Charity Jihad Update. By Thomas Korosec for the Houston Chronicle (thanks to Doc Washburn):
DALLAS “” A Richardson-based Muslim charity and five of its officers are scheduled to go on trial here today on charges related to claims that it funneled at least $12.4 million to Hamas, a Palestinian group the U.S. government says is a terrorist organization.
The trial comes at the end of a long-running federal investigation that began with FBI agents surveiling officials of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development at a 1993 meeting in Philadelphia.
A 2004 federal indictment alleges the group was set up in 1988 to provide financial and material support to Hamas, a radical Islamist group that sponsors suicide bombings in Israel and has gained political power in the Palestinian territories.
President Bush closed the charity by executive order in December 2001 and froze $4 million of its assets. At the time it was the largest Muslim charity in the U.S.
Leaders of the foundation have maintained they aided only health clinics, orphanages and others in need.
“This case involves whether humanitarian assistance in Palestine is going to be treated as a crime,” said defense lawyer John Boyd, who is representing both the charity and its chief executive and co-founder, Shukri Abu Baker, a 48-year-old Garland resident.
“There is no allegation that the Holy Land Foundation gave money to Hamas or that any of its funds were used for terrorism,” Boyd said.
Sure. And if someone in 1935 had sent money to the Nazi regime, and that money was only used to build schools, thus freeing up other funds to be devoted to the remilitarization of Germany, would you say that the person funding the schools was guiltless?