Mohammed Ali Hassan Al-Moayad
Place of Birth: Yemen;
Known for: Alleged financing of terrorism;
Sheik Al-Moayad is a Yemeni cleric who was convicted in 2005 on U.S. federal charges of conspiring to provide material support and resources to Hamas and Al-Qaeda.
Prior to his arrest, he was the imam of the main mosque in Sana’a (Yemen), and a high-ranking member of Yemen’s Al-Islah party. He was also the head of the Yemeni branch of the Al-Aqsa Foundation.
Al-Moayad claims that he was Osama bin Laden’s spiritual advisor in the 1980s, but he says that their relationship ended after the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan. Bin Laden reportedly issued a fatwa calling for al-Moayad’s death after the cleric publicly criticized him.
In 2003, Al-Moayad traveled to Germany to meet a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informant, Mohamed Alanssi, and a FBI undercover agent posing as a wealthy former Black Panther. The FBI video-recorded al-Moayad at a Frankfurt hotel promising to funnel over $2 million to Hamas. He was then arrested by German police at the request of the FBI. Al-Moayad’s assistant Mohammed Mohsen Yahya Zayed was also arrested. They appealed to the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany against extradition. This appeal was rejected, as the court found that the U.S. had given Germany assurances that the suspects would not face a military court or any other special tribunal. They were therefore turned over to U.S. custody, and taken to New York City to face trial. It was decided to try them at the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, because al-Moayad was alleged to have done some of his fundraising at a Brooklyn mosque. At the time of the arrests, it was said that al-Moayad had admitted to funding Osama bin Laden with $20 million prior to the September 11 attacks.
His conviction was overturned in the Court of Appeals in 2008. He then pleaded guilty to conspiring to raise money for Hamas, was sentenced to time served, and deported to Yemen (together with Zayed). In Yemen they were greeted by thousands of supporters. That same day they were congratulated in person by then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
- Al-Aqsa International Foundation The Al-Aqsa Foundation is an international charity established in 1997.… [+]
- Osama Bin Laden Osama was the founder of al-Qaeda in 1988. This organization… [+]
- Al-Qaeda Al-Qaeda is a global militant Islamist organization founded by Osama… [+]
- Hamas Hamas is a Palestinian Islamic organization, with an associated military… [+]
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