Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Holy Land Foundation Sentencing: It's About Terrorism, Not Islam

The Holy Land Foundation used to be America's largest Muslim charity. They had a good thing going, asking Muslims for money to help Palestinian Muslims who were being oppressed something fierce by the Jews.

Then, the federal government started looking at who was getting the money. Hamas was on the list. Hamas is on the American government's list of terrorist organizations - and it's illegal to knowingly give financial support to terrorist organizations.

What Didn't Happen - For Which I'm Thankful

The first trial of Holy Land Foundation leaders ended in 2007 with a mistrial. The Board Chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) had his own version of what was going on:
"...'After 19 days of deliberation, the jurors did not return even a single guilty verdict on any of the almost 200 charges against these men, whose only "crime" was providing food, clothing and shelter to Palestinian women and children. It seems clear that the majority of the jury agreed with many observers of the trial who believe the charges were built on fear, not facts. This is a stunning defeat for prosecutors and a victory for America's legal system.'..." (October 22, 2007)
I haven't read anything about CAIR in the rather low-key news coverage of the Holy Land Foundation verdict and sentencing.

In a way, I miss CAIR's colorful, energetic, and imaginative responses to what they considered islamophobia.

A couple years ago, CAIR quickly changed a page on their website: one calling people "bigots," when they didn't properly appreciate New York City's "Muslim Day" being celebrated a few days before the anniversary of 9/11.

That sort of goofy chauvinism reminds me of the 'good old days' when some 'real Americans' felt that anything they didn't like or understand was a commie plot.

On the other hand, I'm just as glad that we're not hearing so much about "islamophobia" - as perceived by groups like CAIR. There's enough real bigotry toward Muslims and Islam, without calling people "bigots" when they don't appreciate the timing of New York City's "Muslim Day."

I mean to say: insisting that people cheer Muslims, right before the anniversary of an attack by Muslims that killed around 3,000 New Yorkers?!

Holy Land Foundation Sentencing: Texophobia??

I'm sure that alternative realities will be presented for years - probably decades - to come, about what 'really' happened. However, it looks like a 15 year investigation and two trials have stopped a fairly lucrative source of cash for Hamas.

The five defendants were convicted of giving financial support to a terrorist organization. Particularly since 9/11, that sort of thing doesn't go over too well in America. Their sentences seem to reflect this:
  • Shukri Abu Baker (Garland, Texas)
    65 years
  • Ghassan Elashi (Richardson, Texas)
    65 years
  • Mufid Abdulqader (Richardson, Texas)
    20 years
  • Mohammad El-Mezain (San Diego, California)
    15 years
  • Abdulrahman Odeh (Patterson, New Jersey)
    15 years
Baker and Elashi were convicted on tax fraud charges, too.

With three of the five defendants being Texans, I suppose one could argue that the trial and sentencing reflected texophobia: but that would be silly, wouldn't it?

The Defunct Holy Land Foundation Isn't Islam

I've written this before, and probably will again: not all Muslims are terrorists, and not all terrorists are Muslims.

Every group has its crazies and its charlatans. Christians in America had an opportunity to re-evaluate how they decided who and what to support years ago, in the televangelist meltdown.

I think Muslims in America have an opportunity now, to consider being a trifle more careful about who - and what - they support.

Related posts: In the news:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.