CAIR officials were there too. Holy Land Foundation case update: by David Koenig for Associated Press (thanks to all who sent this in):
DALLAS (AP) – An FBI agent testified Monday that leaders of a local Muslim charity helped plot how to derail a Middle East peace accord that they feared would prevent the elimination of Israel.
The agent said leaders of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development were among U.S.-based supporters of the Palestinian militant group Hamas who met at a Philadelphia hotel in 1993.
The agent said the FBI bugged the conference room, capturing conversations in which Holy Land Chief Executive Shukri Abu Baker repeatedly told attendees to refer to Hamas as “Samah” – Hamas spelled backward.
Baker and four other former Holy Land officials – including Abdulrahman Odeh, the group’s New Jersey representative – are charged with aiding a terrorist group, conspiracy and money laundering for allegedly funneling millions of dollars to Hamas through charities controlled by the militants.
The Holy Land Foundation had a Paterson, N.J., chapter.
As their trial began its third week on Monday, U.S. District Judge A. Joe Fish rejected a defense move for a mistrial. He also dismissed a third juror – no explanation was given – leaving only three alternates plus 12 jurors for a case that could last several months.
The Philadelphia meeting was highlighted in the 2004 indictment against the leaders of Holy Land, which was the nation’s largest Muslim charity until federal agents shut it down in December 2001. The testimony of FBI agent Lara Burns provided additional details about the event, including the participation of leaders of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a leading U.S. Muslim-rights group.
The meeting occurred as Hamas sought to block the Oslo accords, a deal that would have led to Palestinian self-rule but also coexistence with Israel.