Press Releases

Treasury Department Statement Regarding the Designation of the Global Relief Foundation

(Archived Content)


We continue to wage our relentless war on terror – both here in the U.S. and overseas.   We are harvesting information, coordinating with our allies, and taking action against terrorist networks.   We are seeing progress.   We have frozen dollars and the assets of organizations, deterred donors and supporters, and forced terrorist backers to use riskier, more vulnerable methods of raising and moving money. 
Our efforts are having real-world effects. Al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations are suffering financially as a result of our actions. Potential donors are being more cautious about giving money to organizations where they fear that the money might wind up in the hands of terrorists. In addition, greater regulatory scrutiny in financial systems around the world is further marginalizing those who would support terrorist groups and activities.
The war on terrorism is only beginning, and it is certain to demand constant vigilance.  In the year since that terrible day, we have hit them hard. Our goal is to bankrupt their institutions and beggar their bombers. This war - the financial war against terrorism – is complicated and much more remains to be done. We are off to a good start, but this is a long-term war of attrition that we are waging. We will not relent.
As part of this campaign, today the Treasury Department designated the Global Relief Foundation under the authority of Executive Order 13224.
The Global Relief Foundation (GRF), has connections to, has provided support for, and has provided assistance to Usama Bin Ladin, the al Qaida Network, and other known terrorist groups.
One of the founders of GRF was previously a member of the Makhtab Al-Khidamat, the precursor organization to al Qaida.  The GRF has received funding from individuals associated with al Qaida.  GRF officials have had extensive contacts with a close associate of Usama Bin Ladin, who has been convicted in a U.S. court for his role in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
GRF members have dealt with officials of the Taliban, while the Taliban was subject to
international sanctions. 
The GRF has connections with known terrorist organizations and with known supporters of terrorist organizations, including the shipment of materiel to a terrorist organization operating in the Kashmir region and through financial transactions with a Texas-based charitable organization.
The United States today submitted this group’s name to the UN sanctions committee for inclusion in its’ consolidated list of entities and individuals whose assets UN member states are obligated to freeze pursuant to UN security council resolutions 1267 and 1390.
The Global Relief Foundation (GRF), also known as Fondation Secours Mondial (FSM), and its officers and directors have connections to, and have provided support for and assistance to, Usama bin Ladin (UBL), al Qaida, and other known terrorist groups.  These include groups previously designated by the United States under President Bush’s September 2001 Executive Order 13224 regarding terrorism and included on the United Nations 1267 Sanctions Committee’s consolidated list of individuals and entities whose assets are required to be frozen pursuant to UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) 1267 and 1390.
Links to UBL and al Qaida:
Rabih Haddad, a senior GRF official who co-founded GRF and served as its president throughout the 1990s and in the year 2000, worked for Makhtab al-Khidamat (MAK) in Pakistan in the early 1990s.  MAK was co-founded by Sheikh Abdullah Azzam and UBL in the 1980s and served as the precursor organization to al Qaida.  MAK was designated by President Bush in E.O. 13224 and was subsequently included on the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee’s consolidated list.  The organization has helped funnel fighters and money to the Afghan resistance in Peshawar, Pakistan, and established recruitment centers worldwide to fight the Soviets.  Azzam, who served as a mentor to UBL, was killed in 1989.  He is also regarded as a historical leader of HAMAS, which was designated under E.O. 13224. At a recent immigration hearing, Haddad conceded that he met Azzam in Pakistan and characterized him as a “hero.”
In addition, GRF has provided financial and other assistance to, and received funding from, individuals associated with al Qaida.  Mohammed Galeb Kalaje Zouaydi, a suspected financier of al Qaida’s worldwide terrorist efforts, was arrested in Europe in April 2002. GRF has admitted receiving funds from Zouaydi.
GRF and FSM personnel had multiple contacts with Wadih El-Hage, UBL’s personal secretary when UBL was in Sudan.  El-Hage was convicted in a U.S. district court in May 2001, for his role in the UBL-directed 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.  At the time that El-Hage was playing an active role in an al Qaida terrorist cell in Kenya, he was in contact with GRF.  For example, documents recovered from a search in Kenya indicated that El-Hage was in contact with GRF after he returned from visiting al Qaida leadership in Afghanistan in February 1997.  GRF has acknowledged that El-Hage and Nabil Sayadi, FSM’s Director in Belgium, were in contact during this period.
Links to Taliban and Other Entities and Background:
A GRF employee also dealt with officials of the Taliban, which at the time was an entity subject to U.S. sanctions pursuant to United States E.O. 13129 (prohibiting trade and most transactions with the Taliban because it provided a safe haven and base of operations for UBL and al Qaida) and subject to international sanctions pursuant to UNSCRs 1267 and 1333.  In November 2001, during the airstrikes in Afghanistan, a GRF medical relief coordinator traveled to Kabul, against the advice of the U.S. Department of State, and engaged in dealings and negotiations with Taliban officials until the collapse of the Taliban regime.
A set of photographs and negatives discovered in 1997 in a trash dumpster outside of GRF’s office in Illinois depict large shipping boxes displayed under a GRF banner.  The boxes were full of sophisticated communications equipment, including approximately 200 handheld radio transceivers, long-range radio antennas, and portable power packs, with an estimated total value of $120,000. Other photographs depict fighters armed with automatic rifles, a sand bagged bunker with a radio antenna mounted outside, and mutilated corpses with the name “KPI” (Kashmir Press International) printed alongside.  Yet another photograph displays two dead men with the caption “Hizbul Mujahideen,” a known terrorist organization operating in the Kashmir region.  On the reverse side of the photograph was handwritten in Arabic, “two martyrs killed by the Indian government.”
GRF has stocked and promoted audio tapes and books authored by Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, discussed above, which glorify armed jihad, including “The international conspiracy against Jihad” and “The Jihad in its present stage.”   Despite Azzam’s terrorist background, GRF has enthusiastically promoted Azzam’s materials to the public:  “His [Azzam’s] theology is a sea, his words are jewels, and his thoughts are a light for those who are holding the smoldering embers.  He lived the Jihad experiences of the 20th century in Afghanistan . . . and Palestine, and produced a new theory for saving the [Islamic] Nation from disgrace, shame, weakness, and submission to others.”
GRF has published several Arabic newsletters and pamphlets that advocate armed action through jihad against groups perceived to be un-Islamic.   For example, one 1995 GRF pamphlet reads “God equated martyrdom through JIHAD with supplying funds for the JIHAD effort.  All contributions should be mailed to: GRF.”  Another GRF newsletter requested donations “for God’s cause – they [the Zakat funds] are disbursed for equipping the raiders, for the purchase of ammunition and food, and for their [the Mujahideen’s] transportation so that they can raise God the Almighty’s word . . . it is likely that the most important of disbursement of Zakat in our times is on the jihad for God’s cause . . . .”
GRF received $18,521 from the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) in 2000.  HLF, a Dallas, Texas based Islamic charitable organization, was designated under E.O. 13224 on December 4, 2001, and under the European Union’s Regulation (EC) No. 2580/01 on June 17, 2002, for its ties to terrorism.  HLF’s designation was upheld in a recent decision by a U.S. district court.