A key financial backer of the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero has, in the past, donated funds to a US-based Hamas-linked group. Egyptian-born businessman Hisham Elzanaty is believed to have made “a significant investment” in the controversial Ground Zero mosque project.
According to FoxNews, in 1999, Elzanaty donated over $6,000 to the “Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development,” also known as HLF. In 2001, the US federal government shut down the organization and designated it a terror group.
HLF was the largest Islamic charity in the US in the 1990s, raising millions of dollars and telling donors the money would fund schools, orphanages and social welfare programs.
Elzanaty’s attorney said that his client believed at the time that he was donating to an orphanage.
When the foundation’s leaders were indicted, Attorney General John Ashcroft said, the case was not “a reflection on the well-meaning people who may have donated funds to the foundation.”
In 2008, a federal court found five HLF leaders guilty of providing support to Hamas.