Two years ago, Hatem El-Hady was the chairman of the Toledo, Ohio-based Islamic charity, Kindhearts, which was closed by the US government in February 2006 for terrorist fundraising and all its assets frozen. Today, El-Hady has redirected his fundraising efforts for his newest cause - Barack Obama for President.
El-Hady has his own dedicated page on Barack Obama's official website, chronicling his fundraising on behalf of the Democratic Party presidential candidate (his Obama profile established on February 19, 2008 - two years to the day after Kindhearts was raided by the feds). Not only that, but he has none other than Barack Obama's wife, Michelle Obama, listed as one of his friends (one of her 224 listed friends).
But his leadership of Kindhearts is not the only thing that has brought him scrutiny by federal law enforcement officials. Last summer, El-Hady was questioned by the FBI concerning his knowledge of possible conspirators in a UK-based terror plot.
Hatem El-Hady's interest in "change" is understandable. Following the closure of Kindhearts, he said in response to the government's closure of his organization:
"It's dirty politics," said Dr. Hatem Elhady, chairman of the board of KindHearts, which raised $5.1 million in 2004. "They do not like the way things are going in Palestine. They do not like the election results. But that is not our problem. Our problem is providing aid to people in desperate need of help."
The Department of Justice had a very different version of events. According to the DOJ, Kindhearts assumed the role of lead terrorist fundraising in the US after the government had closed other such Islamic "charities":
"KindHearts is the progeny of Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, which attempted to mask their support for terrorism behind the façade of charitable giving," said Stuart Levey, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
Not only was Kindhearts engaged in providing funds for HAMAS in Lebanon and the West Bank, it had hired as a fundraising specialist the man identified as the designated HAMAS bag man in the US, Mohammed El-Mezain.
And as investigative reporter Joe Kaufman revealed, "The Black Hearts of Kindhearts", a number of other Kindhearts officials were tied to terrorist fundraising and support:
- KindHearts’ Director of Domestic Programs, Khalifah Ramadan. Ramadan was a training and evaluation consultant for the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), two large Muslim organizations based in the United States that have links to overseas terror groups.
- KindHearts’ Representaive, Omar Shahin. Shahin was an Imam for the Islamic Center of Tucson (ICT), the former home of numerous terror operatives, including Wael Jelaidan, who later helped found Al-Qaeda.
- KindHearts’ Representative, Wagdy Ghuneim. Ghuneim, an Egyptian cleric, has been featured in KindHearts fundraising dinners for 2002, 2003 and 2004. During a rally at Brooklyn College, in May of 1998, Ghuneim attempted to persuade the crowd to support violent jihad and labeled Jews as “descendants of the apes.”
- KindHearts’ Representative, Hatem Bazian. Bazian is an Islamic Studies instructor and a member of the faculty of Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkley. In April of 2004, during a San Francisco anti-war rally, Bazian, a native Palestinian, called for an “intifada” against the United States. This was just two months prior to Bazian being featured in a KindHearts Fundraising Dinner, entitled ‘Palestinians in agony!’
- KindHearts’ Manager in Lebanon, Haytham Maghawri (a.k.a. Haytham Fawri). Maghawri, the past Social Services Director for HLF, according to the Treasury Department, “collected [KindHearts] funds and sent them to Hamas and other Salafi groups.” [One of the recipients of KindHearts funding was Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) Usama Hamdan, a leader of Hamas in Lebanon.]
And two months before Kindhearts closure by the US government, Beila Rabinowitz had revealed that the South Asia Division Coordinator for Kindhearts, Zulfiqar Ali Shah, had known ties to al-Qaeda, even conducting a 10-day tour with officials for the Tablighi Jamaat organization, which the New York Times had described as "a springboard for militancy" and a "recruitment" center for Al-Qaeda.
Barack Obama has promised change. And as indicated by the public support that his candidacy has received by accused terrorist fundraiser Hatem El-Hady, Obama's version of change that terrorists and their US supporters can believe in.