The mosque run by a man detained by police on suspicion of planning to bomb a Jewish museum received money from an Islamic organization suspected of financing al-Qaida, a Muslim community leader said Wednesday.
The Dar-Assalam mosque, run by Palestinian-born dentist Tayseer Saleh, 42, received funds from the Saudi-based Al-Haramain charity after the mosque broke away from Hungary’s main Islamic group, the Hungarian Islam Society, society leader Zoltan Bolek said.
Following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, Al-Haramain has come under scrutiny for suspicions it bankrolled al-Qaida terror activities. Its branches in 10 countries, mostly in Africa and Asia, have been shut down for suspected ties to al-Qaida and other terror groups.
Bolek told The Associated Press that Saleh’s mosque “received funds and frequent visits from the Al-Haramain group.”
“I feel sorry for Saleh because he was a decent man and they have twisted his mind with their distorted view of Islam,” he added.
Bolek estimated that around 20,000 Muslims live in Hungary, but said only around “1 percent” were attracted to extremist views.
Police detained Saleh, a naturalized Hungarian, on Tuesday after the intelligence services and witnesses said he was planning to bomb a Jewish museum in Budapest.
The capture came as Israeli President Moshe Katzan arrived in Budapest to take part in the opening of Hungary’s first Holocaust memorial center on Thursday. Police ruled out any connection between the alleged bomb plot and Katzan’s visit.
At the Dar-Assalam mosque on Wednesday, a worshipper who refused to identify himself also said that the mosque received funds from Saudi Arabian groups.
“Yes, we have received a lot of funds from Saudi Arabia, but I do not want to name the group,” he told AP.
The city-center dental clinic where Saleh worked with his Hungarian wife was closed Wednesday. Calls to the clinic were unanswered.
Police say that they have no information to suggest the bomb plot was linked to foreign terror groups, but they are investigating that possibility.
Police said they have enough evidence to justify the arrest of a Hungarian suspect of Palestinian origin Tuesday
Saleh faces charges of preparing a terror threat, even though authorities discovered no explosives or weapons while searching buildings connected with the suspect.
“We have found other physical evidence and documents, which we are in the process of evaluating,” police spokesman Laszlo Garamvolgyi said.
A court will decide on Thursday on whether the dentist should remain in detention.