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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Say It Ain't So, Hakeem 

The AP reports that a mosque established by former NBA great Hakeem Olajuwon donated $80,000 to front groups for Al Qaeda and Hama:
A Treasury Department spokeswoman, Molly Millerwise, declined to discuss Olajuwon's contributions but said, "In many cases donors are being unwittingly misled by the charities."

Federal law enforcement officials said they were not investigating Olajuwon, a 7-foot center born in Nigeria who played 17 seasons for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association before retiring in 2002 . . . .

The Olajuwon-founded Islamic Da'Wah Center gave more than $60,000 in 2000 and $20,000 in 2002 to the Islamic African Relief Agency, the center's tax records show.

The government shut down the relief agency in October, saying it gave money and other support to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida.

But the agency and its possible ties to terrorism had been in news stories years earlier, before Olajuwon's contributions . . . .

Olajuwon said the donations came after fund-raisers from the Islamic African Relief Agency visited Houston. He said the group told him donations would help the needy in Africa.

"They came and approached us and everything was legitimate. I had no knowledge of their activity," Olajuwon said.
We never liked him after he threw that elbow at Olden Polynice's throat in the 1984 NCAA semifinals, but we'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

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