Weak case seen in failed trial of charity; Muslim relief group was shut based on charges that ended in mistrial.

While the U.S. Justice Department ponders how it will retry its troubled terrorism finance case against a now- defunct Muslim charity, debris from the recent mistrial here shows signs of piling up at the White House doorstep. The nation’s biggest terrorism finance case ended so badly for the government that it has thrown into question the Bush administration’s original order to shut down the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development six years ago. Back then, President Bush accused the charity of aiding Palestinian terrorists. But similar allegations presented by federal prosecutors during the two-month trial in the president’s home state fell dramatically short of convincing a Texas jury…

Fear Used Against Muslim Charity

Against heavy odds, the American justice system has prevailed once again. After 19 days of deliberation, a jury in Dallas did not return even one guilty verdict on almost 200 charges brought against officials of the Holy Land Foundation Muslim charity. This marked the third time that government prosecutors failed to win a conviction in a high- profile case related to charges of support for terrorism by members of the American Muslim community. The prosecution laid out a bizarre theory that HLF, by sending money to feed orphans in Palestine, was freeing up funds that were then used to pay for acts of terror.

U.S. Prosecution of Muslim Group Ends in Mistrial

DALLAS, Oct. 22 – A federal judge declared a mistrial on Monday in what was widely seen as the government’s flagship terrorism-financing case after prosecutors failed to persuade a jury to convict five leaders of a Muslim charity on any charges, or even to reach a verdict on many of the 197 counts. The case, involving the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and five of its backers, is the government’s largest and most complex legal effort to shut down what it contends is American financing for terrorist organizations in the Middle East. President Bush announced he was freezing the charity’s assets in December 2001, saying that the radical Islamic group Hamas had obtained much of the money it pays for murder abroad right here in the United States.

Mistrial Declared in Islamic Charity Case; Jurors Find No Proof That Donations Indirectly Aided Militant Hamas

The trial against what was once the nation’s largest Islamic charity ended in a mistrial Monday as federal prosecutors in Dallas were unable to gain a conviction on charges that the group’s leaders had funneled millions of dollars to Mideast terrorists. The jurors in the high-profile case acquitted Mohammad el-Mezain, the former chairman of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, on virtually all the charges brought against him and deadlocked on the other charges that had been lodged against four other former leaders of the charity…