US lawmakers seek probe into terror finance links between two prominent Muslim groups and LeT

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US lawmakers seek probe into terror finance links between two prominent Muslim groups and LeTWASHINGTON: Three American lawmakers have asked the US State Department to investigate possible terror financing links between two prominent American Muslim organisations and terrorist groups like Lashkar-a-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen.

The three Congressmen – Jim Banks, Chuck Fleischmann and Randy Weber — in a letter to the State Department Coordinator for Counter Terrorism Nathan Sales, said, "Specifically of concern are the innocuous sounding organisation, Helping Hands for Relief and Development (HHRD) and their sister organisation, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)."

While these groups sell themselves as "innocuous" Muslim civic society organisations, they are, in fact, arms of one of the most radical networks in the world, said the three Congressmen.

They said that there was no doubt that the ICNA and HHRD are part of Jamaat-e-Islami's international network.

Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming and extensive, they asserted in the letter dated November 1.

Referring to a series of documentary evidences in support of their statement, the three US Congressmen said that they believe the documented facts would give a reasonable person good reason to investigate just how extensive and systemic these ties are.

"The nexus of charitable networks and terrorist groups is well known and pernicious. This is particularly important to investigate, as the ICNA has received over ten million dollars in government grants, even from the current Administration," they said.

"The ongoing tension and violence in Kashmir is a threat to peace and stability for both India and Pakistan. It is clearly in the best interests of the US to keep peace in the region and not fan the flames of war. It is thus vital that the US do whatever it can to stop the flow of any and all funds that we can to terrorist organisations operating in the region," they wrote.

"Thus, we ask that you use the full powers of your office to further investigate the potential terror finance links between groups like the ICNA and HHRD, and US and UN Security Council designated terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen," the three lawmakers said in their letter to Sales.