The New York Sun is reporting that he North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) are attempting to have themselves removed from the list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) terrorism financing trial based on the age of the documents used to justify their inclusion on the list. According to the report:
Two major Muslim organizations, the North American Islamic Trust and the Islamic Society of North America, are arguing that the government’s evidence of their ties to Hamas is old and, in any event, is no excuse for a decision by prosecutors to name the American groups publicly as unindicted co-conspirators in a criminal case. “Assuming the authenticity of the documents’ dates, the most recent documents to mention either ISNA or NAIT are dated 1991,” an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing the two groups, Hina Shamsi, wrote in a brief filed in federal court in Dallas yesterday. “Almost all of the numerous exhibits that purport to show financial transactions and that contain any mention of ISNA or NAIT are dated 1988 and 1989 … almost a decade before the majority of the overt acts the government alleged in support of its conspiracy charges.” The filing also notes that the American government did not designate Hamas as a terrorist group until 1995….NAIT and ISNA said in their brief that the government’s response and reports on it by The New York Sun and the Associated Press “exacerbated the injury” the groups have suffered. “The government utterly fails to grasp the singular weight and consequence that an official accusation of criminal conduct carries in our criminal justice system and in our society,” Ms. Shamsi wrote.
Last week, the Sun reported that prosecutors had rejected claims by ISNA and NAIT that they had been unfairly named.
While the documents employed by federal prosecutors may date from 1991, there is substantial evidence to indicate that both organizations continued to support Hamas and/or Hamas-related organizations until very recently. This evidence includes
-Support and ties to the HLF itself and, after HLF was indicted 2004, support for its successor organizations;
-Support for the Islamic Association, part of the Hamas infrastructure in the U.S, as late as 2000-2001
-Ties to the Quranic Literacy Institute (QLI), a Chicago area institution which a Federal court in 2004 said was raising and laundering money for Hamas
It should also be noted that ISNA enjoys close relations with the Council for American Islamic Relations, itself a part of the Hamas infrastructure in the U.S.