The conviction of what was once America’s biggest Islamic charity and five of its officials on terror funding charges is shocking Americans, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, amid accusations of criminalizing aid to needy Palestinians.
"It’s hard to accept because I don’t believe the gentlemen are guilty," John Wolf, a member of the nationwide Hungry for Justice coalition, told the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday, November 25.
A federal court in Dallas on Monday, November 25, convicted the Holy Land Foundation, once America’s biggest Muslim charity, and five officials of 108 criminal counts, including support of terrorism, money laundering and tax fraud.
They are accused of funneling $12 million to the Palestinian group Hamas, designated terrorist by the US.
"These guys are the sweetest, clean-hearted people," stressed Wolf who had known the defendants for 12 years.
"We think the defendants are completely innocent," agrees Khalil Meek, a longtime spokesman for the Muslim community in North Texas and a spokesman for the Hungry for Justice.
"We intend to appeal the verdict, and we remain convinced that we will win."
In October of last year a US District court judge declared a mistrial on almost all of the counts against the Holy Land charity.
Government prosecutors allege the foundation raised millions of dollars for Hamas, but they do not accuse the charity of directly financing "militant" activities.
Instead prosecutors say humanitarian aid was used to promote Hamas and allow it to divert existing funds to "militant" activities.
The case has been a cause célèbre for American Muslims since the government froze the charity’s assets, totaling millions of dollars, less than two months after the 9/11 attacks.