It is a neighborhood of green lawns and brick colonials just 10 miles from the White House, a place where bumper stickers proclaim: “Proud to Be An American.” Residents of the Prince George’s County development call it Barnaby Knolls.
U.S. law enforcement officials have coined another name for it: Hamas Heights.
Documents filed in a recent court case show that a leader of the Palestinian group Hamas, which is formally known as the Islamic Resistance Movement and has been declared a terrorist group by the U.S. government, invested about $1 million to develop the neighborhood in Oxon Hill in the early 1990s. Among the other investors named in the project: relatives of Osama bin Laden and a Saudi businessman now accused of ties to al Qaeda.
No one faces criminal charges in connection with the modest homes, bought mainly by African American, middle-class families. At the time the investors got involved in the project, none had been publicly linked to terrorism by the U.S. government. Bin Laden’s family disowned him in the 1990s and faces no terrorist accusations.
Still, U.S. officials have argued in court that the Oxon Hill development was intended, in part, to make money for Hamas and the leader, Mousa Abu Marzook, at a time when neither was on the terrorist list in the United States. Abu Marzook’s attorney denies his client was investing money for Hamas.
What drew such an unusual cast of investors to a sleepy development of cul-de-sacs and broad streets, flanked by homes decorated with flowerpots and concrete birdbaths? Abu Marzook’s attorney, Stanley Cohen, said the Hamas leader wanted “to make a profit,” like any normal, free-enterprise-loving businessman. He disputes the government’s allegations that his client continued to benefit from it after he was placed on the U.S. terrorist list.
Residents who were told about the investors were stunned.
Source: Washington Post