US Judge Says Federal Prosecutors Violated NAIT’s Rights In Unindicted Co-conspirator LIsting


POLITICO has reported that a federal judge has rules that federal prosecutors violated the rights of the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) by including it in a list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing case. According to the report:

Federal prosecutors violated the rights of a major American Islamic organization by including it in a list of unindicted co-conspirators in a terrorism-support case, a federal judge ruled in an opinion ordered disclosed Wednesday by a federal appeals court. However, the North American Islamic Trust’s decision to appeal aspects of that ruling delivered a muddled result for the organization since the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ordered the disclosure of a court opinion which found “ample evidence” linking NAIT to Hamas and an American charity convicted of aiding Hamas, the Holy Land Foundation. U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Solis found that the Justice Department violated the Fifth Amendment rights of the North American Islamic Trust in 2007 by including it on the publicly filed co-conspirator list in a criminal case accusing the Holy Land Foundation and five of its officers of conspiring to support Hamas. Solis’s decision, issued in July 2009 and first reported in broad strokes on this blog last October, was confirmed in an opinion issued Wednesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Solis also found that the government should not have included the other names on the list, including those of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America. The groups were never charged with any crime and they loudly complained in public that the federal government had unfaily tarnished their reputations. “The [district]court held that NAIT’s motion was properly filed and its Fifth Amendment right had been violated by its public naming,”

A research report on ISNA describes the origins of NAIT, an affiliate of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the role that it played in the early development of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood:

The North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) was established on May 23, 1973 and later became known as an affiliate of ISNA. According to the incorporation documents, the purpose of NAIT was to “serve the best interests of Islam and the Muslim Student’s Association of the United States and Canada” by establishing a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation to hold “investment property.” …: An Islamic scholar writes: “With its ability to raise funds, especially from overseas, MSA began establishing business and professional organizations useful in establishing off-campus institutions. The North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) became instrumental in establishing masajid, student houses, Islamic centers, full-time schools, and literature publishing (under the American Trust Publications, International Graphics Press, and Islamic Book Service). Its members created the American Muslim Scientists and Engineers (AMSE), the American Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS), and the Islamic Medical Association (IMA).”

The report goes to describe how NAIT today has become the custodian of a large number of U.S. mosques and Islamic centers:

The NAIT website states that it “holds the title of approximately 300 properties” a figure consistent with a LEXIS/NEXIS search showing 332 properties in the real-estate related database and with a report by the Council on American Islamic Relations which says that NAIT owns about 27 percent of the estimated 1200 mosques in the United States. In a hearing before the United States Senate, witness testimony shows that NAIT holds the deeds to between 50% and 79% of American mosques.

The report also describes examples of how NAIT played a role in the ideological takeover of two U.S. mosques, driving out moderate leaders and replacing them with those close to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. One of those mosques is the Bridgeview Mosque which a Chicago Tribune report had associated with Hamas and Hamas fundraising.

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