The Supreme Court is set to decide today on whether to hear a challenge to the conviction of five former top officials with the Holy Land Foundation, once the nation’s largest Muslim charity. The five were convicted on charges of backing the Palestinian group Hamas, though they were never accused of supporting violence, instead for funding charities that aided Palestinians in need. On Thursday, supporters of the Holy Land Five rallied outside a federal building in Manhattan. Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights said Holy Land had given money to groups also funded by the U.S. State Department.
Michael Ratner: “The foundation gave charity to … zakat committees in Palestine, charitable committees. Those committees were given aid by our own government, by [U.S.] AID.”
The government’s case relied on Israeli intelligence, as well as disputed documents and electronic surveillance gathered by the FBI over a span of 15 years. The first trial ended in a hung jury, but prosecutors obtained convictions in a retrial the following year.