Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hamas Goes 'on Trial' in Texas in Case Over Muslim Charity

BY JOSH GERSTEIN - Staff Reporter of the Sun
July 16, 2007
The federal government's largest and most aggressive effort to prosecute alleged Hamas financiers in America is to be put to the test beginning today in a Dallas courtroom.
Five officials of what was once one of America's leading Islamic charities, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, face trial on charges they operated the organization as a fund-raising arm of Hamas, a Palestinian Arab terrorist group responsible for hundreds of killings in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank.
"This is Hamas on trial," a longtime researcher into the American links of Middle Eastern terrorist groups, Steven Emerson, said yesterday. "I don't think you can get a more significant material support case."
The foundation, its chairman of the board, Ghassan Elashi, its secretary and CEO, Shukri Abu Baker, one of its top fund-raisers, Mufid Abdulqader, its director of endowments, Mohammed El-Mezain, and its New Jersey representative, Abdulraham Odeh, are charged with conspiring to aid a terrorist group, engaging in financial transactions with an embargoed group, money laundering, and other violations. Holy Land was shut down and had its assets frozen in 2001, but the criminal indictment was not returned until 2004.
In the Muslim community, many view the prosecution as driven by pro-Israel political forces and by a form of paranoia they call "Islamophobia."
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