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Tax-Exempt Lawbreaking? By: Lee Kaplan
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, October 20, 2005

FrontPageMag.com and Stop the ISM recently revealed that some organizations affiliated with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) may have repeatedly violated U.S. tax-code requirements for maintaining non-profit status. Specifically, the report pointed out red flags in the tax returns of the Middle East Children’s Alliance, Al Awda, Holy Land Trust and the Electronic Intifada, all fiercely partisan groups that nevertheless affect political neutrality for tax purposes.

These revelations led to further research into the tax returns of other ISM-affiliated groups. The result is an exposure of the links between the PLO and the Palestinian movement in the United States. A close inspection of these groups further revealed seeming violations obscured by their status as a "group" or "political action committee" (PAC). This diversionary status is part and parcel of the ISM’s longtime strategy of dividing its operations into multiple entities in order to prevent government scrutiny.


Both organizations are ostensibly the same. MAS shows contempt for the U.S. government in its apparent violations of tax requirements for non-profits established by the Internal Revenue Service. For example, the 501(c)3 of the tax exempt Muslim-American Society (Tax ID# 36-3885457) openly promotes civil disobedience, prohibited by IRS regulations (specifically, IRS Rev Rul 75-384).

With this prohibition in mind, it is clear MAS purposely and deliberately plans and executes illegal acts of civil disobedience (or "direct action"). On April 12, 2004, MAS sent out an alert stating, "On Wednesday, April 14, MAS Freedom Foundation Executive Director Mahdi Bray plans to lead a group of peace activists in a non-violent act of civil disobedience to protest the White House visit of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon." This plan came to fruition:

Today, as Ariel Sharon and George Bush met in the White House, the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, and other organizations held a press conference, rally and civil disobedience action demanding "Free Palestine." The Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation initiated today's action, at which Mahdi Bray, the Executive Director of the MAS Freedom Foundation, and Sarah Friedman, National Outreach Coordinator for the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, were arrested on the White House sidewalk in an act of protest against the Sharon/Bush war on the Palestinian people. When the police blocked the protest from marching forward on the White House sidewalk, Mahdi Bray refused to leave and Sarah Friedman stepped forward from the group of assembled demonstrators and joined him.

On its own website MAS soon trumpeted Bray’s "specific act of civil disobedience, crossing a police line and defiantly remaining inside the barricade." The organization not only lauded his and Friedman’s illegal action but promised its membership: "MAS Freedom Director Released, Vows to Continue Civil Disobedience Campaign."


Not only is the actual conduct of illegal activities inconsistent with exemption, but the planning and sponsoring of such activities are also incompatible with charity and social welfare. Rev.Rul.75-384 holds that an organization formed to promote world peace that planned and sponsored protest demonstrations at which members were urged to commit acts of civil disobedience did not qualify for IRC 501(c)(3) or (4) exemption.

The open advocacy of civil disobedience furnishes the IRS sufficient grounds to consider revoking this organization's tax-exempt status and requiring that MAS pay back taxes, plus penalties. Meanwhile, the Joint Terrorism Task Force at the Department of Homeland Security may take note of the fact that Mahdi Bray, the executive director of the Muslim-American Society, personally encouraged and participated in civil disobedience.

Mahdi Bray, incidentally, is president of the Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations (and no doubt encourages civil disobedience through them, as well). He is also on the advisory boards for numerous Muslim organizations. In1998, Bray also coordinated and led a Washington rally of 2,000 people, in which the activists chanted, "Let's all go into jihad, and throw stones at the face of the Jews." That’s more than just an incitement to civil disobedience; it’s an incitement to violence.

That is not the only worrisome aspect of Bray’s career. Bray once declared that, when it comes to Muslim political activism, he and Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader and fundraiser Sami al- Arian are "kindred spirits." Al-Arian ran several non-profits until the U.S. government closed them down and brought him up on charges funding terrorism overseas.


Pax Christi USA is an affiliate of the ISM. It is also an international organization with branches in Europe and works against American interests globally. Posing as a lay Roman Catholic "peace" group, it is in fact yet another non-profit that solicits tax-exempt donations while apparently violating tax requirements. Pax Christi members were among those ISM activists who in 2002 stormed the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem to act as human shields for the Palestinian terrorists trapped inside.

Just as with the MAS, 501(c)3 tax-exempt Pax Christi USA (Tax ID# 36-3038894) openly promotes civil disobedience by its members. Its website is replete with such examples as this:

Sign Pax Christi USA's Iraq Peace Pledge/Iraq Pledge of Resistance. For those considering civil disobedience when Pax Christi USA initiates the signal, please prepare by organizing or participating in a nonviolent direct action training session. For more information, contact Shannon McManimon at shannonpcusa@hotmail.com or 215-805-3510.

The organization capped off a Nevada anti-nuclear protest with "optional civil disobedience." A Pax Christi press release announced a forthcoming "Civil Disobedience Action by Religious Leaders." It even conducted "nonviolence training" during "a night-time [sic.] civil disobedience action." encouraging members to break the law. Clearly, IRS diligence is needed for these protestors, as well.


The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) is a political action committee that contains other non-profits affiliated with the ISM. ICNA’s website claims it provides "humanitarian aid abroad for disaster relief." The truth is not so innocent.

The Cybercast News Service has reported ICNA is, in fact, a terrorist affiliate:

An American Muslim group under federal investigation is actually the U.S. division of a Pakistan-based faction with ties to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, according to notes from an official meeting that were posted on an obscure Middle Eastern website and obtained by Cybercast News Service.

Members of that U.S. division – the New York City-based Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) – have publicly denied any connections to Jama'at-i-Islami (JI), Pakistan's most influential Islamist organization. But notes from a forum ICNA sponsored in New York City in 2000 contradict those denials.

Stop the ISM’s forensic accountants looked at ICNA’s Tax Form 990. Although the ICNA claims that it does not attempt to influence legislation or elections, that claim is contradicted by news reports. ICNA is part of a PAC that endorsed John Kerry for president in the last election. ICNA is a member of the American Muslim Task Force on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT-PAC), which endorsed John Kerry on its behalf:

A leading Muslim American coalition has issued a qualified endorsement of Senator John Kerry for the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election. In doing so, the coalition cited the Bush Administration's alleged disregard for civil liberties in the ever-expanding War on Terror, and the administration's failed domestic and foreign policies.

You can read AMT’s endorsement here. In addition to ICNA, the umbrella group AMT-PAC represents:

  • American Muslim Alliance (AMA)
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
  • Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
  • Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA)
  • Muslim American Society (MAS)
  • Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA)
  • Muslim Student Association-National (MSA-N)
  • Project Islamic Hope (PIH)
  • United Muslims of America (UMA)

In addition, ICNA on Oct. 14, 2004, an AMT-PAC force met with "Senator Ted Kennedy, Steve Elmendorf, Kerry/ Edwards Deputy Campaign Manager, and Mona Pasquil, Director of Communities; Dr. Maher Hathout, Senior Advisor to the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and Dr. Agha Saeed, Executive Director of the American Muslim Alliance," who "shared the issues that could determine the Muslim vote."

A statement issued by the Kerry campaign reiterated in more than one location said:

As Senator Kennedy stated, civil liberties and inclusion of American Muslims exist in the heart and soul of John Kerry and are issues that they both have fought for in the Senate. In response to Dr. Hathout's question Senator Kennedy mentioned that expanding the Cultural Bridges Program was one step or example of inclusion of talented and brilliant Muslims. Steve Elmendorf, Deputy Campaign Manager reiterated that a Kerry - Edwards administration will engage and involve Muslim-Americans. Lastly, in response to Mr. Kareem, Sen. Kennedy stressed that we are in an ongoing dialogue to build trust within a community that has been trampled on for the past three years.

Not only has ICNA been a party to a partisan political endorsement, but it appears this endorsement secured promises from a presidential candidate in response.


Like dominoes in a chain reaction, the members of the ISM network of non-profits that support the global jihadists are beginning to fall. However, lackadaisical law enforcement has allowed radical groups to view themselves as exempt from these statutes.

A webpage has been specially set up to display information about MAS and Pax Christi in case those entities try to delete the incriminating information from their websites. You can view this by clicking here. If you want the IRS and Department of Homeland Security to open the books of MECA, Al Awda, Holy Land Trust, Electronic Intifada, MAS, Pax Christi, ICNA, and their related affiliates, you may write the IRS at:

IRS- EO Classification
Attn: Criminal investigations
4910 DAL
1100 Commerce Street
Dallas TX 75242-1198</BLOCKQUOTE>

You can call also the IRS toll free at 1-800-829-0433.

For Homeland Security, you may contact the Joint Terrorism Task Force at https://tips.fbi.gov or your local FBI office: http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htm.

If you would like to volunteer to help Stop the ISM, please e-mail us at: stoptheISM@att.net. Join our team. We are growing fast.

Stop the ISM team members William Levinson and Adina Kutnicki also contributed to this report.

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Lee Kaplan is an undercover investigative journalist and a contributor to Front Page Magazine. He is also a regular columnist for the Israel National News and Canada Free Press and a senior intelligence analyst and communications director for the Northeast Intelligence Network. He heads the organizations Defending America for Knowledge and Action (DAFKA) and Stop the ISM. He has been interviewed on over one hundred nationally and internationally syndicated radio shows and been a guest on Fox Cable TV’s Dayside with Linda Vester and Bill O’Reilly’s The Factor. He is a guest every Tuesday on the Jim Kirkwood Show on Utah's K-Talk Radio am630. He is currently working on a book about America's colleges in the War on Terror and the International Solidarity Movement.

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