U.S. Conducts Searches of Muslims in Virginia for Suspected Terrorist Ties

IMPORTANT: The full content of this page is available to premium users only.

Wednesday, May 1, 2002
Bruce Zagaris
On March 21, 2002, U.S. Customs Service agents conduct searches of Northern Virginia locations in an investigation of possible money laundering, tax evasion, and transnational terrorist activities. Over a two-day period law enforcement authorities searches 16 homes, businesses, schools and organizations in Falls Church, Leesburg, Herndon and other places in Fairfax County, Virginia. Investigators obtained search warrants and seized computers, financial records and boxes of other documents of the most reputable Islamic organizations and leaders. The focus of the investigation is a group of entities and charities based in Herndon that one of Saudi Arabia’s leading financial families, the al-Rajhis, started. The group has owned or invested in many businesses globally, including office buildings in downtown Washington, D.C., a large poultry business in Georgia, and dairy farms in Zimbabwe. Suleiman Abdel Aziz al-Rajhi, a Saudi banker and financier, has close ties to the Saudi ruling family. Investigators are also looking at Hisham Al-Talib, who served as an officer of SAAR, the International Institute of Islamic thought and Safa Trust Inc., another Mirza charity, during the 1960s, was also an officer of entities operated by Youssef M. Nada. An Executive Order froze Mr. Nada’s assets as connected with terrorists.