Jerry Merriman reviews the case of the Holy Land Five – five Palestinian-American men convicted in November 2008 of giving humanitarian aid to Palestinians that indirectly benefited Hamas – and writes, “Not one of the five humanitarians should have spent a single day in prison. Their good names must be cleared, and they must be released from prison. It cannot happen too soon.”
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Orwah Hammad, 14, was killed last October by Israeli forces in a West Bank village. Shukri Abu Baker offers a poem inspired by his death
Nida Abubaker thinks of her father, who is imprisoned as part of the Holy Land Five case, as she graduates from college, “Its been 4 years since he has been in prison. 2 years since I last hugged him.”
Shukri Abu Baker writes a poem about the agony of being separated from his family while in prison as part of the Holy Land Foundation 5.
Today the Supreme Court will announce its decision to hear whether to hear the last remaining legal appeal of the Holy Land Five. The crusade against the Holy Land Foundation has been a political prosecution that targeted five Palestinian-Americans, with the close collaboration of Israeli intelligence sources and an anonymous witness.
In July 2004, federal agents raided the homes of five Palestinian-American families, arresting the fathers, who had been leaders of a Texas-based charity called the Holy Land Foundation (HLF). Until 9/11, the HLF was the largest Muslim charity in the United States, but their trials resulted in very lengthy sentences for the men—for “supporting terrorism” by donating to charities in Palestine that the U.S. government itself had long worked with. The men remain in prison. Miko Peled’s new book “Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five” tells the story of the landmark case and the families it impacted. In this excerpt he tells the story of Shukri Abu-Baker.
On 11/24/2008 a Texas Jury found Shukri Abu Baker and his comrades in the HLF case guilty of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Shukri Abu Baker shares his “sarcastically serious” thoughts on our sixth anniversary of the decision.
Holy Land Foundation President Shukri Abu Baker writes from a maximum security prison in Beaumont, Texas: “I was only 4 yrs old when Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, 1963. In that speech King dreamt of a day when people of all races would be able to sing with a ‘new meaning’, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.” I sang, and I’m still singing. Even from the tight emptiness of my cell I’m singing, but I’m yet to savor the new meaning King spoke of. I’m yet to feel the breeze of liberty against the stark landscape of incarceration. Perhaps my singing carries too strong of an Arabic accent, or a hint of Islamism, or a touch of Palestinianism. Perhaps the song, was not meant for me.”
My friend Noor Elashi, the daughter of imprisoned Holy Land Foundation for Human Relief and Development (HLF) chairman Ghassan Elashi (also my friend), just arrived in New Orleans. She’s there to watch the long-awaited appeals of her father and the rest of the Holy Land Five, Palestinian-American men convicted of providing charity to Palestinians. Federal prosecutors […]
On Monday the Supreme Court is expected to decide if it will hear an appeal that could overturn the conviction of the co-founders and chief staff of the Holy Land Foundation, a Texas-based humanitarian organization and once was the largest Muslim charity in the United States.
The Supreme Court has denied the Holy Land Five appeal and will not be issuing a decision in the case. This almost definitely marks the end of the legal appeal process. Above, a rally for the Holy Land Five in New York City last week.
The Holy Land Five case was hardly the first time the “material support” law has been used against those advocating for Palestinian rights. It is a favored tool of the government to go after Palestine solidarity activists.
This post is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page. With the storm’s passing, the beach morning sky is filled with pastel pinks and blues. The rising sun is bright orange. We’ve lost a lot of beach sand but, in comparison, […]
Shukri Abu Baker, a member of the Holy Land Five, issued a statement following the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the Holy Land Five appeal thanking supporters and vowing to continue the fight.
A federal U.S. court of appeals upheld the convictions of the Holy Land Foundation Five. They were convicted under the Providing Material Support to Terrorists Act for donating to Palestinian orphanages and hospitals in Gaza.
If as a society we decide not to allow funding of entities overseas, I’m willing to hear the arguments, if it’s done across the board. If as a society we return to the isolationist part of American history that abhors foreign entanglements, I’m willing to hear the arguments, if it’s done across the board. But if Jews can enable the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and the settling of their land, then Palestinians and others can enable their own struggle against it. It’s an obvious principle of fairness.
On December 12, Noor Elashi, daughter of Holy Land Foundation co-founder Ghassan Elashi, writes on her father’s appeal and legacy as a humanitarian, Communication Management Units, and the so-called “war on terrorism.”
A bill to declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization has now been introduced in Congress. This action against the Muslim Brotherhood is about political repression in this country, not just abroad. In the US this law will be used to sweep up and act against groups in the Muslim Community. Groups like CAIR, the Muslim Student Association, and American Muslims for Palestine will be some of the first groups attacked, even if there are no provable links to the Muslim Brotherhood. Concerned about a Muslim Registry? This is the registry.
While searching the internet for ways a private citizen in the U.S. could support humanitarian projects in the West Bank and Gaza through charities based in the U.S., I was not surprised to find that it takes some digging to find opportunities, especially in Gaza.
180 new units in East Jerusalem [map] Settlement Watch EJ 29 Oct — The Israeli Land Administration announced last week the allocation of 180 new housing units in East Jerusalem for families of people from the Israeli security forces (the army and police). The decision was made in accordance with the Israeli Government’s decision from […]
n 2009, after a previous trial resulted in a hung jury, Shukri Abu Baker was sentenced to 65 years in a United States prison after being convicted of having a role in distributing over 12 million dollars through the charity The Holy Land Foundation in material support to the designated terrorist group Hamas. Richard Potter shares his powerful correspondence with Abu Baker from prison.
Exile / Ethnic cleansing / Land, property theft & destruction Israel detains 2 more lawmakers JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 23 Jan — Israeli forces on Monday detained two Palestinian MPs during a raid on the Jerusalem headquarters of the International Red Cross. Mohammad Tawtah and former Jerusalem affairs’ minister Khalid Abu Arafa are being questioned by Israeli […]
From Scott McConnell: A Dallas judge has meted out heavy sentences to five Arab American men, associated with the Holy Land Foundation, for funneling $12 million to Hamas, designated by the US government as a terror organization. The defendants maintained…
A Spanish High Court of the Asturias region upheld a decision last week declaring a Langreo City Council agreement to boycott Israel illegal. And last month the UK government’s Department for Communities and Local Government published guidance for local authorities stating that “using pension policies to pursue boycott, divestment and sanctions against foreign nations and UK defence industries are inappropriate”.
US elections: Why Israel is a ‘red state’ / Herb Keinon JPost 1 Nov — Poll after poll shows Israelis favor Republican candidate Mitt Romney over US President Barack Obama. This even though their American Jewish brethren hold the opposite point of view. Why? … So if Obama has been so good for Israel’s security, […]