VA Attorney General Opens Investigation Into American Muslims for Palestine Nonprofit
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Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares announced Tuesday he has opened an investigation into AJP Educational Foundation, Inc., also known as American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), for potential violations of Virginia's charitable solicitation laws.
In a statement, the Miyares office said the state, "has reason to believe that the organization may be soliciting contributions in the Commonwealth without first having registered with the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services."
In addition, "the attorney general's Consumer Protection Section will investigate allegations that the organization may have used funds raised for impermissible purposes under state law, including benefiting or providing support to terrorist organizations," the statement said.
The AJP Educational Foundation Inc. is a public nonprofit with headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia. Its website explains the "Americans for Justice in Palestine Educational Foundation (AJP) is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization, and is the fiscal sponsor of The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)."
AMP has been a major promoter of massive pro-Palestinian protests across the U.S. demanding a cease-fire in Gaza, according to The Ohio Star.
The group reportedly has been a major promoter of the Hamas-inspired Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, the outlet reported.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has said the AMP is the leading organization providing anti-Zionist training and education to students and Muslim community organizations in the country. The ADL claims AMP promotes extreme anti-Israel views and has at times provided a platform for antisemitism under the guise of educating Americans about "the just cause of Palestine and the rights of self-determination."
CBN News reached out to the AJP Educational Foundation Inc. for comment. In a statement, the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) called Miyares' announcement "the latest attempt to smear and silence American Muslims who speak up for Palestinian human rights," labeling the investigation "not only defamatory, but dangerous."
"Right now, American Muslims are facing a rising tide of hate: attacks on peaceful protesters, doxxing of college students, bomb threats against events, and even the brutal murder of a 6-year-old boy in Chicago," the statement said.
The group accused Virginia's attorney general of "contributing to the hate with tired Islamophobic tropes and promises of a witch hunt straight from the McCarthy-era."
"American Muslims for Palestine is a duly registered non-profit organization that has stood up for justice here and abroad for over a decade in compliance with the law. If Attorney General Miyares has identified an issue with our license to fundraise in Virginia, that is a common and easily resolvable civil issue that many non-profits face and fix. By publicly making this dishonest public announcement, Mr. Miyares is clearly attempting to score political points with hateful extremists," the statement said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which the U.S. Justice Department has linked to Hamas, also responded to the attorney general's announcement in a post on the social media platform X, calling Miyares' investigation of AMP "a witch hunt."
"We strongly condemn @JasonMiyaresVA for this dangerous and defamatory political posturing," CAIR wrote. "Our legal team is in communication with @AMPalestine to help protect their rights. Targeting Muslim and Palestinian American organizations with baseless and irresponsible smears threatens the safety of their staffers and the communities they serve..."
As CBN News has reported, in 2007 CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in American history. And in 2009, a U.S. federal judge ruled that "ample evidence" exists tying CAIR to the Hamas terrorist group.
According to Courthouse News Service, under Virginia state law, every organization must file an initial registration statement with the state agriculture and consumer services commissioner. The statement must include this language: "No funds have been or will knowingly be used, directly or indirectly, to benefit or provide support, in cash or in kind, to terrorists, terrorist organizations, terrorist activities, or the family members of any terrorist."
The law also says, "No person shall be registered by the commonwealth or by any locality to solicit funds that are intended to benefit or support terrorists, terrorist organizations or terrorist activities."
As CBN News reported in December 2021, Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president of Research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies told CBN News the source of the BDS Movement's cash is "very murky."
"You have a lot of groups operating on what appears to be shoestring budgets and yet we see the BDS movement flourish and thrive across college campuses. I think what it means is this is a very de-centralized funding network," he said.
In 2016, Schanzer testified before Congress and shared his research into the funding of the BDS Movement.
"We finally stumbled on one group called American Muslims for Palestine and as it turns out, many of them worked for charities that were previously shut down by the U.S. government for supporting Hamas," Schanzer said. "This, of course, came as a surprise to us. The more we dug, the more we realized that there was a network, a relatively small one but apparently influential that was active on campus… I think ultimately that, even if this group is not engaging in anything illegal, and I think it's important to stress that, their background is important. It's not just simply a social justice movement motivated by very ideological reasons."
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