-foundation-case ^
  20. @sidali_1, “http://istanddrhatem.eventbrite.co.uk come with pockets full at a free event and show your support for Palestine,” Twitter, December 2, 2014. https://twitter.com/sidali_1/status/539916046917197824 ^
  21. U.S. Department of the Treasury, Press Release, “U.S. Designates Five Charities Funding Hamas and Six Senior Hamas Leaders as Terrorist Entities,” August 22, 2003. http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js672.aspx ^
  22. Miller, Abraham. “Cal Berkeley’s Latest Effort to Erase Jewish History From Israel.” Observer. September 7, 2016. Accessed May 6, 2019. https://observer.com/2016/09/cal-berkeleys-latest-effort-to-erase-jewish-history-from-israel/ ^
  23. Miller, Abraham. “Cal Berkeley’s Latest Effort to Erase Jewish History From Israel.” Observer. September 7, 2016. Accessed May 6, 2019. https://observer.com/2016/09/cal-berkeleys-latest-effort-to-erase-jewish-history-from-israel/   ^
  24. “IAP Contact Information,” Islamic Association for Palestine. April 7, 2003. Accessed via Wayback Machine. http://web.archive.org/web/20030407164156/http://www.iap.org/contactus.htm ^
  25. Hundreds of Thousands in the Streets of American Cities in Support of Gaza),” Ma’an News Agency (Palestinian Territories), August 11, 2014. Accessed May 20, 2019. http://maannews.net/Content.aspx?id=719809 ^
  26. “Petition to ISNA Leadership to do more for Syria,” Change.org, September 3, 2015. May 20, 2019. https://www.change.org/p/isna-leadership-president-secretary-gen-and-majlis-ash-shura-petition-to-isna-leadership-to-do-more-for-syria ^
  27. “Jaber Financial Services INC,” Cortera, accessed May 9, 2016. http://start.cortera.com/company/research/k5m5qyr4s/jaber-financial-services-inc/; “IAP Contact Information,” Islamic Association for Palestine, April 7, 2003, accessed via Wayback Machine. http://web.archive.org/web/20030407164156/http://www.iap.org/contactus.htm ^
  28. Illinois Secretary of State Business Services, Corporate Filing, “American Muslims for Palestine, Inc.,” File Number 66688003, accessed April 15, 2016. http://www.ilsos.gov/corporatellc/CorporateLlcController ^
  29. “KindHearts Business Cards with Names,” Sakkal Design Graphic Design and Illustrations. Accessed May 20, 2019. http://www.sakkal.com/Graphics/logos/kindheart/kindhearts_bc03.html ^
  30. “IAP Contact Information,” Islamic Association for Palestine, April 7, 2003. Accessed via Wayback Machine May 20, 2019. http://web.archive.org/web/20030407164156/http://www.iap.org/contactus.htm ^
  31. “Anti-Terrorism Judgment Upheld Against U.S. Charities,” Anti-Defamation League. December 18 2008. Accessed May 20, 2019. http://archive.adl.org/main_terrorism/boim_upheld.html#.VLg28y5RLGA ^
  32. Press Release, “AMP condemns attack on Al Aqsa; youth,” American Muslims for Palestine, September 16, 2015. Accessed May 20, 2019. http://www.ampalestine.org/index.php/newsroom/statements/666-amp-condemns-attack-on-al-aqsa-youth ^
  33. Abuirshaid v. Johnson et al, No. 1:2015cv01113. Virginia Eastern District Court, August 31, 2015. https://dockets.justia.com/docket/virginia/vaedce/1:2015cv01113/327963 ^
  34. Schanzer, Jonathan. “Congressional Testimony at Hearing before House Homeland Security Committee Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee.” May 12, 2016. Page 3. Accessed May 20, 2019. ^
  35. Kates, William. “Gov’t: Suspect Hid Illegal Charity Role.” AP NEWS. March 09, 2003. Accessed May 23, 2019. https://www.apnews.com/4c577de8dc943a1d1509b3c682b5970c. ^
  36. Schoffstall, Joe. “Prominent Anti-Israel Group’s Agent Defended Terrorists in Court.” The Washington Free Beacon, August 26, 2019. Accessed September 5, 2019. https://freebeacon.com/issues/prominent-anti-israel-groups-agent-defended-terrorists-in-court/. ^
  37. Schoffstall, Joe. “Prominent Anti-Israel Group’s Agent Defended Terrorists in Court.” The Washington Free Beacon, August 26, 2019. Accessed September 5, 2019. https://freebeacon.com/issues/prominent-anti-israel-groups-agent-defended-terrorists-in-court/. ^
  38. Schoffstall, Joe. “Prominent Anti-Israel Group’s Agent Defended Terrorists in Court.” The Washington Free Beacon, August 26, 2019. Accessed September 5, 2019. https://freebeacon.com/issues/prominent-anti-israel-groups-agent-defended-terrorists-in-court/. ^
  39. Schoffstall, Joe. “Prominent Anti-Israel Group’s Agent Defended Terrorists in Court.” The Washington Free Beacon, August 26, 2019. Accessed September 5, 2019. https://freebeacon.com/issues/prominent-anti-israel-groups-agent-defended-terrorists-in-court/. ^
  40. Schoffstall, Joe. “Prominent Anti-Israel Group’s Agent Defended Terrorists in Court.” The Washington Free Beacon, August 26, 2019. Accessed September 5, 2019. https://freebeacon.com/issues/prominent-anti-israel-groups-agent-defended-terrorists-in-court/. ^
  41. “American Muslims for Palestine.” Anti-Defamation League. Accessed May 23, 2019. https://www.adl.org/resources/profiles/american-muslims-for-palestine . ^
  42. Emerson, Steve. “American Muslims for Palestine’s Web of Hamas Support.” The Algemeiner. December 14, 2011. Accessed May 20, 2019. http://www.algemeiner.com/2011/12/14/american-muslims-for-palestines-web-of-hamas-support/ ^
  43. Emerson, Steve. “American Muslims for Palestine’s Web of Hamas Support.” The Algemeiner. December 14, 2011. Accessed May 20, 2019. http://www.algemeiner.com/2011/12/14/american-muslims-for-palestines-web-of-hamas-support/ ^
  44. Shane Harris, “Pro-Palestinian Group Lectured On Skirting Terror Laws,” The Daily Beast, December 5, 2014. Accessed May 20, 2019. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/12/05/pro-palestinian-group-lectured-on-skirting-terror-laws.html ^
  45. Shane Harris, “Pro-Palestinian Group Lectured On Skirting Terror Laws,” The Daily Beast, December 5, 2014. Accessed May 20, 2019. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/12/05/pro-palestinian-group-lectured-on-skirting-terror-laws.html ^
  46. Shane Harris, “Pro-Palestinian Group Lectured On Skirting Terror Laws,” The Daily Beast, December 5, 2014. Accessed May 20, 2019. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/12/05/pro-palestinian-group-lectured-on-skirting-terror-laws.html ^
  47. “American Muslims for Palestine.” Anti-Defamation League. Accessed May 23, 2019. https://www.adl.org/resources/profiles/american-muslims-for-palestine . ^
  48. “American Muslims for Palestine.” Anti-Defamation League. Accessed May 23, 2019. https://www.adl.org/resources/profiles/american-muslims-for-palestine ^
  49. “AMP Condemns Israeli Assault on Gaza.” AmPalestine.org. Press Release. November 14, 2012. Accessed May 20, 2019. https://www.ampalestine.org/action-alerts/amp-condemns-israeli-assault-on-gaza ^
  50. Schanzer, Jonathan. “Congressional Testimony at Hearing before House Homeland Security Committee Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee.” May 12, 2016. Accessed May 20, 2019. ^
  51. Landau, Noah. “Israel Publishes BDS Blacklist: These Are the 20 Groups Whose Members Will Be Denied Entry.” January 7, 2018. Accessed May 20, 2019. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israel-publishes-bds-blacklist-these-20-groups-will-be-denied-entry-1.5729880 ^
  52. Jacobson, William A. “Investigation: Radical ‘American Muslims for Palestine’ a Key Connector of Anti-Israel Groups.” Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion, August 26, 2019. Accessed September 5, 2019. https://legalinsurrection.com/2019/08/investigation-radical-american-muslims-for-palestine-a-key-connector-of-anti-israel-groups/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=d20e3036-ffd1-4a0a-aacb-c696f9fadf51. ^
  53. Jacobson, William A. “Investigation: Radical ‘American Muslims for Palestine’ a Key Connector of Anti-Israel Groups.” Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion, August 26, 2019. Accessed September 5, 2019. https://legalinsurrection.com/2019/08/investigation-radical-american-muslims-for-palestine-a-key-connector-of-anti-israel-groups/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=d20e3036-ffd1-4a0a-aacb-c696f9fadf51. ^
  54. Jacobson, William A. “Investigation: Radical ‘American Muslims for Palestine’ a Key Connector of Anti-Israel Groups.” Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion, August 26, 2019. Accessed September 5, 2019. https://legalinsurrection.com/2019/08/investigation-radical-american-muslims-for-palestine-a-key-connector-of-anti-israel-groups/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=d20e3036-ffd1-4a0a-aacb-c696f9fadf51. ^
  55. Mandeles, Samantha. “Investigation: Anti-Israel Groups Plan Disruption of Christians United for Israel Annual Summit.” Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion, June 30, 2019. Accessed September 5, 2019. https://legalinsurrection.com/2019/06/investigation-anti-israel-groups-plan-disruption-of-christians-united-for-israel-annual-summit/. ^
  56. Mandeles, Samantha. “Investigation: Anti-Israel Groups Plan Disruption of Christians United for Israel Annual Summit.” Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion, June 30, 2019. Accessed September 5, 2019. https://legalinsurrection.com/2019/06/investigation-anti-israel-groups-plan-disruption-of-christians-united-for-israel-annual-summit/. ^
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American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)

6404 SEVEN CORNERS PL STE N
FALLS CHURCH, VA 22044-2034