Muslim Cleric Sues Illinois State Police

CHICAGO (CN) – A Muslim cleric sued the Illinois State Police, saying it refused to let him work as a chaplain because of false accusations that he is a “radical fundraiser and security threat to the United States.” Kifah Mustapha, who has “over 15 years of experience providing Islamic clergy service,” sued the top two bosses in the state police refusing his application to become to the organization’s first Muslim chaplain.

     After filing his application and completing the required training in late 2009, Mustapha says, his appointment was put on hold after the publication of “a defamatory article by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, a nonprofit organization known for its anti-Muslim views,” according to his federal complaint.
     “Steve Emerson, executive director of IPT, has regularly attacked Islam and Muslims with false assertions of anti-American and terrorist activities, as confirmed by the national media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR),” Mustapha claims.
     (Emerson is George Polk Award-winning reporter who has written six books, including “The American House of Saud: The Secret Petrodollar Connection,” “Secret Warriors: Inside the Covert Military Operations of the Reagan Era,” “The Fall of Pan Am 103: Inside the Lockerbie Investigation,” and “Terrorist: The Inside Story of the Highest-Ranking Iraqi Terrorist Ever to Defect to the West.”)
     Mustapha claims that Jan. 5 article for the Investigative Project on Terrorism reported that the “plaintiff’s name was included on a list of unindicted coconspirators in the criminal case United States v. Holy Land Foundation for Relief & Development, which ‘ended with sweeping convictions in November of 2008’ in Dallas, Texas.”
     The article also reported that the “plaintiff was identified in the Holy Land Foundation unindicted co-conspirator list as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, describing the Muslim Brotherhood as ‘an international Islamic fundamentalist organization … committed to the globalization of Islam through social engineering and violent jihad.'”
     It reported that “As a member of the Islamic Association for Palestine, which IPT described as ‘Hamas’ U.S. propaganda arm,’ plaintiff helped prepare for ‘festivals or conventions,’ which often featured skits portraying Hamas violence against Israelis.”
     And it reported that the “plaintiff helped raise money for ‘other U.S. Muslim Brotherhood front groups,’ naming the Council on American-Islamic Relations as one of these groups.
     “Based on the statements presented in the January 5, 2010 article, IPT falsely characterized plaintiff as a ‘radical fundraiser’ who was a security threat to the United States.”
     Mustapha says this is all nonsense:
     “IPT’s assertions regarding plaintiff’s purported ‘radical’ activities with the Holy Land Foundation were solely based on his identification as an unindicted co-conspirator as part of a list of three hundred seven (307) individuals and organizations publicly filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Department of Justice in its case in Dallas, Texas in May 2007. Such publication of unindicted co-conspirators violated the Department of Justice’s own guidelines.
     “Plaintiff was never charged with any crime as a result of his activities with the Holy Land Foundation or any other organization, and he was never called as a witness in the Holy Land Foundation case to rebut any assertions made against him.
     “In a civil matter against Holy Land Foundation, plaintiff confirmed under oath that he never played any role in Hamas, never supported Hamas financially, never traveled to the Middle East on behalf of the Holy Land Foundation, and never raised funds for any organization in the United States to support Hamas. During the time that he worked for Holy Land Foundation, plaintiff solicited donations for disadvantaged members of the Muslim community, and he never distributed the donations he received to anyone outside of the organization.”
     But Mustapha says the Illinois State Police sent him a letter stating that “he had not successfully passed the background investigation and that his application was denied,” though “the letter failed to indicate what information led to the decision.”
     Mustapha seeks punitive damages for constitutional violations and racial and religious discrimination. He adds that the state police “accepted all of the other individuals who attended the chaplain orientation training, none of whom were Muslim, Arab or Middle Eastern.”
     He is represented by Kevin Vodak with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

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