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Who Is Really Funding the Ground Zero Mosque?

Posted on August 27 2010 10:40 am
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For weeks, critics of the 13 story $100 million mega-mosque complex planned for the immediate Ground Zero vicinity have been asking where the funding will be coming from. Its sponsors refuse to provide any information and have even refused to rule out taking contributions from other countries including Iran and Saudi Arabia.

When a reporter from the local Fox station in New York, Charles Leaf,  caught up with the mosque complex developer Sharif el-Gamal and asked him to explain the funding, el-Gamal ducked the question.  The reporter, interviewed last night on the “O’Reilly Factor” by Laura Ingraham (filling in for Bill O’Reilly), shared results of his own investigation.

It turns out that Sharif el-Gamal was a waiter a few years ago, who has turned into a real estate powerhouse. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with making it big in America, as long as el-Gamal is playing by the rules. But is he?Charles Leaf found out that  el-Gamal’s SOHO Properties real estate business, which owns the site on which the Ground Zero mosque is to be built, has been receiving financial support from an Egyptian-born owner of several medical companies named Hisham Elzanaty. Elzanaty, Mr. Leaf reports, is the guarantor on a $39 million loan that el-Gamal’s company assumed.

Mr. Elzanaty’s name is listed in campaign donation records as contributing to the campaigns of President Obama and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, both supporters of the mosque.

One of Mr. Elzanty’s companies was audited by New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General who found that the company was overpaid $331,336 for Medicaid services.

Hisham Elzanaty was also in the center of a racketeering and fraud suit brought against him and others by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company in 2007. The complaint charged, among other things, that Mr. Elzanaty arranged for a doctor to set up a “facade” of fraudulently incorporated professional service companies under her name, which Elzanatry actually controlled, to receive payments from State Farm that they were not eligible to receive.

The complaint described Elzanatry’s alleged scheme as a:

common “shell game” used by participants in doc-in-the-box arrangements – to create entities with new names and new tax identification numbers (like Quality Medical) to continue submitting fraudulent charges to insurers for the same medically unnecessary services provided by the same individuals in the same locations, after insurers begin questioning the claims of other entities with other tax identification numbers (like Accurate Medical and JP Medical) which are controlled by the same people (like Elzanaty)

This racketeering suit was apparently settled, although its terms are undisclosed. But the suit reveals a disturbing pattern of alleged conduct by Mr. Elzanatry that may well be at work in helping to fund the developer behind the Ground Zero mosque.

We know that radical Islamist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood operate through many front organizations. Could the funding of the Ground Zero mosque be all part of an elaborate mosque-in-the box shell game to cover up something far more sinister? Maybe not. But we won’t know until the Ground Zero mosque developer Sharif el-Gamal and his financial backer Hisham Elzanaty begin to come clean about where their money is really coming from.

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