On October 22, 2007, a federal judge in Dallas declared a Holy Land Foundation (HLF), an American Islamic charity. This was the Bush Administration’s signature effort to deny funding to terrorist organizations. Some HLF members had ties to Hamas and some of its activities were anti-semitic. On December 4, 2001, Bush declared the HLF a “specially designated global terrorist” giving aid to Hamas, and its assets were seized. The criminal trial began in Dallas on July 23, 2007. The HLF and 5 of its chief officers faced 197 charges of supporting terrorism by giving $12.4 million from 1995-2001 to zakat (Islamic charity) committees to build hospitals and to help the poor in the Occupied Territories. This was not so much a tough as an impossible sell. One defendant was acquitted on all but one charge. No defendant was convicted on any charge. This is another example of the Bush Administration’s attempt to use the specter of terrorism to scare a jury into a conviction instead of convincing them with oh say, evidence and a pertinent legal theory.
On November 24, 2008, members of the HLF were convicted in a second trial on all 108 counts. Apparently helping the poor and dispossessed is a crime.