US: Muslim charity leaders on trial for terrorism

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July 16, 2007 23:00

 
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Jury selection began Monday for one of the most prominent anti-terrorist prosecutions of the past decade, the trial of leaders of a Muslim charity acused of funneling money to the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which allegedly used some of it to support the families of suicide bombers in the Middle East. The defendants and their supporters claim the prosecution is based on anti-Arab bias. Defense lawyers say the men and the charity, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, helped build hospitals and schools for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation but are not connected to Hamas. Although the FBI investigated the men and the charity in the 1990s, the Bush administration raised the profile of the case since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. President George W. Bush announced the seizure of the charity's assets in a Rose Garden news conference three months later, in December 2001.

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