Monday, November 24, 2008


It is a travesty that a federal jury in Texas has convicted the largest Islamic charity of aiding a terrorist organization. Paul Weber writes for the AP on The Washington Post web site that a jury in Texas has convicted five charity leaders of each one of 108 counts. The five convicted men could be sentenced to prison for the rest of their lives.

Federal juries can be notorious for their tendency to convict, especially if the accused have Latino or even worse Islamic/Arabic names.

Reports Weber:

"Ghassan Elashi, Holy Land's former chairman, and Shukri Abu-Baker, the chief executive, were convicted of a combined 69 counts, including supporting a specially designated terrorist, money laundering and tax fraud.

"Mufid Abdulqader and Abdulrahman Odeh were convicted of three counts of conspiracy, and Mohammed El-Mezain was convicted of one count of conspiracy to support a terrorist organization. Holy Land itself was convicted of all 32 counts.

""I feel heartbroken that a group of my fellow Americans fell for the prosecution's fear-mongering theory," Elashi's daughter, Noor, said outside the courthouse late Monday. "This is truly a low point for the United States of America, but this is not over.""

This is the second go-around for these five. Their first trial ended in a hung jury. This time, they were not convicted of engaging in any terrorist plot but in providing funds for Hamas, the civic, social and militant organization that rules Gaza in Palestine. Imagine being convicted in a federal court because you collected and transmitted monies for the aid of Gazans who live day-to-day in abject misery and poverty.

The verdict is akin to finding that Colombianos sending money home are guilty of supporting "illegal" political organizations insofar as some of the money happens to find its way to members of the FARC.

This unfortunate verdict penalizes those who in good will support charities that care for people whom Israel and the U.S. don't like.

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