In June, a flurry of press coverage in Western New York reported on the close relationship between District Attorney William Hochul and local Muslim leader Dr. Khalid Qazi. Vows of mutual respect and support were exchanged between Hochul and Qazi, and so were ceremonial awards. The Department of Justice gave Qazi its Attorney General’s Citizen Volunteer Service Award for Community Service at a June 5th ceremony.
Qazi reciprocated on June 7th by honoring DA Hochul at the 10th Anniversary banquet of the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Western New York, of which he is the founder and Senior Adviser. Also present at the banquet were Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and William Hochul’s wife, Kathy Hochul, a former Congresswoman currently running for lieutenant governor of New York on Andrew Cuomo’s Democratic ticket.
But, as will be shown herein, there is evidence that Qazi may be far from the moderate Muslim-American leader portrayed by Hochul and in the Buffalo media. In fact, a just-released, independently-created video by Americans for Peace and Tolerance (our organization) presents evidence that shows that Qazi has a long history of supporting Islamic extremist activity, including raising money for an Al Qaeda charity accused of funneling funds to Al Qaeda and serving as a director of what the FBI alleges is an American front group for a Pakistani intelligence operation aimed at buying influence with American politicians.
U.S. Attorney William Hochul should be well-aware of Qazi’s background, since his own Justice Department has over the past decade investigated and prosecuted several of Qazi’s apparent associates, as well as helped shut down several groups that Qazi has apparently worked with or led in an official capacity.
Khalid Qazi did not respond to an emailed request for comment on the allegations below.
Global Relief Foundation
On February 26, 2000, Dr. Khalid Qazi travelled to Boston University to speak at an event to raise money for the Global Relief Foundation (GRF). The event, organized by the Islamic Society of Boston University, was ostensibly to discuss and raise money for those affected by the conflict in Kashmir.
Dr. Qazi was introduced by the GRF’s founder and treasurer, Hazem Ragab. Shortly after his fundraiser with Qazi, the FBI approached Ragab for questioning. Ragab fled the United States.On December 14, 2011, the FBI raided GRF and shut it down as an Al Qaeda-supporting charity.
At the Boston University event, Qazi congratulated “all the brothers at Global Relief for the wonderful work they are doing around the Muslim world.” He made his political sympathies clear in his presentation and told the crowd at Boston University that one day, with the help of their donations to Global Relief, India will be chased out of Kashmir. He also referred to the jihadi terrorists operating in Kashmir as “freedom fighter[s].”
Kashmiri American Council
Khalid Qazi attended the Boston University GRF event as the director of a non-profit group, the Kashmiri American Council (KAC). Dr. Qazi has led the Kashmiri American Council as a board member since the 1990s. On July 19th, 2011, the group’s president was arrested and charged by Eric Holder’s Department of Justice with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act by, among other things, funneling 4 million of dollars from his handlers in Pakistan to contribute to U.S. elected officials, fund high-profile conferences, and pay for other efforts that promoted the Kashmiri cause to decision makers in Washington D.C.
The FBI alleged that the Kashmiri American Council was run by elements of the Pakastani government, including the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI).
The ISI is notorious for supporting Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists operating in Kashmir. It has been accused of assisting the terror group Lashkar-e-Taibah in carrying out the 2009 Mumbai attacks, and might even have helped harbor Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. Yet just two months before the FBI exposed KAC as an ISI front, William Hochul held a press conference with Qazi to tell the community that he and Qazi “have a very long tradition of working here in Western New York together and we will continue that.” Qazi was still a board member of the KAC as of 2012.
The Kashmiri American Council is not the only organization with alleged connecttions to terrorism in which Qazi has played a leadership role. Before he founded the Western New York chapter of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Qazi was the Executive Director of the American Muslim Council chapter in Western New York. American Muslim Council founder Abdulrahman Alamoudi was in Washington, DC, in October of 2000 expressing his support for Hamas and Hizbullah.
The American Muslim Council no longer functions–Abdulrahman Alamoudi was arrested on terrorism charges in 2003 and is now serving a 23-year prison sentence for helping to finance terrorism. At his trial, federal prosecutors accused Alamoudi of being the most important Al Qaeda fundraiser in America. Yet just like Dr. Qazi now, before his arrest, Alamoudi was respected in the highest reaches of society and government. In 2002, a spokesman for FBI Director Robert Mueller described Alamoudi and Qazi’s AMC as “the most mainstream Muslim group in the United States.” In 2003, shortly before Alamoudi’s arrest, a group of Catholic bishops called the AMC, “the premier, mainstream Muslim group in Washington.” There is a pattern of mistaking Muslim extremists for moderates.
Muslim Public Affairs Council
MPAC has its own skeletons in the closet. MPAC’s President, Salam Al-Marayati, who was the featured speaker at the banquet honoring William Hochul, demanded just a few hours after 9/11 that “we should put the state of Israel on the suspect list.” MPAC’s Director of Policy and Programming, Edina Lecovic, was the editor of a UCLA Muslim student magazine when it published an article praising Osama Bin Laden as a “great Mujahid” and a “freedom fighter.” MPAC has been accused of publicly defending terrorist organizations and their supporters.
Americans for Peace and Tolerance believes that District Attorney William Hochul and the Department of Justice need to do their homework, end all collaborative relationships with Khalid Qazi and MPAC, rescind all DOJ and FBI awards to Qazi, and institute stricter guidelines for vetting interfaith community partners for extremist ties going forward.