Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Two New Jersey Islamist Charities Support Anti-Jewish Islamists at Home and Abroad

ResearchInvestigationsTwo New Jersey Islamist Charities Support Anti-Jewish Islamists at Home and Abroad

Two Islamist nonprofits in Teaneck, New Jersey, are driving forces behind anti-Semitic protests in the state, while also providing financial support to a 501(c) operating in Gaza with alleged ties to terror.

The Al Ummah Community Center and the Ray of Sunshine Foundation (RSF) have provided support to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF), which operates in the Gaza Strip and has partnered with fronts for the designated terrorist organization Hamas.

It’s a troubling look for the two charities that, in addition to receiving tax-deductible donations from U.S. citizens, also enjoy taxpayer support.

The larger of the two charities is Teaneck’s Al Ummah Community Center (AUCC), which according to its tax documents, promotes the “Islamic principles of public service, love, equality, justice and peace for all.” Its “mission is to assist individuals in attaining the vital support they need to achieve stability and a sense of unity.”

The AUCC, which has approximately 44 employees and enjoys the support of 10 volunteers, generated $1,790,634 in revenues in 2022. Most of this revenue ($1.3 million) was generated by the AUCC’s pre-kindergarten program. The remainder of its 2022 revenue comprised $241,771 worth of government grants and $154,458 worth of private contributions and gifts.

In total, the AUCC claims to have received over $511,000 of government grants since 2020.

The AUCC’s address also houses the Ray of Sunshine Foundation Inc. (RSF), an affiliated nonprofit that claims to provide assistance to Palestinian children. RSF claimed to have received government grants worth $56,000 in 2020.

According to public documents, the two organizations are led by four individuals: Rayed Hassan, who serves as president of the two organizations; Mohammed Salem, who serves as secretary of AUCC and as treasurer of the RSF; Suha Hassan who serves as vice president of the two organizations; and Lisa Hassan who serves as secretary for both groups.

Suha Hassan has also been linked to the point of contact for Voice for Humanity, a radical activism group connected to Islamist and anti-Israel protests in New York, in partnership with groups such as American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), often referred to as “Hamas’s lobby” in the U.S. The phone number listed on Voice for Humanity’s social media is also listed as belonging to the AUCC.

The AUCC also backs anti-Jewish protests in New Jersey, recently working with AMP and other Islamist groups to organize demonstrations, including “car rallies,” against local synagogues.

The AUCC has also worked to supply radical anti-Israel student encampments with aid and other logistical support.

The AUCC also operates abroad. In 2022, it allocated $159,250 to humanitarian projects, ostensibly for injured and sick children in the Middle East. Images published on social media by AUCC head Rayed Hassan include pictures of AUCC officials operating in the Palestinian city of Jenin.

The AUCC fundraises and operates in the West Bank, and more recently in Gaza, through Human Concern International, an Islamic charity Canadian media has previously accused of links to terror.

Meanwhile, Hassan’s Ray of Sunshine Foundation has donated $105,000 to a U.S. 501(c) named the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF).

In Gaza, the PCRF runs the pediatric cancer unit inside Al-Rantisi Children’s Hospital, which the Israeli military claims contained Hamas weapons caches as well as a “Hamas ‘command and control center’ and may have been used to hold hostages.” PCRF staff vacancies and news about the organization are reported in Hamas’s own media outlet, Felesteen News. According to NGO Monitor, one PCRF official ran a website that openly glorified jihad.

As revealed by the Middle East Forum in 2023, the PCRF works in Gaza with organizations linked directly to the Hamas authorities, such as the Eastern Association for Agriculture and Development, to whose board meetings the Hamas government sends representatives, as well as delegations to honor the association’s work.

Among the hundreds of millions of dollars of government grants and every day financial transactions throughout the 501(c) system, the monies provided to the AUCC may appear nominal. Which level of government provided the grants remains unknown, with other public records datasets only accounting for a small proportion of the funding. Some $22,000, for instance, was granted to the AUCC by the Division of Family Development within State of NJ Department of Human Services. Wherever the rest of this money came from, at the very least, government support has made it easier for the AUCC and the RSF to provide over a quarter of a million dollars to the PCRF and other radical organizations.

Should taxpayer dollars ever be used to subsidize domestic organizations that fund and support radical protests on college campuses? Certainly, government money must never subsidize extremist charities operating in the terrorist-run Gaza Strip.

It is critical that state and federal legislators crack down on this misuse of taxpayer funds. We are calling on the State of New Jersey to investigate the AUCC and RSF. If funds were used improperly, officials must ensure proper measures are taken going forward to ensure no future grants are awarded.

The use of charities to advance extreme and violent ideological movements isn’t new. In fact, it is precisely how Gaza became what it did. It is now up to local government officials to ensure that the taxpayer is not an unwitting contributor to such malfeasance.

Leo Ward is a finance professional in New Jersey

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