Commentary Magazine


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Court Decision Reaffirms Convictions of Muslim Brotherhood’s U.S. Branch

The Dallas Morning News reports the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has upheld the 2009 convictions of five persons who helped the Holy Land Foundation raise money in this country for the Hamas terrorist group. Andrew McCarthy gives a good summary of the decision at National Review. But, as he demonstrates, the significance of this case goes beyond the question of how Islamists sought to use American Muslims as a cash cow for Hamas. The details of the case, reiterated by the unanimous opinion of the three-member panel of federal judges, provide a history not just of American jihadists but their connections with the Muslim Brotherhood; yes, the same group that just won the Egyptian parliamentary elections.

The main points to be remembered here are that Hamas was founded by the Brotherhood in 1987 as Islamists sought a foothold among Palestinians looking for an alternative to the rival Fatah terrorist movement. The Brotherhood was also behind the founding of support groups for Hamas around the globe, but specifically in the United States. Their American “Palestine Committee” founded the Holy Land Foundation to raise money for Hamas. But it also, as the evidence in the federal trial showed, created other structures. The most important of them was the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which was to be the political front of the Hamas support group.

CAIR, which has survived and grown in the last two decades, now presents itself as a moderate civil rights group whose aim is to foster good community relations and to push back against the supposed wave of prejudice against Muslims that we are told rose up after 9/11. But despite its ability to scam the mainstream media, its origins as the mouthpiece for Islamist killers responsible for the murder of both Israelis and Americans are clear. The group was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land case.

The affirmation of these federal convictions reminds us of two clear facts that should inform both foreign and domestic policy.

The first is that despite the spin coming out of the White House in recent months as well as some voices in the media, the Muslim Brotherhood is a dangerous organization with strong links to international terrorism. Their rise to power in Egypt is a threat to the region. Any attempt to portray them as moderates or responsible partners in an alliance with the United States illustrates the capacity of Americans to deceive themselves about Islamists.

The second is that the popular portrayal of CAIR as a civil rights group is a sad joke. They remain a front for Islamists, and their efforts to hijack the American Muslim community should not be abetted by a gullible media.

The lesson of the Holy Land Foundation case is that those who seek to whitewash Islamists either here or in Egypt are advancing the cause of a dangerous movement that presents a threat both in the Middle East and at home.