A federal judge in Dallas declared a mistrial in the case of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) when a jury was unable to reach a verdict on 197 counts brought by the government that accused the Muslim charity of funding terrorism.
A hung jury, however, is not an acquittal, and even if the Holy Land Foundation eventually is acquitted - the government has indicated it will retry the case - it doesn't necessarily mean the accused is innocent (think O.J. Simpson's murder trial).
Anyone in doubt about the game plan for infiltrating, undermining and attacking America from within our borders had better sober up. Our enemies know our ways, and they are using them to gain a strategic advantage over us.
From the rapid construction of mosques and Islamic schools across the country - many of which are financed by Saudi Arabia - to the use of front organizations as conduits to channel money to terrorist groups abroad, a "fifth column" has been opened in the United States.
For those who are unfamiliar with the term "fifth column," it usually refers to a group of people who are assumed to have loyalties to countries other than their own or who support some other nation in war efforts against the country they live in. We used to call such people traitors before the term was submerged in a wave of political correctness.
Despite the hung jury, a lot of useful information came out at the trial that people with terrorist intent would just as soon have remained hidden. Moving under the radar and hiding your real intentions is essential for fifth column members.
Among the evidence revealed in court is the connection of Holy Land Foundation and a number of other Islamic groups, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Society of North America and the Islamic Circle of North America, to the radical Muslim Brotherhood organization. Read a thoroughly researched and documented essay at www.nefafoundation.org/hlfdocs.html.
The Holy Land Foundation is not an unfairly persecuted charity. While it exhibits some charitable work as window dressing, evidence presented at the trial shows its connections with known terrorist groups.
Although scores of examples from the government's case show what we face, I offer just one found in a recent Nine/Eleven Finding Answers Foundation report: "On Aug. 16, 2007, a Miami jury convicted Adham Hassoun, Jose Padilla and Kifah Jayyousi of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. A Department of Justice press release announcing the initial indictment against Hassoun, a Palestinian national living in Florida, stated, 'As part of the conspiracy, Hassoun allegedly wrote a series of checks over several years - from 1994 to late 2001 - to unindicted coconspirators and organizations, including the Holy Land Foundation and the Global Relief Foundation, to be used to support violent jihad.' Further, Raed Awad, HLF's Florida representative and fund raiser, served as the Imam at Jose Padilla's mosque."'
There is much more, including this from the government's case: "HLF is also mentioned in The 9/11 Commission Report in connection with the investigation of Anwar Aulaqi, an Imam in San Diego and Falls Church who allegedly had a 'close relationship' with hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar. Investigators probing Aulaqi prior to 9/11 learned that he 'knew individuals from the Holy Land Foundation and others involved in raising money for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas."'
That the government was unable to convince a jury of this is either the fault of the prosecutors or the blindness of the jurors. I suspect it is the latter. Americans are extremely reluctant to brand a class of people and put them in categories. Our enemies know this, so they trade on our sorry history of slavery and racism and wrap themselves in the image of civil rights workers seeking only the same freedoms everyone else enjoys.
In a related matter, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has recommended that an Islamic school in Northern Virginia that is supported by the Saudi government be closed until it can be determined whether the school promotes radical Islam.
The commission has criticized what it calls a lack of religious freedom in Saudi society and the promotion of religious extremism in Saudi schools. Officials at the Islamic school in Northern Virginia say the textbooks used to teach hate but no longer do. They refuse to provide the "new" textbooks for examination.
Here's a deal: condition the approval of every Islamic school and mosque in the United States on the construction of Christian and Jewish schools and houses of worship in Muslim countries. That would stop them dead in their tracks because the freedoms we offer here, which they want to destroy, are not offered there in a religiously intolerant and politically totalitarian environment.
The government should retry the Holy Land Foundation case and hope for a better jury and a better outcome.
E-mail nationally syndicated columnist Cal Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.