HLF's P.R. Blitz: "Islamophobia" and Apple Pie
by Steven Emerson
July 17, 2007
Yesterday, jury selection began in the largest terrorism financing case in U.S. history, against alleged Hamas-front group, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF).
Yesterday also witnessed the launch of the defense's public strategy, a dual-track approach consisting of self-appointed Muslim leaders (in this instance, many are implicated in the case themselves, as the Council on American-Islamic Relations [CAIR] was named as an un-indicted co-conspirator), and some in the media, claiming the prosecution is "Islamophobic," while family members of the defendants wrap themselves in the American flag.
In today's New York Times, Neil MacFarquhar, parroting the tactic of Islamist organizations like CAIR and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), pretends to speak for all American Muslims, writing:
For American Muslims, whose religion stipulates that they give 2.5 percent of their annual income to charity, the shuttering of so many of their organizations without a hearing smacks of discrimination.
No attempt is even made to qualify that statement with a "some," "many" or even a "most" – apparently MacFarquhar knows how all American Muslims feel. Much of his article serves as apologia for the defendants, as well.
But a truly egregious article appeared in yesterday's Dallas Morning News, profiling the daughter of Ghassan Elashi, defendant in the HLF trial, founder of CAIR's Texas chapter, and already sentenced to nearly 7 years in prison for his role in an Internet company, Infocom, which laundered money for Hamas-kingpin Mousa Abu Marzook and violated sanctions against state sponsors of terror.
Dallas Morning News reporter Jason Trahan interviewed Mr. Elashi's daughter, Noor, herself a reporter for the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. Trahan informs his readers how Ms. Elashi is affected by her father's legal tribulations:
"The trial has taken over my thoughts during the day and my dreams during the night," said Noor Elashi, daughter of Mr. Elashi and a reporter at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
"While I'm driving, while I'm working, while I'm eating, it's all I think about," she said. "I keep asking myself, 'How can my father and the other co-defendants be accused of supporting heinous acts of violence when all they did was feed, clothe and help educate Palestinian orphans and widows?'"
What Mr. Trahan fails to elicit from Ms. Elashi is a quote on her feelings about her family member, Hamas Deputy Political Bureau Chief Mousa Abu Marzook, married to her cousin. Marzook is the second-ranking official of a designated foreign terrorist organization responsible for hundreds of civilian deaths as well as the infusion of a culture of death, martyrdom and hatred in a large segment of Palestinian society. Regardless of the outcome of the HLF trial, Ms. Elashi's father is going to prison for laundering Marzook's money, yet Trahan somehow fails to get a comment on that rather important aspect of her father's life.
Then Ms. Elashi, via Mr. Trahan, tells us just how much she and her family love the United States of America:
"It's unimaginable that a man who loves America so much would face such tribulations in the country he now calls home," Ms. Elashi said.
Ms. Elashi said her father was uprooted from his childhood Palestinian home in 1967, along with his parents and four brothers. The family settled in the U.S. about 25 years ago and has called it home since.
"America is the only home that my five siblings and I have ever known – from my brother who lives and breathes skateboarding, to my teenage sister, whose favorite show is Gilmore Girls."
That's right. The Elashis are just your normal, average, American family; a normal family with a relative who's a high-ranking leader in one of the most murderous terrorist organizations in the world, and a father (and several uncles, for that matter) already convicted of serving as his U.S.-based money launderer.
Expect the public defense to continue throughout the course of the trial and even after its conclusion, and expect the themes of "Islamophobia" and "American values" to be part of the actual legal defense, as well, as seen in the trials against Sami al-Arian in Tampa and Muhammad Salah and Abdelhaleem al-Ashqar in Chicago.