CAIRO – A US court has overturned a ruling ordering Muslim charities to compensate the family of a US teenager killed in an attack in the West Bank on alleged charges of funding terrorism, reported the Washington Post on Saturday, December 29.
"We must resist the temptation to gloss over error, admit spurious evidence, and assume facts not adequately proved simply to side with the face of innocence and against the face of terrorism," said Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner of the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
"Belief, assumption, and speculation are no substitutes for evidence in a court of law."
A court ruling in 2004 ordered the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, the American Muslim Society/Islamic Association for Palestine and a man named Mohammed Salah, to pay $156 million to the family of David Boim who was killed by gunmen in an attack in 1996.
It had said that the defendants shelled out donations to Hamas in 1993 and 1994 that were used in "militant" activities.
But Friday’s ruling overturned the ruling, ordering a new trial to examine more closely the links between the organizations and Boim’s death.
Judge Rovner said the proof of Hamas’s involvement in Biom’s death came from "problematic" sources, including a newspaper article, a news release from the Israeli government and a sworn statement from (father) Stanley Boim that "it was public knowledge that Hamas was behind the attack."
"The Boims will have to demonstrate an adequate causal link between the death of David Boim and the actions of the groups," the judge said.
The largest Muslim advocacy group in the United States extolled Friday’s court ruling.
"This landmark ruling is a strong rejection of the recent disturbing trend of political lawsuits against American Muslims who have committed no crime other than providing humanitarian aid to Palestinians," the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said in a statement.
"CAIR deplores the murder of David Boim and hopes that the actual wrong-doers are brought to justice."
Friday’s court ruling was the latest in a series of botched terror charges against Muslim charities in the United States.
A US District court judge declared a mistrial in October on almost all of the terror charges against the Holy Land Foundation, once the largest Muslim charity in the US.
Setting a precedent for similar cases, a US appeals court called early December "unconstitutionally vague" some provisions of the US Patriot Act dealing with providing material support to foreign organizations designated by the government as terrorist.
A backlog of Islamic charities were targeted by federal authorities in the wake of the 9/11 attacks six years ago on claims of channeling funds to groups designated as terrorist like Hamas and Lebanese Hizbullah.
The intense government pressures on charities have forced them to stop transferring much-needed aid to orphanages in Muslim countries in order to keep operating at home.
Many US Muslims are now perplexed where to channel their charities amid a continued government crackdown on Islamic charities and suspicious treatment of leading Muslim organizations.
(Agencies and IslamOnline.net)