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Supporters Rally Outside Holy Land Trial

By Bill Zeeble, KERA reporter

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-763663.mp3

Dallas, TX – Supporters of Holy Land Foundation defendants rallied outside the federal court house Monday. It was the day of opening arguments in the downtown Dallas case. Five men stand accused of funneling money to the illegal Palestinian group Hamas. KERA's Bill Zeeble reports

Local Muslims and political activists gathered in defense of those who used to run what had been the largest Muslim charity in the U.S. Imam Mahdi Bray says the defendants gave charity to those in need, as called for by their faith. He says they did not send funds to Hamas.

Mahdi Bray: These charges are politically motivated. Motivated by a Justice Department deemed the most political of all times. A Justice Department that has, for partisan purposes, used show trials, fear and smear techniques against its own fellow American Muslim citizens.

SMU assistant law professor Jeffrey Kahn says it would be a mistake to call this a politically motivated trial.

Jeff Kahn: The men and women who will be prosecuting this case for the government are long time professional trial attorneys for the government. They were here before the present administration and many will be here after the administration in many cases. This is not a case being prosecuted because of domestic politics.

The government says Holy Land Foundation funds knowingly went to Palestinian charities that would secretly pass it on to Hamas. Defendants say they did no such thing, and deny all allegations. If convicted, they could face life in prison. Bill Zeeble KERA news