Sarasota Herald Tribune Never Reported Local Imam Muneer Arafat’s Arrest and Links to Al-Qaeda That Was Front Page News at St. Louis Post-Dispatch So I Will

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Sarasota Herald Tribune Never Reported Arrest of Imam Muneer Arafat or His Testimony at a Federal Grand Jury Terrorism Investigation in St Louis or His Undercover Work For FBI in 2002. The November 20th, 2002 arrest of Sarasota Imam Muneer Arafat was front page news in St Louis on January 20th, 2003. On the other hand the Sarasota Herald Tribune never reported the November 2002 arrest of Imam Muneer Arafat by Federal Agents in Sarasota Fl for overstaying his visa. The Sarasota Herald Tribune never reported that after his November 2002 arrest Muneer Arafat was required to give testimony at a Federal Grand Jury Terrorism Investigation in St Louis concerning links to the 9/11 attacks and information about his former Al-Qaeda linked roommate Ziyad Sadqua aka Ziyad Khaeel. “One witnesses was Muneer Arafat, who formerly lived in the St Louis area and moved in 2000 to Sarasota, Fla where he was the Imam of a mosque, Arafat is a Kuwaiti of Palestinian descent”

Muneer Arafat was the Imam at the Sarasota Bradenton Islamic Center Mosque at 4350 N. Lockwood Ridge Rd Sarasota Fl from March of 2000 to the end of 2003. Mohamed Atta and other 9/11 Hijackers followed Muneer Arafat to the Sarasota area in June of 2000. The Sarasota Saudi al-Hiijjii Family had been members of the Sarasota Bradenton Islamic Center Mosque, where Muneer Arafat was the Imam, from at least 1996 until their departure in August 2001. It would not be unreasonable to maintain that Muneer Arafat also visited the 4224 Escondito Circle house as he was the al-Hiijjii family’s Imam or Holy Man from March 2000 to August 2001. 

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is the major regional newspaper in St. Louis, serving Greater St. Louis, founded December 12, 1878 by Joseph Pulitzer. It is one of the largest newspapers in the Midwestern United States, and is available and read as far west as Kansas City, Missouri, as far south as Memphis, Tennessee, and as far north as Springfield, Illinois. It is the only remaining printed daily newspaper in St. Louis. As of 2011, the owner is Lee Enterprises of Davenport, Iowa, which purchased Pulitzer, Inc. in 2005 in a cash deal valued at $1.46 billion. Following is the St. Louis Post-Dispatch front page article from January 20th, 2003 that implicates Sarasota Imam Muneer Arafat and his roommate Ziyad Sadaqa aka Ziyad Khaleel and there world of Islamic terrorism.


Karen Branch-Brioso, And Peter Shinkle Of The Post-Dispatch
PUBLICATION: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
DATE: January 20, 2003
A wide-ranging federal grand jury investigation in St. Louis is looking into possible terrorist connections in the Muslim community here, according to people familiar with the inquiry. Among the subjects of the investigation are two small mosques, Muslim businessmen and fund-raising efforts for Palestinian groups. Prosecutors also have asked grand jury witnesses about Ziyad Sadaqa, a former resident of Columbia, Mo., and the St. Louis area who bought the satellite telephone that al-Qaeda leaders (Osama bin Laden) used to plot the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Sadaqa, who was never charged in the bombings, raised money here for Palestinian groups. He reportedly was killed in an auto accident in Saudi Arabia last year, but federal authorities apparently suspect he may still be alive. “The feds thought that this Ziyad guy faked his death at hajj the pilgrimage to Mecca to get out of legal trouble,” said a source familiar with the prosecutors’ questioning. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Fagan, who heads the St. Louis FBI anti-terrorism task force formed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, would not discuss or even confirm the existence of the investigation (Secret FBI Investigation). The inquiry appears to be a broad one. Ziyad Sadaqa Prosecutors have asked at least two grand jury witnesses about their involvement with Sadaqa in St. Louis, sources said. One of the witnesses was Muneer Arafat, who formerly lived in Manchester with Sadaqa and moved in 2000 to Sarasota, Fla., where he became the Imam of a mosque (Islamic Society of Sarasota and Bradenton). A Kuwaiti of Palestinian descent, Arafat was arrested in November 2002 in Sarasota for overstaying his visa. A federal official from St. Louis was present for his arrest, according to Husni Albargauthi, who is acting as imam at the Sarasota mosque in Arafat’s absence. Just as his immigration hearing came up in Florida, Arafat was transported to St. Louis to testify before the grand jury December 18 2002, sources said. Muneer Arafat is now being held at the Jennings City Jail, awaiting return to immigration authorities’ custody in Florida. In an interview with the Post-Dispatch in October 2002, Muneer Arafat said he had met Sadaqa at a mosque in Columbia where Arafat was giving a speech. Later, in 2000, the two men rented rooms at a home in Manchester in west St. Louis County. There, they began working on an effort to raise money to send to Palestinians in the Middle East, said Arafat, who said he is no relation to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Minutes of fund-raising meetings prepared by Sadaqa state that Sadaqa, Arafat and others met repeatedly to plan a fund-raiser at a Denny’s restaurant on North Hanley Road. The Post-Dispatch obtained copies of the minutes, which show that the money was intended for the Islamic Association for Palestine, a Chicago-based group (Hamas Front). The association has been accused by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service of having links to Hamas, the militant Islamic group that runs social service programs in the West Bank and Gaza and which also has claimed responsibility for many terrorist attacks. Rafeeq Jaber, president of the association, said it did receive some money as a result of the St. Louis fund-raiser, though he couldn’t remember how much. He denied his group represents or acts on behalf of Hamas. Arafat said the $20,000 raised at the event went not to the association but to a different organization, the Holy Land Relief Foundation for Relief and Development, in Texas (convicted Hamas Front). “It went directly to the orphans (of suicide bombers) and the needy in Palestine and Gaza for their education and medicine,” Muneer Arafat said. The foundation’s use of money has come under scrutiny. In December 2001, the U.S. Treasury Department froze its assets, claiming that the foundation’s leaders were members of Hamas (they were all convicted in 2008). The department charged that the foundation was Hamas’ main funding arm in the United States and that it funneled money to terrorists. Last month, a federal grand jury in Dallas indicted the foundation’s head, Ghassan Elashi, and his four brothers on charges that they illegally sold computer equipment through their Dallas-based company to Syria and Libya and laundered money (all convicted). Also indicted was a Hamas leader, Mousa Abu Marzook, who allegedly made a $250,000 investment in the company. Ziyad  Sadaqa largely dropped off authorities’ radar screens after he moved to Saudi Arabia in late 2000, although they did inquire about him after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. But two to three months ago, FBI agents and then a U.S. Marshals Service agent returned to ask Driss Ziadi, Sadaqa’s former tenant, more about him – how they had met, where he might be, the people he associated with in St. Louis. The week before Christmas, prosecutors asked more questions about Sadaqa at the grand jury of at least two witnesses, including Sarasota Imam Muneer Arafat. They asked questions about other associates of Sadaqa, according to sources familiar with the proceedings, and they showed witnesses photographs of people leaving a St. Louis prayer room as well. The prayer room, run by a group that calls itself Unity Refugees Welfare, is in an apartment building at 925 Allen Avenue and is called al Qubaa mosque. Ali Syed, who manages the mosque, said that he was unaware of the federal inquiry and that the FBI had not contacted him. Syed said he knew Muneer Arafat from his (Jihad) speeches several years ago at another mosque near St. Louis University, but he did not know Sadaqa. Syed said the 2-year-old mosque had not engaged in fund raising, at least partly because it did not yet have nonprofit status. Another mosque that came up in the grand jury investigation is the Islamic Institute of Learning at 5388 Geraldine Avenue in St. Louis. Its co-founder, Mujahid Abdulqaadir Menepta, was taken into custody as a material witness in Oklahoma City soon after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks after federal agents saw him on television, defending Zacarias Moussaoui, a man who federal agents believe was training to act with the Sept. 11 hijackers. Moussaoui was arrested in August 2001 after he raised suspicions at a flight-training school. Menepta, a St. Louis native who had moved to Oklahoma City, befriended Moussaoui at an Oklahoma City mosque. Prosecutors eventually released him as a material witness in the Sept. 11 investigation but prosecuted him on an unrelated federal weapons charge. Menepta was released from prison Nov. 12 and now lives in St. Louis. Prosecutors asked many questions about Menepta, the mosque and a number of African-American Muslims during the December testimony, according to the grand jury witness who spoke to the Post-Dispatch. “Their questions were repeatedly, ‘Did any of these people ever discuss training for jihad in the United States?'” said the witness, who said he told prosecutors he had seen weapons in the mosque several years ago that were meant for protection.. yeah right.


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