The AP’s Matt Kelley reports some disturbing news about donations tied to former Rocket star Hakeem Olajuwon’s mosque:
A mosque established and funded by basketball star Hakeem Olajuwon gave more than $80,000 to charities the government later determined to be fronts for the terror groups al-Qaida and Hamas, according to financial records obtained by The Associated Press.
Olajuwon told the AP he had not known of any links to terrorism when the donations were made, prior to the government’s crackdown on the groups, and would not have given the money if he had known.
“There is no way you can go back in time,” Olajuwon said in a telephone interview from Jordan, where he is studying Arabic. “After the fact, now they have the list of organizations that are banned by the government.”
The government shut down the relief agency in October, saying it gave money and other support to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida.
But the agency and its possible ties to terrorism had been in news stories years earlier, before Olajuwon’s contributions….
Expect the local coverage — once there is local coverage that is not simply a rewrite of the AP story — to emphasize that Islam is a religion of peace, and to emphasize further that Olajuwon didn’t know much about the organizations that received so much money from his organization.