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September 15, 2008

The Failure of Sunrise Equities

UPDATED, OCT. 17, 2008: ALSO SEE OBAMA CONNECTED TO SUNRISE EQUITIES, PART ONE DEVELOPING: There is a major financial scandal brewing in Chicago's muslim community, as reported by Bill Morton. Sunrise Equities was a developer of mixed use and residential real estate in the Chicagoland area. It has gone under. While this is not the biggest financial story of the day, it has left hundreds of investors devastated and is likely to affect Chicago families and investors more deeply than the Bank of America Corp.’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch or the pending Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. The CEO of Sunrise Equities, Salman Ibrahim, and other officers have gone missing. Investors are panicking. Morton reports that Ibrahim donated to Alderman Joe Moore (Democrat), and The Bench finds that he also donated to Barack Obama in 2006 and in 2004, and has more recently donated at least twice to Sen. Joe Biden in 2006. Ibrahim was also a chairman of NEXTEC Engineering, Ltd., which lists its head office addres as 61A, Block-B, Main Boulevard,Johar Town in Lahore, Pakistan. Today, the web site no longer has any reference to Salman Ibrahim. This scandal has citywide ripples: A March 10, 2006 press release from Sunrise Equities bragged about a transaction in Uptown: "Sunrise Equities is pleased to announce the purchase of 4 parcels near the corner of Leland and Marine Drive. A yet unnamed project is under development and will be the largest project under the SunRise umbrella. The mixed use development plan will call for up to 150 condos and townhomes as well as community retail." (Also see www.uptownchicagocommission.org/apr_1_07.html) More press releases can be seen on the Sunrise Equities web site, which also lists major projects that they were involved in. The Muslim Media Network (MMN) reported this on Sept. 11: "According to latest reports coming from Chicago the management of Sunrise Equities and the affiliated Sunrise Constructions have disappeared after closing their offices. Sunrise CEO Salman Ibrahim, Vice President Amjed Mahmood, and Vice President (Community Relations) Mohammad Akbar Zahid are untraceable." MMN also reports that "Sunrise Equities, a Chicago based financial services firm which claimed to be Shariah compliant, has gone under leaving many area Muslims robbed of their savings. Incorporated in 2001 the firm claimed that all its services were in compliant with Islamic laws and had the endorsement of a leading religious scholar." Following is a press release from the Shariah Board of America in an attempt to quiet down the rumor firestorm raging around this: Shariah Board of America's response to the Sunrise Equities financial crisis facing the Muslim Community Chicago, IL, September 6, 2008: It has been brought to the attention of the Board of Directors of Rahmat-e-Alam Foundation that there have been several false rumors and innuendos labeled against Shariah Board and its’ officers regarding the failure of Sunrise Equities. In particular, there are misleading emails and newspaper articles that falsely allege the involvement of the leadership of Shariah Board with Sunrise Equities. This press release is intended to set the facts straight: • If it is true that Sunrise Equities is financially insolvent and their officers are missing, then Shariah Board of America is deeply shocked and saddened by this turn of events. If the allegations leveled against Salman Ibrahim and other officers of Sunrise Equities are true, then Shariah Board expresses their deepest disappointment with these individuals. We strongly empathize with the investors of Sunrise Equities and pray for them. May Allah (swt) limit their losses, grant them Sabar and Naimal Badal. Shariah Board is making a sincere appeal to the officers of Sunrise Equities to come forward and answer questions from their investors. • It is true that Salman Ibrahim, like hundreds of other Muslims, has been a supporter of Shariah Board. He was also a member of the Board. But it is completely false that Shariah Board or its’ officers supported Sunrise Equities quid pro quo. Shariah Board categorically denies the false allegation that its’ officers received any compensation, living expenses or any other benefit for supporting Salman Ibrahim as a trustable and reliable businessman. In addition, in light of recent circumstances, the Directors of Shariah Board have unanimously agreed and removed Salman Ibrahim from the Board. Contact: Syed Mohammed Ali Farid 7045 N. Western Ave. Chicago, Illinois 60645 Phone 773 764 8274 Ext. 26 Fax 773 764 8497 smafarid@rahmatealam.org • Shariah Board, in consultation with worldwide Islamic Scholars, provides Islamic guidance to companies seeking to offer Shariah compliant products. This includes banks like Devon Bank, Broadway Bank, Mutual Bank, and companies like Guidance Financial, Ijara Finance, Lariba and Sunrise Equities. This consultation is limited to providing answers to Shariah compliance questions and reviewing documents. Shariah Board or its’ officers do not participate in the Management or Operations of any company. Shariah Board is not involved in any transactions between the companies and their clients. Like other companies, Sunrise Equities also sought answers on Shariah compliance and was provided with religious guidance. The actions of the officers of Sunrise Equities were undertaken at their sole discretion. Any attempt by individuals or organizations to link Shariah Board and its’ officers with Sunrise Equities is a case of serious defamation and will be dealt with the strongest legal response possible. Shariah Board is your community service organization. But there are individuals and organizations that are perpetuating false rumors and accusations to discredit the Shariah Board. They want to impede the services of the organization so that authentic Islamic work cannot continue in this community. It is the responsibility of every community member to dispel these false rumors. It is our sincere appeal that you recognize the truth and remain steadfast in support of Shariah Board and its’ leadership. May Allah (swt) bless us with wisdom and enable us to continue this authentic work of deen. RELATED: OBAMA CONNECTED TO SUNRISE EQUITIES, PART ONE N E X T E C ::: Engineering Next Generation - Salman Ibrahim is a Chairman of Nextec. He is also a President and Chief Executive Officer of Sunrise Equities Inc, Chicago. NOTE: Salman Ibrahim's name is no longer on NEXTEC's web site. FREE IN THE USA IBF CPI Financial Sunrise Equities of Chicago was established in 2001 and is a ... projects under the supervision of its president and chief executive, Salman Ibrahim. Islamic Finance World - North America 2008 - programme Salman Ibrahim, CEO, Sunrise Equities and Development....Shariah compliant real estate opportunities in Canada... Islamic Banking and Finance in the United States ... U$D80000 and the Board rely on the generous contributions of the public. ... Brother Salman Ibrahim, a real estate agent has a great passion for Islamic ...

October 17, 2008

OBAMA CONNECTED TO SUNRISE EQUITIES, PART ONE

OBAMA'S OCTOBER SUNRISE SURPRISE - PART ONE

UPDATE: Obama's Connections to Sunrise Equities, Part Two by Tom Mannis, Chicago News Bench http://rogersparkbench.blogspot.com October 17, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: PART ONE - Background of the 2008 Sunrise Equities Scandal

CHICAGO - Barack Obama has strong ties
to a Chicago investment company that ripped off investors for a total of approximately $80 million. Sunrise Equities shut down in August when its CEO, Salman Ibrahim, and other top officers vanished. The money seems to have gone with them. Now, the Illinois Secretary of State and the FBI are investigating the scandal.

About 150 investors, mostly Muslim, learned in August that they had lost all of their savings to the Sunrise Equities fraud. Sunrise Equities, a shariah-compliant investment firm, targeted investors who were mostly Pakistani Muslim immigrants. Many the victims took out home-equity loans to make ends meet.

The Muslim Media Network (MMN) reported this on Sept. 11:

"According to latest reports coming from Chicago the management of Sunrise Equities and the affiliated Sunrise Constructions have disappeared after closing their offices. Sunrise CEO Salman Ibrahim, Vice President Amjed Mahmood, and Vice President (Community Relations) Mohammad Akbar Zahid are untraceable."

As financial scandals go, this one pales next to the implosions of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. However, to the hundreds of investors in Chicago who have been ruined by Sunrise Equities, the Fannie-Freddie mess might as well be in another galaxy. Salman Ibrahim and Sunrise Equities have ruined people here just as profoundly as any bank closing in the country has hurt others. Salman Ibrahim gained the trust of investors with the help of religious Muslim leaders, who approved of and even recommended investing with Sunrise Equities because it followed shariah rules, or Islamic law.

The Illinois Secretary of State and the FBI are investigating the scandal. Will Homeland Security be investigating this? After all, Ibrahim is a foreign national. Furthermore, he is rumored by many along the “Devon Corridor” of West Ridge to be a Taliban sympathizer.

The tragedy of Sunrise Equities has ripples throughout Chicago: A March 10, 2006 press release from Sunrise Equities bragged about a transaction in the nearby Uptown neighborhood:

"Sunrise Equities is pleased to announce the purchase of 4 parcels near the corner of Leland and Marine Drive. A yet unnamed project is under development and will be the largest project under the Sun Rise umbrella. The mixed use development plan will call for up to 150 condos and townhomes as well as community retail."

More press releases are available on the Sunrise Equities web site, which also lists major projects in which they were involved.

The Chicago Tribune reported on September 24, 2008:

The Shariah Board of America's approval of investing in Sunrise Equities led dozens of other Chicago-area Muslims—mostly Indians and some Pakistanis—to invest and lose hundreds of thousands of dollars with the company, which says it developed multiunit residential buildings in Chicago, the investors said.

Investors said they don't know if the company suffered losses because of the declining real estate market or for other reasons. Salman Azam, an attorney hired by several investors, said Sunrise's Chief Executive Officer Salman Ibrahim has not been seen since August. Sunrise's offices off Devon Avenue are closed. At his home, mail spills out of his mailbox.

Neither Ibrahim nor his attorneys could be reached for comment Monday and Tuesday. Another principal in Sunrise, Amjed Mahmood, declined to comment, saying he had been a vice president in the company and the "corporation had gone down." He said he lost $500,000 and was now driving a taxi.

For years, Ibrahim and his associates have been heavily involved in Democrat Party political affairs. Ibrahim donated to Barack Obama and to Joe Biden, Local Democrats, such as 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore and 50th Ward Alderman Bernie Stone, benefited as well.

There are questions, then, that must be asked. Where did the missing $80 million go? Did any of that money go to terrorist entities? Inasmuch as Ibrahim is suspected by some in his now-former neighborhood to be sympathetic to radical Islamic groups, the authorities must be wondering where the money went. Was it transferred to accounts overseas? Will Ibrahim, Mahmood and Zahid keep the money for personal benefit? Was any of it transferred to enemies of the United States, such as alQaeda?

According the most recent US Treasury Terrorist Assets Report (TAR), more than $20.7 million was blocked in 2007 that might otherwise have gone to international terrorist organizations and individuals. That's a big increase from the $16.4 million block in 2006. Al-Qaeda's share in 2007 is estimated to have been more than $11.3 million, which is 46 percent more than in 2006.

The amount of blocked funds pertaining to international terrorist organizations and individuals, totaled over $20.7 million in 2007, compared to $16.4 million in 2006. Of that, over $11.3 million constituted assets of al-Qaeda, an increase of almost 46 percent over the level blocked as of the end of 2006. The Bench is not saying that Sunrise Equities officers were terrorists or gave money to terrorists. That is an unknown, but that is the point. As noted, people much close to Ibrahim allege that his sympathies lie with the Taliban. The Taliban, as we all know, sympathizes with al-Qaeda.

The US Government needs to quickly and thoroughly investigate the Sunrise Equities scandal, with involves around $80 million. That's almost four times as much as was blocked by the US Treasury in all of 2007.

Barack Obama has long had strong ties to Muslims and to Pakistanis. He also has long and strong ties to Sunrise Equities and Salman Ibrahim.

Obama wanted a satellite fundraising office in the “Devon Corridor,” the largely Indian-Pakistani section of Chicago’s West Ridge neighborhood on the north side. Salman Ibrahim was happy to help. Free office space was given to Obama’s campaign within Sunrise’s general offices at 6355 N. Claremont. Obama has long wooed Muslim voters, and did not have a physical presence in this part of Chicago, so the Sunrise location made logistical sense for Obama. It also made sense for Ibrahim and Sunrise as an effort to curry favor with rising star Barack Obama.

In 2004, Sunrise Investments gave Barack Obama free office space during his run for US Senate. The Bench has photographs of the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Clearly seen in the photos is Barack Obama and Salman Ibrahim.

We're not finished yet. Part Two of this story will examine Obama's connections to Salman Ibrahim and Sunrise Equities. Due to time constraints, The Bench will not detail here Obama's mysterious three weeks in Pakistan or his numerous Muslim associations. These are points that have been well covered already by a myriad of blogs and publications. Rather, The Bench hopes that the information presented here will alert others with more time and resources to the Sunrise Equities story and the Obama Connection. Perhaps they can pick up the ball and run with it.

NEXT: Obama's Connections to Sunrise Equities, Part Two

RELATED
Google search for "salman ibrahim" +"sunrise equities"

October 23, 2008

UPDATED: Obama's Connections to Sunrise Equities, Part Two

Add a possible murder to this story…
by Tom Mannis at The Bench http://rogersparkbench.blogspot.com
continued from OBAMA CONNECTED TO SUNRISE EQUITIES, PART ONE

Update/Addendum, 10-24-08: When this story was originally posted on 10-23-08, we said that we had photos of fugitive Salman Ibrahim, the missing CEO of Sunrise Equities. We said then that we were withholding them due to legal concerns. However, The Bench has decided to post part of one of those photos, shown here, which shows Ibrahim's face as he peers over the shoulder of Alderman Joe Moore (49th Ward) during a ribbon cutting ceremony for the free office space given to Barack Obama's 2004 US Senate race. As far as we can determine, this is the only photo of Ibrahim to be posted on a public web site ever. If you see Ibrahim, call the FBI.

RECAP: Sunrise Equities failed, leaving at least 150 investors in Chicago devastated. About $80 million of their money is missing. The Illinois Secretary of State is investigating, as is the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Sunrise’s CEO, Salman Ibrahim, was reportedly seen recently on the streets of Lahore, Pakistan. Ibrahim is said to be a Taliban sympathizer. Barack Obama has long ties to Ibrahim and Sunrise Equities, which gave him free office space in his 2004 campaign for US Senate.

CHICAGO - 24 October 2008 - (The Bench) - Just hours before this was to be posted, The Bench received an urgent - and disturbing - email. It alerted us to the premature death of one of the peripheral players in this drama, the larger drama of the implosion of Sunrise Equities.

Reported dead is radio talk show host Rehan Sheikh, a friend of The Bench. (Photo of Rehan Sheikh by Tom Mannis, taken Sept. 21 while broadcasting). In his early 40s, Rehan is believed to have died suddenly from unknown causes sometime between Thursday night, October 16 and Wednesday noon, October 22. There is a lot of mystery surrounding his death; the time, even the day, of his death is unknown. Rehan Sheikh was a resident of Rogers Park.

Sources tell The Bench that Rehan suffered “two heart attacks” shortly after eating at a Pakistani restaurant on Devon Avenue in Chicago’s West Ridge neighborhood, where he was a well-known and controversial figure.

The cause of death is unknown, but some in the community strongly suspect murder by means of deliberate food poisoning.

Rehan, a Pakistani immigrant to the US, drove a Yellow taxicab, but was better known as the host of radio talk show “Dil Se,” which aired every Sunday from 11:00 p.m. to midnight on WBCI 1240 AM in Chicago. Dil Se was an Urdu language talk show that covered current events of interest to Chicago’s Indian and Pakistani community.

The show’s topic on the night of Sunday, September 21, 2008 was Sunrise Equities, the missing $80 million and missing Sunrise CEO Salman Ibrahim. The Bench had the pleasure of sitting in the studio during that night’s live broadcast. Fluent in English, Rehan had no problem fielding the occasional caller who spoke English. All of the callers were very emotional about the Sunrise topic. You do not have to understand Urdu to get the emotion that poured from the callers that night.

Before and after that broadcast, Rehan spoke off-air about the Sunrise crisis. Among the things he related then, and at other times (some of which The Bench gets from reliable sources), was that Mohammed Tariq Siddiqui told him in April of this year that Salman Ibrahim was “going to vanish.” Siddiqui’s words were proved prophecy; about four months later, Ibrahim went missing along with $80 million and fellow Sunrise personnel.

Siddiqui, also known as “The Builder,” is currently a top bundler of Obama campaign donations. He is a former partner-associate of Sunrise Equities. A number of his real estate development projects in Chicago were to be built by Sunrise Development, a subsidiary of Sunrise Equities. (Siddiqui is profiled more, below).

The Bench listened in on a phone call in the middle of last week, in which Rehan reported that he had food poisoning. Rehan also said that his taxicab had recently been vandalized, its windows smashed. It should be emphasized that it is not yet known whether the damage to his cab and the sudden food poisoning are related. Rehan expressed fear for his own safety, however, regarding his role as person who was publicly discussing the Sunrise Equities story. There was, and still is, much heated emotion surrounding the issue.

There are some Muslims in the “Devon Corridor” community, the heavily Indian-Pakistani part of West Ridge, who view the sharia-compliant Sunrise Equities story as an embarrassment for Islam and would prefer that the story be kept “in the family” and not splashed all over the media. Rehan Sheikh was a media person who was splashing the story, so to speak, on a radio show that was popular among the very community that Sunrise Equities harmed so deeply.

A theory floating around today says that Rehan Sheikh was the victim of foul play that the food poisoning he suffered from may have been caused by food that may have been deliberately tampered with. The Bench must point out, however, that this is still only a theory. Furthermore, we will probably never know the true cause of death.

There is no body to examine, and no autopsy was performed.

Muslim tradition requires that a dead body be buried no more than one day after death, but allows for special circumstances. In the case of Rehan Sheikh, a friend who was very close to him for many years told a trusted source that his body was flown back to Pakistan for burial. No autopsy was - or will be - performed. The friend, fearing foul play and for personal safety, left Chicago for an extended and unspecified period.

Mystery surrounds even the transport of Rehan’s body. It is still not clear who arranged, so suddenly and with such short notice, to have Rehan’s body flown overseas.

OBAMA’S GREEN RIBBON CEREMONY

Barack Obama has long had strong ties to Muslims and to Pakistanis. He also has long and strong ties to Sunrise Equities and Salman Ibrahim. In 2004, Sunrise Investments gave Barack Obama free office space to use during his run for US Senate. Obama the free space primarily as a fundraising hub, but at least five of Obama’s campaign workers are said to have used the office for distribution of campaign lawn signs.

The Bench has photographs of the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the Obama-Sunrise offices. Clearly seen in the photos is Barack Obama and Salman Ibrahim. Because The Bench has seen photographs of that ribbon cutting, we have no doubt whatsoever that Obama had the office space referred to above. Our source tells us the photographer was hired by Sunrise Equities’ associate, Tariq Siddiqui, a major Obama fundraising bundler. (More about Siddiqui below.)

Copyright issues prevent The Bench from publishing those photos at this time, but we do have scanned copies hidden in multiple locations on multiple servers. If Barack Obama's legal piranhas want to sue The Bench as part of its nationwide media harassment campaign, The Bench would welcome the challenge and the free worldwide publicity that would be given to us by such action. The photographs are discussed more below.

The exact date of the ribbon cutting is not known, but is estimated by best accounts to have been in late July or early August in 2004. Obama's operatives have done a thorough job of scrubbing this (and much more) information from the Internet. After days of scouring the Internet, The Bench found no reference to that office. The Bench could not find the free office space listed anywhere as an in-kind donation to Obama after thoroughly searching the Internet, including the Illinois State Board of Elections.

The Obama-Sunrise fundraising office was a satellite campaign operation in the “Devon Corridor,” a largely Indian-Pakistani section of Chicago’s West Ridge neighborhood on the north side. Salman Ibrahim was happy to help. Free space was given to Obama’s campaign within Sunrise’s general offices at 6355 N. Claremont in West Ridge, Chicago. Obama has long wooed Muslim voters, and did not have a physical presence in this part of Chicago, so the Sunrise location made logistical sense. It also made sense for Ibrahim and Sunrise Equities as part an ongoing effort to curry favor with rising star Barack Obama.

Ibrahim immigrated to the US from Pakistan about 22 years ago. His is a rags-to-riches tale, lifting himself from driving a taxi to becoming a trusted CEO of a financial institution. In 1997, he earned a bachelor degree in accounting from Northeastern Illinois University and became a CPA. Sunrise Equities, founded in 2001 by Amjed Mahmood and Dr. Mohammed Akbar Zahid, recruited Ibrahim to set up sharia-compliant investment services because of his knowledge of finance. The Chicago Journal reported that Ibrahim "quickly became the company's CEO and president, advising neighborhood banks on mortgage and other programs in accordance with Islamic laws that prohibit interest-bearing loans, and getting those programs sanctioned by Islamic scholars." (Source)

Ibrahim associated himself and Sunrise Equities with the Shariah Board of America. He was one of their directors and its treasurer. Through this alliance, and alliances with local Muslim religious leaders, Ibrahim gained the trust of hundreds of investors. He always dressed in traditional Pakistani garb, with a bushy beard and doppa, a round skullcap. There was a functioning mosque in the basement of the Sunrise Equities offices, in a neighborhood that would not look out of place in any large Pakistani city. Fellow Muslims bought his act of piety. So did non-Muslim investors, most especially developers who allied themselves with affiliate Sunrise Development. The religious leaders and the Shariah Board were also caught off guard by the scandal. They disowned Ibrahim in early September.

The disaster of Sunrise Equities is not connected with the current economic crisis gripping most of the world. It has nothing to do with the meltdown of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Rather, it is the result of a group of men going bad, conning investors with kindness and religious piety, and leaving town in the middle of the night for parts unknown. The mystery of where Salman Ibrahim and his partners ran off to remains unsolved. The investigation, by both Illinois and Federal authorities, is still in its early stages.

The Bench wants to emphasize, again, that time is short and this story needs to get out quickly. This is a tiny operation, a blog, and we do not have the kind of resources that a large news organization could put in place on a story such as this. Therefore, in the following paragraphs, we will plow into the facts without concern for prose. Below details about certain key players associated with the Sunrise Equities scandal that support The Bench's contention that Barack Obama is tied to the perpetrators of this disaster.

THE 2004 OBAMA-SUNRISE PHOTOGRAPHS

BARACK OBAMA is in four of the photographs of the ribbon-cutting ceremony for his free office space at Sunrise Equities. He wore a charcoal gray, two-piece suit with a white shirt and a tie with gray and white stripes. Attendees at the ceremony include Salman Ibrahim, Salman Aftab, Tariq Siddiqui and his brother, Alderman Joe Moore (49th) and Alderman Berny Stone (50th) and an Obama campaign aide.

SALMAN IBRAHIM, CEO of Sunrise Equities, is in one of the photos, peeking into a room from a hallway. Only his head can be seen, over the shoulder of another attendee, Alderman Joe Moore. Ibrahim, as usual, was wearing a tan, round skullcap.

Crain’s Chicago Business reported that they requested an interview this past summer for a profile of Sunrise Equities. However, Ibrahim declined, telling Crain’s that his religious prohibited him from being photographed. Yet, he is smiling for, and seems fully aware of, the photographer taking pictures of the group.

Ibrahim donated money to both Barack Obama and to Joe Biden for several years. In 2004, he donated $2,000 to Obama’s US Senate general election campaign (Obama for Illinois, Inc.).

In 2006, he donated twice to Biden: $2,000 to Biden for President, Inc. (primary election) and $2,000 to DE Citizen for Biden (US Senate primary election).

Ibrahim is alleged to have overstayed his student visa in the 1980's, so for a time he may have been an illegal alien. He is said to have married an American citizen circa 2003-2004, allegedly so he could stay in the US legally. A brother, Imran, was deported near the time of that marriage for overstaying his visa. Prior to marrying the American woman, however, Ibrahim was reportedly already married in Pakistan. His first wife, a Pakistani, followed him to the US sometime in the late 1980s, and always wore a full burka in public. That first wife is reported to have left the US in late July or early August of 2008, just weeks before Ibrahim and fellow Sunrise Equities officers went missing. Still another source says that Ibrahim never legally divorce the first wife, leaving open the possibility that among Ibrahim’s alleged crimes is bigamy. That, however, is a side story for somebody else to investigate.

Ibrahim is thought by many to have returned to Pakistan. Some say he might be in Oman or Dubai. On Wednesday, October 15, radio talk show host Rehan Sheikh said that a friend of his saw Ibrahim in Lahore, Pakistan “within the past ten days,” meaning between October 5 and October 16 inclusive. Imran Ibrahim, brother of Salman Ibrahim, is listed as an officer of NEXTEC Engineering in Lahore.

AMJED MAHMOOD was not in any of the ribbon-cutting photos. Mahmood went missing for a while, too, but Rehan Sheikh said that he has resurfaced, his beard shaved off, and is now driving a taxicab. Mahmood was Senior Vice President of Sunrise Equities. Their web site said that he was “one of the founding members of Sunrise Equities and has a background in corporate sales and General Management. Mr. Mahmood, who possesses over twenty years of business experience and leadership, currently oversees the Sunrise Construction Group. His background in asset management, development and real estate investments provides a solid foundation of knowledge, experience and expertise in the real estate field.”

DR. MOHAMMED AKBAR ZAHID, Senior VP Community Relations at Sunrise Equities. He was not in any of the ribbon-cutting photos. Status and whereabouts unknown; not answering phone, not returning calls. From the Sunrise Equities web site: “Mohammad Akabar Zahid is also one of the founding members of Sunrise Equities. With extensive international experience both as a Physician and an Entrepreneur, Dr. Zahid brings both his experience and reputation to the Sunrise organization. In addition to shaping the companies overall vision, he is primarily responsible for guiding and enhancing the Sunrise image in the community.”

SALMAN AFTAB is in three of the Obama ribbon-cutting photos. He wore a dark gray or navy suit (bad camera flash) with an adhesive nametag on his right lapel, and black tie. Aftab ran unsuccessfully for the Chicago City Council in Chicago's 50th Ward against incumbent Berny Stone in 2007. In his IVI-IPO Chicago Aldermanic Questionnaire, Aftab listed "Finance Committee Senator Barack Obama for United States Senator" as one of his past "activities for other candidates." (He was a $2,000 donor to Obama for Illinois in 2004.) Aftab also listed "Arab /Asian / Muslim Liaison for Forrest Claypool for Cook County Board President" and "Field Organizer for 50th ward for Tony Peraica for County Board President." (Source: http://www.iviipo.org/) Aftab also claims to have raised over $125,000 for Obama's 2004 U.S. Senate campaign.

MOHAMMED TARIQ SIDDIQUI, also known as "the builder," is clearly seen in three of the photos. He and his brother (name unknown) flank Obama as Obama cuts a green ceremonial double ribbon. (Green, by the way, is the official color of Islam.) Siddiqui wore a dark gray or blue (that bad lighting again) suit and an open-collared blue shirt, no tie.

Siddiqui was once an associate-partner of Sunrise Equities but had something of a falling out with Ibrahim a few years ago. The personal friendship thinned. Siddiqui is still a major Obama bundler of campaign donations, raising more than $50,000 to date. Siddiqui has long been active in Democrat politics in Chicago and a supporter of both Obama and Biden. Siddiqui’s office was located in the same building as Sunrise Equities. He was a partner with Sunrise Equities and Sunrise Development in several construction projects. According to an earlier Chicago Journal report, "Sunrise is involved in 11 real estate development projects that are listed on the company's Web site. Seven of those 11 projects are deeded to Rogers Park developer Mohammed [Tariq] Siddiqui, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. Many of them remain unfinished."

Since mid-September of this year, a black Mercedes and silver Ford Explorer have been parked in the rear of Siddiqui's home on W. Farwell Avenue in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood. Both vehicles, a silver Ford Explorer and a black Mercedes Benz, have Indiana "dealer used" plates. The significance of this is uncertain, but they only appeared shortly after the Sunrise Equities scandal broke.

ALDERMAN BERNY STONE, city council member from the 50th Ward in West Ridge, is also in one of the photos. He his shaking Obama's hand as Obama appears to lurch toward him, through a group of 11 other men. Stone wore a light tan suit.

ALDERMAN JOE MOORE, city council member from the 49th Ward in Rogers Park (which borders West Ridge), is in three of the photos. Moore was wearing what appears to be a gray two-piece suit, with white shirt and a cheap red, black and white striped tie. Moore, a Democrat with deep ties to Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), has spent more time over the past six months outside of Chicago campaigning on behalf of Obama than he has spent on his city council duties. Moore's ex-wife was a delegate to this year's Democrat National Convention; they are very close to Schakowsky and her convicted felon husband Robert Creamer. Moore has become discredited within his own party as a viable politician since he spent more than one million dollars to barely win reelection in an April 2007 run-off, but hopes that an Obama win will get him a job in Washington next year.

As stated in Part One, this is still a developing story, with no end in site as of October 23.

MORE ABOUT SUNRISE EQUITIES (on Chicago News Bench)

RELATED:

March 22, 2009

Obama's Sunrise Equities Office

BARACK OBAMA WITH SALMAN IBRAHIM, SUNRISE EQUITIES CEO and FBI FUGITIVE

EXCLUSIVE: Never-before published photo of Barack Obama with his good friend and benefactor Salman Ibrahim, in the offices of the infamous Sunrise Equities, Chicago.

Barack Obama at Sunrise Equities 2008
Barack Obama at Salman Ibrahim's Sunrise Equities
Ibrahim is wanted by the FBI in connection with the 2008 Sunrise Equities scam in Chicago, in which investors were ripped off for a total of approximately $80 million.

In the photo here, Obama cuts the ribbon at a ceremony in which Sunrise Equities donated office space to Obama when he was running for US Senate in 2004.

Sunrise Equities effectively closed in August, 2008 when its CEO, Salman Ibrahim, and other top officers vanished. The money seems to have gone with them. The Illinois Secretary of State and the FBI are investigating the scandal. About 150 investors, mostly Muslim, learned in August that they had lost all of their savings to the Sunrise Equities fraud. Sunrise Equities, a shariah-compliant investment firm, targeted investors who were mostly Pakistani Muslim immigrants. Many the victims took out home-equity loans to make ends meet.

Also See:

September 9, 2009

Why is the Sunrise Equities Web Site Still Up?

Like the ghost of a dead crazy man, the web site of failed criminal enterprise Sunrise Equities in Chicago still haunts the Internet. Sunrise Equities and some of its top officers screwed hundreds of Chicago investors - mostly Muslims - of approximately $80 - $90 million dollars. CEO Salman Ibrahim and his co-conspirators vanished suddenly in August, 2008. The money seems to have gone with them. The Illinois Secretary of State and the FBI are investigating the scandal. More than 100 investors woke up to learn that they had lost all of their savings to the Sunrise Equities fraud. Sunrise Equities, a "shariah-compliant" investment firm, targeted investors who were mostly Pakistani Muslim immigrants. Many the victims had taken out home equity loans just to make ends meet. Click on "About Us" and you will see this: Salman Ibrahim is President and Chief Executive Officer of Sunrise Equities Inc. Mr. Ibrahim has led the company through numerous successes with his vision and innovative thinking. That "vision" and "innovative thinking" was all about screwing people out of their life savings. Ibrahim was just another of the many criminal allies of Barack Obama. When Obama was running for the US Senate, Ibrahim and Sunrise Equities gave free use of some of their office space at 6355 N. Claremont, on Chicago's north side to his campaign. (See: Obama's Sunrise Equities Office) Another of Obama's questionable allies in Chicago is Mohammad Tariq Siddiqui ("the Builder"), a major money bundler for his political campaigns. In late August, 2009 a judge ruled that Siddiqui defaulted on a large bank loan. RELATED: Obama Connected to Sunrise Equities, Part One Obama's Connections to Sunrise Equities, Part Two Judge Rules Tariq Siddiqui Defaulted on Bank Loan Still Looking For Salman Ibrahim, Reward Offered MORE ABOUT SUNRISE EQUITIES (to all links on Chicago News Bench) Obama's unsavory ties Cool Hats & Shirts for Cool Conservatives Leave a Comment... Chicago News Bench RSS Feed We're on Twitter...

March 21, 2009

Photo du Jour, 21 March 2009 Obama and Salman Ibrahim

BARACK OBAMA WITH SALMAN IBRAHIM, SUNRISE EQUITIES CEO, FBI FUGITIVE EXCLUSIVE: Never-before published photo of Barack Obama with his good friend and benefactor Salman Ibrahim, in the offices of the infamous Sunrise Equities, Chicago. Ibrahim is wanted by the FBI in connection with the 2008 Sunrise Equities scam in Chicago, in which investors were ripped off for a total of approximately $80 million. (Click photo to enlarge) Here, Obama shakes hands with Chicago Alderman Bernard Stone (50th Ward), just before a ribbon cutting ceremony at which Sunrise Equities donated office space to Obama when he was running for US Senate in 2004. Sunrise Equities shut down in August, 2008 when its CEO, Salman Ibrahim, and other top officers vanished. The money seems to have gone with them. The Illinois Secretary of State and the FBI are investigating the scandal. About 150 investors, mostly Muslim, learned in August that they had lost all of their savings to the Sunrise Equities fraud. Sunrise Equities, a shariah-compliant investment firm, targeted investors who were mostly Pakistani Muslim immigrants. Many the victims took out home-equity loans to make ends meet. See "OBAMA CONNECTED TO SUNRISE EQUITIES, PART ONE" ALSO SEE: Obama's Connections to Sunrise Equities, Part Two Still Looking For Salman Ibrahim, Reward Offered The Failure of Sunrise Equities MORE ABOUT SUNRISE EQUITIES (to all links on Chicago News Bench) Chicago News Bench RSS Feed Cool Stuff...

October 22, 2008

Illinois Investigating Sunrise Equities Scandal

It's about time. Chicago investment firm, Sunrise Equities, shut their doors back in mid-August, leaving investors confused, worried and angry. Salman Ibrahim, CEO, and other officers vanished. They left Chicago - and probably the US - with about $80 million of investors' money. Most investors have been totally destroyed by the scandal, and now, finally, two months later, the "Illinois Secretary of State's office filed a temporary order of prohibition against the missing CEO and president of a shariah-compliant investment firm." RELATED STORY: "OBAMA CONNECTED TO SUNRISE EQUITIES SCANDAL, PART ONE" That's according to a report, out moments ago on the Chicago Journal web site (10 pm, Chicago, Oct. 22). It continues: "A spokesman for Jesse White's office said state investigators have gathered sufficient evidence to believe there was a violation of securities law." "Sufficient evidence," they say, casually. How about this for sufficient evidence: CEO and top officers vanish; doors locked; phone calls not being returned; investors not getting scheduled check. What the hell was the State of Illinois waiting for? Let me veer onto a side street for a moment. Perhaps the Illinois Secretary of State was afraid of being called a religious bigot for going after a Muslim company. I'm being sarcastic, of course, but believe it or not, there really are lunatics out there who accuse me and other writers who are covering this of targeting Sunrise Equities. The Bench, and others writing about it, have noted that the investors - most of whom are Muslim - have been violated. We believe and hope that they get relief and justice. This is a case of Muslims being screwed by fellow Muslims. How, then, is it bigoted to simply report that? (Perhaps those who make such cavalier accusations can throw them at my good friends at Muslims Against Sharia, where I am one of their contributing writers.) Chicago Journal continues: "Investors noticed something awry when they stopped receiving monthly disbursement checks from the investment firm in August. The firm's corporate officers and employees also stopped returning investors' calls, which investors said was highly unusual." Sure, but not "unusual" enough, apparently, for the State of Illinois to jump on right away. "The temporary order names Sunrise Equities Inc. and Sunrise Management II. The firm also did business as the Sunrise Development Group and Sunrise Development Inc., with addresses at 6355 N. Claremont, 1000 W. Monroe and 1023 W. Madison. "In addition to Ibrahim, the order lists company founders Amjed Mahmood, of Des Plaines, and physician Mohammed Akbar Zahid, of Chicago. Both appear on the company's Web site as the senior vice presidents of construction and community relations, respectively. Saquib Anwar, also named as a "respondent," is listed as an employee and sales agent of Sunrise. "The temporary order alleges that Ibrahim and others failed to register securities and committed fraud in the sale of securities." The Chicago Journal also noted that, "No one has seen or heard from Salman Ibrahim, the president and CEO of Sunrise Equities since August. Salman, whose last known address is the 5600 block of W. Eddy, has been accused of allegedly bilking hundreds of investors from West Ridge's Indian-Pakistani community and from around the world. Investors' losses are estimated between $50 million and $80 million." MORE ABOUT SUNRISE EQUITIES (on The Bench) OTHER LINKS: IL Sec of State Investigating Sunrise Equities Scandal More results from Rogers Park in 1000 words Obama’s Muslim “outreach” problems. Coincidental? Get real! Obama and the Sunrise Equities Failure: Sharia Firm Scandal So necessary to read, I am posting this article again-OBAMA linked ... Obama and the Sunrise Equities Failure: Sharia Firm Scandal $15.5 Million Foreclosure Lawsuit on an Uptown Development Site Cole Taylor files foreclosure suit over Uptown development The Irish Suing to Recover Deposits

February 21, 2009

Still Looking For Salman Ibrahim, Reward Offered

A $5,000 (US) reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of Salman Ibrahim, former CEO of Sunrise Equities in Chicago. Sunrise mysteriously locked its doors last summer and top officers disappeared, leaving hundreds of investors financially ruined. (See photo of Salman Ibrahim, left.) Ibrahim was a big donor to Barack Obama's political efforts and gave space to Obama in the Sunrise Equities offices (see The group offering the reward has a YouTube page, created in December, 2008. Here is what they wrote on that page, along with the video (emphasis added): Salman Ibrahim is at large after committing multi million dollar real estate fraud in Chicago. This video is to educate people about the Ponzi scheme run by Salman Ibrahim in different cities and states within US and abroad. You will find him associated with Islamic centers and Muslim priests (mullahs). He uses their network to grab unsuspecting people (bakras!). You will find him to be very polite and soft spoken gentleman until he grabs his clients. Once the client is captured then he shows his real colors. (Continues after video....) Possible hideouts: Lahore (Pakistan), Dubai, Bahrain, Abu-Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Canada, African nations. Please look out for this criminal and contact us at findsalmanibrahim@gmail.com to earn $5,000 cash reward by providing any information leading to his arrest. MORE ABOUT SUNRISE EQUITIES (to all links on Chicago News Bench) OTHER LINKS: LOOKING FOR SALMAN IBRAHIM The Failure of Sunrise Equities Chicago's Hidden Financial Scandal IL Sec of State Investigating Sunrise Equities Scandal Obama and the Sunrise Equities Failure: Sharia Firm Scandal $15.5 Million Foreclosure Lawsuit on an Uptown Development Site Sunrise Equities Story Might Now Include Murder Cole Taylor files foreclosure suit over Uptown development The Irish Suing to Recover Deposits Sunrise Equities Scandal and Multiculturalism OBAMA CONNECTED TO SUNRISE EQUITIES, PART ONE UPDATED: Obama's Connections to Sunrise Equities, Part Two CNB RSS Feed

August 26, 2009

Judge Rules Tariq Siddiqui Defaulted on Bank Loan

Barack Obama at Sunrise Equities office, 2004
2004: Barack Obama at Sunrise Equities office, when
they donated office space to his US Senate campaign.
Muhammad Tariq Siddiqui was a major money bundler for Barack Obama and closely associated with the infamous Sunrise Equities scandal in Chicago (see Obama's Sunrise Equities Office).

"A Cook County Circuit Court judge didn’t buy a politically-connected," reported Lake Effect News, August 26, 2009. "West Ridge developer’s argument that he wasn’t properly served in a breach of contract suit.

Barack Obama and Tariq Saddiqui at Sunrise Equities offices, 2004
Obama with Tariq Saddiqui at Sunrise Equities, 2004
Judge Bill Taylor of the court’s law division upheld a default judgment against Mohammed Tariq Siddiqui on Tuesday. Taylor also quashed a motion that Siddiqui was not properly served notice of Bridgeview’s complaint that the developer had failed to pay four promissory notes totaling $2.7 million."

Prediction: The federal government is already investigating the Sunrise Equities/Salman Ibrahim scandal.

Anti-Siddiqui union flier. Note the poor spelling.
Most likely, the feds will let the locals get their own dirty work out of the way, and then pursue Siddiqui in a federal case - with Ibrahim/Sunrise as part of the investigation. However, watch for the Obama connection to be glossed over and suppressed.

Related:

October 25, 2008

Was Rehan Sheikh Killed For Talking About Sunrise Equities?

Rehan Sheikh on the air, Sept. 21, 2008
Some people believe that Chicago radio host Rehan Sheikh was murdered for speaking out publicly about the Sunrise Equities scandal in Chicago. We will probably never know the cause of his sudden and mysterious death, or whether it is connected to the Sunrise Equities story. He'd gotten too close for comfort - the comfort of the perpetrators, the comfort of those affiliated with Sunrise, and the comfort of religious zealots who don't like the Muslim community being embarrassed by the story (also see UPDATED: Obama's Connections to Sunrise Equities, Part Two).

It is a story that involves Barack Obama and some of his bundlers, two prominent Chicago aldermen, local and international real estate developers, and a few shady characters. Rehan Sheikh, a Rogers Park resident who immigrated from Pakistan, drove a taxicab between his weekly Sunday night talk show. Recently, he told The Bench that he feared for his own safety, even his life. His taxi was vandalized just days before his death, and his body was immediately flown back to Pakistan with no autopsy.

You can read more about Rehan's death in our Oct. 23 post, "Obama's Connections to Sunrise Equities, Part Two." The Bench, however, is not the only source covering the Sunrise Equities debacle, or the possibly-related death of Rehan Sheikh. Some excellent reporting by "Grammar Girl" at RP1000 gives still more insight. Grammar Girl was close to Rehan; she developed a good source of information with him. It can be said now, with his passing, that Rehan was a source of information for RP1000 as well as for The Bench.

Grammar Girl wrote this on October 24:

For those of you who followed the story I enlarged upon re: Sunrise Equities and Salman Ibrahim, there has been a new twist. As you know, I did not reveal my source, at his request. And now, it seems my source is DEAD. Coincidence? I think not, as do many others.... He told me, JUST FORTY-ONE DAYS AGO, that he had been THREATENED WITH DEATH if he told anyone about the Sunrise Equities scandal. He said others had been threatened also. He had been, but was no longer, friends with Mohammad Tariq Siddiqui, "the "builder", former Ibrahim associate, and bundler for Barack Obama. READ THE FULL POST at Rogers Park in 1000 Words!...

September 26, 2008

Big Media Stumbled on Sunrise Equities Story

UPDATE, OCT. 17, 2008: ALSO SEE OBAMA CONNECTED TO SUNRISE EQUITIES, PART ONE CHICAGO - As is so often so typical, Chicago's dinosaur Big Media completely missed a major story - right under their noses. It's the story of a Muslim shariah financial investment company that has scamming as many as 300 investors for as much as $100 million. Salman Ibrihim, the CEO, and four other Sunrise officers vanished in late August, perhaps to Dubai or Pakistan. The entire Indian-Pakistani community, so prominent along the W. Devon corridor, has been abuzz about this scandal since late August, if not earlier. This would make one hell of a screen play. The failure of Sunrise Equities, and the mysterious disappearance of five of its top officers, is the kind of story that should have made the front page of both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. It should have gotten big play on all of the local television and radio news shows. In this age of New Media, however, a local blogger proved - again - that the little guys can often out do the big ones. Bill Morton has a blog on Chicago's north side called "Rogers Park in 1,000 Words." Morton's contributor "Grammar Girl" broke this story on September 14, 2008. That is, RP1000 was the first medium outside of the Devon corridor to pay attention to it. (See all "Sunrise Equities" related stories at RP1000...) It should be noted that on Sept. 11 the story was reported by the Muslim Media Network. Needless to say, MMN has few audience members outside of its target demographic. (See "Sun Sets on Sunrise Equities : Muslim Media Network.") This blog, The Bench, picked up on the story on Sept. 15 after seeing the RP1000 posts. We ran "Chicago's Hidden Financial Scandal" and quickly scored more hits that day - and still today - than on any other story. RP1000 told The Bench that they, too, are scoring huge numbers. Both RP1000 and The Bench have seen big hits coming from Dubai, India and Pakistan especially. What is interesting about most of these hits - or clicks, if you will - is that they are coming from people who are specifically searching for "sunrise equities" or "salman ibrihim." By the afternoon of Sept. 14, the News-Star newspaper (a weekly publication, part of the Chicago Journal family), had also noticed both the RP1000 and The Bench posts and was diligently digging into the story. The News-Star's first story about the Sunrise Equities catastrophe, "Where is Salman Ibrahim?" was in their Sept. 17 issue. News-Star reporter Lorraine Swanson, who is also the Editor of the paper, made good use of already-established contacts in the Indian-Pakistani community, and followed up with another article, "Indo-Pak investors fear the worst," on Sept. 24. Along stumbled the Chicago Tribune, finally, on Sept. 19 with the story "Muslim investors claim fraud." However, the Trib used an Associated Press feed, and it was nowhere near as well researched as the News-Star's article on Sept. 17, two days earlier. To the Tribune's credit, though, they at least showed interest in the story. They were at least aware of it, unlike the other Big Media locally. The Chicago Sun-Times got into the story on Sept. 20, but with a very brief, scratch-the-surface blurb. At least their story, however, was written by one of their own staffers. Four days later, on Sept. 24, the Trib published "Dozens of Muslims lose life savings to real estate developer," this time by one of their own and not cribbed from AP. Although more in depth than their Sept. 19 story, it misses many of the points that News-Star got days earlier. The headline, which indicates that "dozens" of people may lose their savings, is weird: There are close to 300 investors who are in jeopardy. "Dozens" seems an odd choice of words. Today, Sept. 26, the Trib ran another AP story (are they that short-staffed over there?). "Chicago's South Asians shocked by investment scam" is yet another weird headline. Sure, people were shocked by the scam - when it was fresh. Now, they're all just pissed off, as the shock wore off about a week ago. Nowhere in any of the Big Media reports is Bill Morton's RP1000 blog mentioned. RP1000 will probably stay ahead of the curve on at least some of the aspects of the story, as will News-Star. Both are closer to the story than the Big Media, doing better on-the-ground footwork and making use of deeper contacts in the Indian-Pakistani community.

September 30, 2008

Sunrise Equities Scandal and Multiculturalism

O ye who believe! Devour not usury, doubled and multiplied;
but fear Allah; so that you may be successful.
3-130 Surah Al-Imran Verses

Multiculturalism played a major role in the sad case of one of Chicago's biggest financial scandals, currently ongoing and presenting a working mystery for the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.

ALSO SEE (10/17/08): OBAMA CONNECTED TO SUNRISE EQUITIES, PART ONE

The scandal in a nutshell: Sunrise Equities, headed by CEO Salman Ibrahim, was a sharia compliant investment firm that preyed primarily on Muslim investors. Ibrahim, who presented himself as a devout Muslim, was quickly embraced as an honest man, a man of holy righteousness, a man who you could trust. As the News-Star wrote recently, "The charismatic Ibrahim impressed prospective investors at Sunrise Equities with his deeply held religious beliefs. He regularly attended prayer services at the mosque located in the basement of his firm's office at 6355 N. Claremont, often serving as an imam or prayer leader. Local Muslim clerics vouched for him, and Ibrahim and his partners promptly returned investors' phone calls. But when the monthly disbursement checks started bouncing in August, and Sunrise's offices went dark, investors grew worried and began contacting the local Muslim media." (Source: News-Star, Sept. 24, 2008) How did multiculturalism contribute to this debacle? Consider: How many of your average investors consult their priests or rabbis before handing over upwards of $300,000 to an investment firm? Not many. But many of the unfortunate Muslim investors in Chicago who put their life savings in the hands of Sunrise Equities did, and they did not bother to go outside of their tight community to research Sunrise or to consult with non-Muslim investment experts. Do not confuse Diversity with Multiculturalism. I'm all for diversity. That is, people of various ethnicities and races and religions and whatever living together, next door, in harmony. However, that's quite different from multiculturalism, which is a situation that isolates those groups from each other into secluded or semi-secluded enclaves. That leads to communication breakdown, language barriers, suspicion, mistrust, fear. It divides us. Multiculturalism divides us with invisible walls, whereas a diverse community can unite us. Multiculturalism is, of necessity and by definition, a separation of people from those not like themselves. In August, CEO Ibrahim and four other Sunrise officers vanished, with an estimated $80-100 million in tow. Most investors, upon learning that the man who held their life savings had just skipped town, would have picked up the phone and called the FBI, the police, the Illinois Attorney General, or a newspaper. Virtually nobody among the Muslim investors did that. Rather, most of their complaining was limited to calling Dil Se (an Urdu language radio talk show on AM 1240 from 11 p.m. to Midnight on Sunday), or standing on a corner on Devon Avenue gossiping about it, or seeking information in one of the restaurants along that corridor. The insulation of Chicago's Muslim community contributed to the overly eager, ignorant willingness to dump money onto the lap of "one of their own." That same insulation now hinders official investigations of the scandal. This insulation is directly due to a lack of assimilation by a tight community into the bigger community around it. To live on an island is to isolate oneself. Muslim investors were not the only ones suckered by Ibrahim's act of piety and trustworthiness, however. Various non-Muslim banks around Chicago, and the nation, are experimenting with sharia-compliant operations. Universities, too, are being suckered in. That's no surprise, really: Universities are great advocates of the cultural isolationism that is inescapably part of being multicultural. DePaul University in Chicago for example, as written about in the Chicago Tribune earlier this year, as noted by Dhimmi Watch: Amir Davoodi had read about the meteoric rise of Islamic banking, but the senior finance major at DePaul University didn't realize how intrigued he would become with the idea of mixing Islam and market finance until he took a course on the subject last fall. Now Davoodi has accepted an internship with a local Islamic real estate company, Sunrise Equities, and might pursue the banking niche after graduation. More at Dhimmi Watch... Those involved at high levels with the Pure and Pure 2.0 construction projects were taken in, too, charmed by their desire to make a quick profit, but also by a desire to associate with something exotic: The bearded Ibrahim, the sharia-financial expert, the Man from Beyond. Fortunately, bloggers Bill Morton and Grammar Girl broke the story into the world beyond the Devon corridor. It is now an international story, as noted on the "Rogers Park in 1,000 Words" web site. Today there is an item at RP1000 titled "SALMAN IBRAHIM: YOU CANNOT HIDE!" that lists news organizations around the world that are carrying the story. RELATED: Why the dogma of multiculturalism has failed Britain Mail Online Tammy Bruce: Another Sign Multiculturalism Is Working Can Britain Survive Mulitculturalism? The Worldwide Failure of Pluralism New Socialist: Multiculturalism Policy and Practice: Divide and ...

June 24, 2010

Two Ald. Berny Stone Political Workers Guilty Of Ballot Tampering

June 24, 2010 - Chicago - Two former 50th Ward campaign workers were found guilty of "multiple Class A misdemeanor counts of attempted mutilation of voting materials and attempted absentee ballot violations" today. The charges came from violations committed during the the hotly contested 2007 aldermanic race between Stone, Greg Brewer, Naisy Dolar and Salman Aftab in West Ridge/East Rogers Park.

"A Cook County judge handed down guilty verdicts in the bench trial of two political workers for Ald. Berny Stone on charges that they had allegedly tampered with absentee ballots stemming from the 2007 aldermanic race in the 50th Ward," reports Lake Effect News (LEN) this afternoon.

On November 9, 2009 Chicago Breaking News reported that "Prosecutors said Anish Eapen, a precinct captain for Ald. Bernard Stone, 50th, and the ward's Streets and Sanitation superintendent, flashed his work badge and made it clear to voters that they could benefit if they chose his candidate."

According to LEN, "Anish Eapen, the former ward Streets and Sanitation superintendent, and Armando Ramos, a paid campaign worker for Stone’s political campaign committee, were both found guilty of multiple Class A misdemeanor counts of attempted mutilation of voting materials and attempted absentee ballot violations, " and "Both men were facing more serious felony charges that they had engineered absentee ballots of mostly immigrant voters in the 50th Ward favoring Stone. Stone was not charged with any wrongdoing. Eapen and Ramos face up to one year of jail time, two years of probation, fines or a combination of all three." More at Lake Effect News...

An earlier report by LEN said that Salman Aftab (photo) triggered the 50th Ward vote fraud investigation that led to today's verdicts against Eapen and Ramos. Aftab waged a very bitter campaign against Stone, which included personal attacks. Aftab lost in the February 27 general election, but on March 27, 2007 he gleefully announced his support for Alderman Stone in the pending April 17 run-off against Naisy Dolar. Aftab, who took only 5.2% of the ward's vote in February, said, "My community insisted that I endorse Ald. Stone and I'm doing what my community says," Aftab said. By "my community," Aftab was referring to the large Indian and Pakistani community of West Ridge. (Source: Chicago Tribune/Clout Street)

Stone won the April 2007 aldermanic run-off election with 52.93% 5,965 votes (52.93%). Challenger Naisy Dolar received 5,304 votes (47.07%). Source: AlderTrack

Aftab triggering that vote fraud investigation against two of Stone's political workers. Although it's a good thing that fraud was brought to the attention of the authorities.

Aftab was an early supporter of Barack Obama and of Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL9). He was an acquaintance of Salman Ibrahim, former head of Sunrise Equities, the Chicago sharia finance company that defrauded many dozens of investors in 2008. (There is no reason to believe that Aftab was connected in any way to the Sunrise Equities scandal.) Sunrise Equities gave Obama office space for his 2004 U.S. Senate campaign. There was a private ribbon cutting ceremony for that office space, and you can see Aftab in the photos of that event. Alderman Berny Stone was also present at the ceremony. You can see the photos here and here.

RELATED:
Naisy calls Berny out for his "Friends in low places" Dolar campaign video
Jan Schakowsky endorses Naisy Dolar on 4.4.07 Dolar campaign video
Obama Connected To Sunrise Equities Scandal, Part One" CNB
Obama's Connections to Sunrise Equities, Part Two CNB