Mistrial in Holy Land Foundation terrorism prosecution
On October 22, 2007, a mistrial was declared in the federal terrorism prosecution against the Holy Land Foundation and five of its former leaders. About this mistrial, American Civil Liberties Union National Security Project staff attorney Hina Shamsi wrote:
"HLF was the nation’s largest Muslim charity before the government shut it down and accused it of providing "material support" to a foreign terrorist organization. The group had made donations to local "zakat" committees that provide humanitarian aid in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (Zakat is a form of tithing and one of the obligatory five pillars of Islam.) Although the government claimed the committees were controlled by Hamas, the committees were not designated terrorist organizations and the U.S. government did not allege that HLF intended to support terrorism or that its funds were actually used for that purpose. (Full disclosure: the ACLU represents two of the HLF defense lawyers in our lawsuit challenging the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program.)"
We must remain ever-vigilant to speak out against governmental abuses of individual liberties. Jon Katz.