The Washington Times reports today:
The Justice Department is co-sponsoring a convention held by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) — an unindicted co-conspirator in an ongoing federal terrorist funding case — a move that is raising concerns among the Justice’s rank and file.
Justice lawyers have objected to the affiliation with ISNA, fearing it will undermine the case against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development in Dallas.
“There is outrage among lawyers that the Department of Justice is funding a group named as a co-conspirator in a terrorist financing case,” said a Justice lawyer who spoke to The Washington Times on the condition of anonymity.
According to an e-mail from Susana Lorenzo-Giguere, acting deputy chief of the Voting Rights Division, the sponsorship will involve sending government lawyers to man a booth for the Labor Day weekend event in Illinois.
“This is an important outreach opportunity, and a chance to reach a community that is at once very much discriminated against, and very wary of the national government and its willingness to protect them,” Mrs. Lorenzo-Giguere said in an e-mail obtained by The Washington Times.
“It would be a great step forward to break through those barriers. And Chicago is lovely this time of year,” Mrs. Lorenzo-Giguere said.
ISNA is one of more than 300 unindicted co-conspirators in a case against the Holy Land Foundation, whose top officers are accused of raising money for Hamas.
The convention features book signings, musical entertainment and seminars on family, community service and political activism.
But the first lawyer also pointed to a morning session on “the threat and reality of U.S.-sponsored torture” as contrary to the department’s mission. The Justice Department was responsible for signing off on the legality and constitutionality of interrogation techniques.
“The extensive news coverage by the U.S. and international media sources makes it all too clear that the grim abuses in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and the sending of detainees to secret prisons around the world that are known to torture during interrogations, are not isolated incidents, but rather constitute policy of the U.S. government,” the schedule of events said.
Here is an extract from the ISNA’s Program for the convention:
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Moderator: Parvez Ahmed
10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Session 4B: Ending U.S. Sponsored Torture: A Concern for All People of Faith
The threat and reality of U.S. sponsored torture is still an issue today. The extensive news coverage by the U.S. and international media sources makes it all too clear that the grim abuses in Abu Gharib, Guantanamo Bay, and the sending of detainees to secret prisons around the world that are known to torture during interrogations, are not isolated incidents, but rather constitute policy of the U.S. government. ISNA, Christian (including evangelical), Jewish and Sikh organizations have created the National Religious Campaign Against Torture to lead the faith-based efforts to end U.S. sponsored torture. This session will describe the nature of U.S. sponsored torture, the effects of torture on its victims, the efforts of the U.S. religious community, and what you can do to help end U.S. sponsored torture [Ed — pdf reader required].
Speakers: Ingrid Mattson, Jeanne Herrick-Stare, Rev. Richard Killmer, Tom Whittle
Moderator: Mohamed Elsanousi
And on August 11, 2007, Steven Emerson pointed out:
In an otherwise important article published by Newsweek this past Wednesday (An Unwelcome Guest), reporters Mike Isikoff and Mark Hosenball detailed a Department of Justice outreach event, cancelled at the last minute because of one of the invitees was a high ranking official with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) – a potentially embarrassing fact since ISNA was recently named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the current trial against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) in Dallas… The cancelled event was slated for the same day as President Bush’s speech at the Islamic Center of Washington D.C…
Additionally, evidence has been introduced during the HLF trial which further exposes ISNA’s claim of “unqualified condemnation of all acts of terrorism” as lies, at the same time, undercutting HLF’s innocent claims that the organization only assisted impoverished widows and orphans, and establish long-standing ISNA ties to HAMAS. Exhibits entered into evidence a few days ago at the HLF trial include an expense voucher from the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), an ISNA subsidiary, made out for $10,000 in the name of Musa Abu Marzook, as well as a check drawn on a NAIT account in the same amount made out to Marzook. Another check for $10,000 on the same account was made out to Marzook’s wife, Nadia Elashi. Another check for $30,000 was made out to the Islamic University of Gaza (and has Shukri Abu Baker/OLF written on the memo line), a school long known to be controlled by HAMAS, and which counted such notables as former HAMAS leader Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantissi and current HAMAS leader Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahar as professors, and the recently deposed HAMAS Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is a former dean of the University.
Pardon the Archie Bunkerism but our government sponsoring an Islamic convention involving unindicted co-conspirators during the trial they are named in sounds like the work of a beaurocrap.