Three former leaders of a defunct Boston-based Islamic charity are scheduled to go on trial today in federal court, accused of lying to the government to win tax-exempt status for the charity and then using the nonprofit to distribute publications promoting jihad and to support Muslim militants overseas.
In what is believed to be the first criminal trial in US District Court in Boston that will explore the role of US charities in financing terrorism, Emadeddin Muntasser, Muhamed Mubayyid, and Samir Al-Monla are charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, tax violations, and making false statements.
Potential jurors will be told that Muntasser, 42, of Braintree, was born in Libya; that Mubayyid, 42, of Shrewsbury, is a native of Lebanon; and that Monla, 50, of Boston, was born in Kuwait and is a US citizen.
The government alleges that in the early 1990s, the three men were involved in operating the Boston branch of Al-Kifah Refugee Center – which supported Muslims engaged in violent, religiously based military conflict overseas – and published a pro-jihad newsletter called Al-Hussam, Arabic for The Sword.
Muntasser, owner of the Logan Furniture Co., is also accused of making false statements to the FBI by denying that he had traveled to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s.