Last summer, Muslims in Sydney, Australia donated more than $70,000 to a group called the Lebanese Muslim Association (LMA) in order to help the victims of last year's Israel-Hezbollah war.
However, LMA President Tom Zreika told The Australian newspaper last month that one of the fundraisers had been delaying accounting to the LMA for approximately $38,000 (USD).
The Australian Federal Police are investigating the fundraising as a possible breach of Australia's new anti-terrorism laws. Taj al-Din al-Hilali (the fundraiser in question) announced this weekend he was launching his own inquiry into how the donations were distributed throughout war-torn Lebanon.
The Egyptian-born mufti said on the weekend through his spokesman Keysar Trad that the inquiry would determine the money trail. But documents uncovered by The Australian this month reveal Sheik Hilali's handwritten notes on whom he gave some of the money to, including a $US10,000 ($11,900) payment to Lebanese political leader Sheik Bilal Shaaban, who has alleged links to the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah.The Muslim community was not impressed.
Even if he didn't give it to Hezbollah, how could he not know where the money went?
In the latest development in the controversy, the mufti denies he was responsible for the cash.It's bad enough some Muslim donors have to be scared that their charitable giving will make them the target of police prosecution, I doubt they need the extra worry of fundraisers with poor record keeping like Sheik Hilali making things worse.
“The Lebanese Muslim Association (LMA) in Lakemba, upon my suggestion, sent the money to Lebanon to (LMA agent) Sheik Yahya Safi,” the mufti told SBS Radio before boarding his flight from Cairo.
“I wish he would open his mouth and confirm this because he is a witness.