Funny how these cases with Islamic charities keep coming up. One reason they do is that, while the Western understanding of charities draws a sharp distinction between combatant and non-combatant roles and places charitable work firmly in the latter camp, the Islamic tradition does not. Qur’an 9:60 includes “those fighting in the cause of Allah” as eligible for zakat.
And of course, in Muhammad’s own words, “War is deceit.” An update on this story. “Feds seek prison sentence for Islamic charity co-founder Seda,” by Jeff Barnard for the Associated Press, November 19 (thanks to Twostellas):
GRANTS PASS — Prosecutors want to send the co-founder of an Islamic charity based in Oregon to prison for eight years for conspiring to smuggle $150,000 to Islamic fighters in Chechnya and trying to cover up the money on the organization’s tax return.
Pete Seda, also known as Pirouz Sedaghaty, was convicted in September of conspiracy and tax fraud.
The former Ashland tree surgeon and co-founder of the U.S. branch of Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Eugene.
Federal prosecutors contend in a sentencing memo obtained by The Associated Press that Seda’s sentence should be longer than normal for his crimes because he “intended to promote” terrorism by helping Islamic fighters battling Russia in Chechnya and asked that he be sentenced to eight years.
Prosecutors wrote they will call a colonel in the Russian Federal Security Service as a witness in the sentencing hearing. Sergey Ignatchenk will appear by video link to testify about terrorism in Chechnya.
The memo also cites evidence Seda tried to obstruct the investigation, and that the scheme was sophisticated, further reason for a longer than normal sentence.
The government also wants $81,000 in unpaid taxes.
Defense attorneys contend the time Seda has already spent in jail is enough. They filed papeers [sic] arguing that the terrorism enhancement is not called for because the evidence prosecutors used was questionable, Seda never obstructed the investigation, and he should not be liable for unpaid taxes….