Source: Columbia Missourian
For the past year, the Muslim community in mid-Missouri has been under more scrutiny than any other religious group.
Just last month, five men linked to a Columbia-based Islamic charity, the Islamic American Relief Agency-USA, were accused of illegally trafficking $1.4 million in funds to a Sudan-based organization with ties to a then-Saddam Hussein controlled Iraq. The men are charged with stealing government and public money and misrepresenting their fundraising goals to the public. Two of the men, Mubark Hamed and Ahmad Mustafa, live in Columbia; a third, Ali Mohamed Bagegni, is a former resident.
In September — in a separate incident — the FBI searched the home of Shakir Hamoodi, a well-known community leader and a member of the Islamic Center of Mid-Missouri, in connection with his work for Life for Relief, a Michigan-based charity that helps people in countries that include Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Despite the recent 33-count indictment and the FBI investigation, the Islamic Center has not stopped encouraging its members to be very active in the community, said Hend El-Buri, an Islamic Center of Central Missouri women’s committee member. Nor has it made them reconsider their annual open house.