Leaders of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood have reacted to the recent conviction of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) and its leaders on all counts of terrorist financing charges in connection with the financing of Hamas. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), itself an outgrowth of the U.S. Hamas infrastructure and member of the U.S Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee along with HLF, issued an unusually terse statement blaming the conviction on “fear-mongering”:
We believe this case was based more on fear-mongering than on the facts. It is particularly troubling that the government chose to use testimony from an anonymous witness, which deprives the defendants of their full right to confront their accusers. We expect the defendants to appeal this verdict and believe that it will eventually be overturned.
So far, the reaction has been one of shock more than anything else,” said Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, president of the Minaret of Freedom Institute, an advocacy group based in Bethesda, Md. “Even the people who are usually very quick to comment on events, positively or negatively, are so stunned by this that they seem to be at a loss for words.” Mr. Ahmad said the verdict would further confuse donors to Islamic charities, many of whom have been wary of giving to Islamic groups since Sept. 11. “It seems to give a green light for further intimidation of Muslim charities,” he said. “It makes people even more unsure of what they are supposed to do to avoid having a problem.”
Another legal entanglement created by this trial is an 11-page list of “unindicted co-conspirators” which was leaked by the Department of Justice to the media. MPAC echoes a motion recently filed by the ACLU, which argues that the due-process rights of the named individuals and organizations were violated, because they were listed without having the right to defend themselves. Failure to provide a mechanism for being removed from this list is profoundly un-American, and must be rectified to provide innocent parties an opportunity to clear their names and reputations. MPAC today also cautioned against allowing the case’s outcome to undermine the partnership Muslim American organizations have built with government agencies to promote Muslim American political participation, improve global U.S.-Muslim world relations, and enhance our national security. Finally, MPAC remains concerned about the on-going suffering of the Palestinian people in the face of continued legal action to curtail much-needed humanitarian assistance. Many humanitarian workers are regularly denied entry into Gaza and the West Bank, or are often harassed and even detained by the Israeli authorities.
It is amazing how two different juries can hear the same evidence and come up with a different conclusion,” stated MAS Freedom Executive Director, Mahdi Bray. Central to many in the Muslim community is the unprecedented use of designating over 300 individuals, including many major Muslim organizations, as “unindicted co-conspirators.” MAS Freedom has strongly protested this and continues to fight this abuse by the US government. “Use of the wholesale designation “unindicted co-conspirator” smears the reputation of well-respected Muslim organizations and their leaderships and it cannot be allowed to continue,” stated Bray. “MAS Freedom will continue to fight for the rule of law in our country and against the U.S. government’s continued and outrageous overreach in prosecuting members of the Muslim community diligently striving to protect and feed hungry children; not only here at home, but in Palestine and anywhere else where we can have a significant impact in averting a crises’ of hunger.” Additionally, we will continue to challenge our government’s infringement upon the constitutionally protected rights of the freedom of religion and speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment,” Bray concluded.
The MAS was established in 1993 by leaders of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and a Chicago Tribune investigation has revealed it’s close ties to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
The organizations comprising the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood have frequently acted in concert through their history and often defend one another as self-described “mainstream” Islamic organizations.