The Holy Land Foundation Trial

In 2007, Federal prosecutors brought charges of terrorism financing against the largest Islamic charity in the United States.

This charity, the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), funneled $12.4 million to Hamas, a State Department designated foreign terrorist organization.

In addition to the conviction of five defendants, the trial produced a wide-ranging list of people and organizations who had been active in the conspiracy.

Many of those “unindicted co-conspirators” are prominent in American Muslim organizations today.

If This Was a Hamas Trial, What is the Link to the Muslim Brotherhood?

The terrorist organization Hamas grew out of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine branch.

As the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service points out, its predecessor was the Mujamma al Islami or “The Islamic Center” established in Palestine by the Muslim Brotherhood. It operated as a religious and social charity at first, but began to secretly stockpile arms.

“Yassin’s efforts to help the organization stockpile weapons led to his arrest by Israel in 1984, but the Brotherhood’s gradual transformation into a militant organization regained momentum following Yassin’s release in a 1985 prisoner swap.”

Hamas receives funding from both Sunni sources and Iran, but has resisted becoming an Iranian proxy in the way that Hezbollah did. This is because its leaders “appear to understand the importance of Hamas maintaining an image among its domestic constituents as an authentic Palestinian offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, instead of as an Iranian proxy[.]”

Hamas supporters identify the movement with the Muslim Brotherhood, and many members of Hamas are also members of the Brotherhood and its network of subordinate organizations.

Many of the unindicted co-conspirators, as well as those actually charged and convicted, were Muslim Brotherhood members.

The Significance of the Holy Land Trial

At the time of the trial, the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) was the largest Muslim charity in North America.

The Department of Justice stated, “the HLF intentionally hid its financial support for Hamas behind the guise of charitable donations.” Approximately $12.4 million were diverted to Hamas during the course of HLF operations.

More significant than the cessation of this aid to a terrorist organization, though, was the unmasking of an extensive network of conspirators. Documentation in the trial demonstrates that nearly every major Muslim organization in the United States is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

For example, the North American Islamic Trust, the financial arm of the Muslim Students Association, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator. The Muslim Students Association was the Muslim Brotherhood’s first North American branch. The North American Islamic Trust holds the title for several hundred mosques around the United States, including mosques linked to terrorist attacks in Florida, New York, Tennessee, and Massachusetts.

Nevertheless, in 2009 a Federal judge ruled that the Justice Department had violated the Trust’s Fifth Amendment rights by including them on the list of unindicted co-conspirators.

They are still allowed to operate in the United States.

Why Were the Unindicted Co-Conspirators Not Prosecuted?

A change in Presidential administrations brought a change in the leadership of the Justice Department. The US Attorney’s office in Dallas, Texas where HLF had been based requested permission to carry out additional prosecutions of the identified conspirators, but the new Assistant Attorney General for National Security, David Kris, denied the request.

The FBI’s Dallas office also supported additional prosecutions, but the FBI cannot indict anyone on its own. It requires the Justice Department to put together a grand jury.

For now, the Obama Justice Department is electing to prevent any further action.

“An Explanatory Memorandum”

One of the documents entered into evidence in the trial deserves further comment. The next backgrounder will discuss a document called “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.”

This document defines the structure of a Muslim Brotherhood plot to weaken the United States government, and names numerous organizations controlled by the Brotherhood.

The ultimate goal is “the establishment of the global Islamic State,” but first a process of “presenting Islam as a civilization alternative” is necessary to settle Islam within the United States.


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