The family of one of the civilian non-combatants killed by Hamas (which killings it has celebrated as part of its “Glory Record”) is fighting back. And of course the BBC is more concerned for the associates of the perpetrators than for the victims. From the BBC, :
The family of David Boim, an American teenager shot dead by Hamas at a West Bank bus stop in 1996, is suing a group of Chicago-based organisations who they say helped fund Hamas operations.
It will be the first courtroom test of a piece of federal anti-terror legislation passed in the early 1990s, which supporters say helps strike a blow at terror support networks.
But the case has also raised concerns for the Muslim community about where support for militants ends and guilt by association begins.
“This federal statute is designed to provide Americans who are injured by international terrorism a right to sue in American courts the people who are responsible – and it reaches beyond just those who pull the trigger or carry the bomb,” said Rick Hoffman, an attorney for the Boim family.
“We just happen to be the first to pursue this, but hopefully this is a tool that others will be able to follow as well to cut off the funding of these sorts of terrorist attacks.”
The lawsuit is being fought a world away from where Boim was killed
The family is seeking damages of $600m (Â£310m). But even if the jury awards such a vast sum, neither the family nor the lawyers may see that money because many of the organisations’ assets have already been the subject of separate, government actions.
Nonetheless, according to Jewish leaders the Boim case is a positive precedent for Chicago’s Jewish community, which has long harboured concerns about local Islamic charitable organisations acting as conduits for funding militants.
“This is an uphill struggle against international terrorism, and the forces of good who fight fairly now have a law in their defence that gets a measure of justice against the known supporters of terrorism,” says Jay Tcath, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council.
But others are concerned that the effects of the law may not be so clear cut….
One of the defendants in the case is the Quranic Literacy Institute.
In the basement of an unremarkable suburban house in south-west Chicago, it has built up a vast library of Arabic texts to support its 12-year project to write a new English translation of the Koran.
The Boims accuse the Institute of knowingly providing cover to a man alleged to be a key Hamas figure in the United States.
But the group’s secretary, Amer Haleem, says the Institute has been “dragged into” the case for other reasons: “guilt by association and religious persecution.
“There’s absolutely no connection between us and any terrorist organisation. They’re depending on the fact that any Muslim can be accused of anything now and the American people will say ‘By and large, well, it must be true’.”
Well, this doesn’t seem to be a very complicated question: did they knowingly harbor the man or didn’t they?
“Every community now feels tainted by this broad brush stroke. Every mosque, every centre, every book publisher is now suffering [a drop in] what is being given to their organisation,” says Seema Imam of the Muslim Civil Rights Center.
The Boim case, she says, undermines philanthropy, which is a pillar of the Muslim religion, and has a devastating effect on individuals and the community.
Again, this is really not so difficult. If charitable giving goes to terrorist groups, it must be stopped. And Seema Imam and her coreligionists should want it stopped. Why is it so hard for them to establish charities that don’t end up giving money to jihadist murderers?
“There’s an extensive amount of fear among Muslim[s]. The conversation is of confusion – how do I live in the land that I thought was the land of democracy, what do we do, how do we worship and where do we go from here?”
For the family of David Boim, this week may finally bring an end to their long search for legal reparation for a past tragedy.
But it will be many years before its clear how the legacy of his death will affect the future of America’s Muslims.
If they are really anti-terror, then it can only affect them positively.