The attorney general of Virginia has launched an investigation into a pro-Palestinian nonprofit group which has been accused of illegally fundraising for Hamas and other terrorist organizations.
As reported by the New York Post, Attorney General Jason Miyares (R-Va.) said on Tuesday that he “has reason to believe” that the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) has been illegally raising money in violation of state laws.
“The Attorney General will investigate allegations that the organization may have used funds raised for impermissible purposes under state law, including benefitting or providing support to terrorist organizations,” his office said in a statement.
AMP, which is also known as AJP Educational Foundation Inc., has also been accused of soliciting donations without registering with the state’s Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs.
The group has been described by the Anti-Defamation League as the “leading organization” in the effort to provide “anti-Zionist” training to Muslims and student groups throughout the country, and has also been accused of providing a platform for anti-Semitic beliefs and anti-Israel rhetoric.
Miyares partially based his investigation on an allegation made in a federal lawsuit that had previously been filed in Chicago, which claimed that the group, based out of Falls Church, Virginia, is simply a reconstituted version of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a prior organization which had been found liable for directly funding Hamas.
That lawsuit was filed by the parents of David Boim, who was killed in 1996 during an attack on Israel’s West Bank by Hamas. The case ultimately led to a $156 million civil judgment against the IAP in 2004, at which point the group decided to shut down rather than pay off most of the award. Just two years later, AMP was formed with many of the same board members as IAP, as well as the same executive director, Osama Abuirshaid.
In a statement after Miyares’ investigation was announced, AMP dismissed the allegations as the “latest attempt to smear and silence American Muslims who speak up for Palestinian human rights.” The group also described the investigation as “not only defamatory but dangerous.”
On the AMP website, the group describes itself as a “national education and grassroots-based organization dedicated to educating the American public about Palestine and its rich cultural, historical and religious heritage.”