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Why the ‘Holy Land Five’ must be exonerated and released from prison

Jerry Merriman on

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.”

Story of the living teen

Shukri Abu Baker on

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


Shukri Abu Baker on

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.

Sentenced to 65 years for helping Palestinians: Read an excerpt from Miko Peled’s ‘Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five’

Miko Peled on

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.

Whether legal or political, the Holy Land Five struggle will continue

Joe Catron on

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.

Letter from a Texas Maximum Security Prison: A personal reflection on Martin Luther King Day

Shukri Abu Baker on

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.”

As the Holy Land Five return to court, US policy goes on trial

Adam Horowitz on

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 […]

Exile and the prophetic: When the Holy Land 5 attorneys reached out to me

Marc H. Ellis on

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, […]

Appeals judge upholds sentencing for Holy Land Foundation Five

Allison Deger on

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.

Exile and the Prophetic: The Holy Land 5 were railroaded

Marc H. Ellis on

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.

The legislation that will be used to intimidate and imprison members of the Muslim community has been introduced

Michael Merryman-Lotze on

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.

The search for U.S. charities that support projects in Gaza

Jerry Merriman on

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.

Israel announces 180 new settlement housing units in East Jerusalem

Kate on

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 […]

The Heart is Not a Weapon: My correspondence with Shukri Abu Baker

Richard Potter on

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.

Israel arrests two more Palestinian lawmakers in Jerusalem

Kate on

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 […]

Holy Land Foundation trial reflects misguided US policy towards Hamas

Scott McConnell on

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…

‘An attack on local democracy’: UK gov’t and Spanish High Court issue decisions against BDS

Kate on

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”.

Jerusalem Post looks at the question: Why is Israel a ‘red state’?

Kate on

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, […]