HLF Trial Update: Muslim Brotherhood on the Witness Stand
June 29, 2007
Federal prosecutors have released their witness list for the upcoming trial against the alleged Hamas-front group, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) and the lineup is interesting.
In addition to CT Blog contributor Matt Levitt, the government is planning to call Abdurahman Alamoudi to testify on "the Muslim Brotherhood and the defendant's involvement in the Muslim Brotherhood."
Alamoudi, currently serving a 23-year sentence after pleading guilty in 2004 to illegal financial dealings with Libya (and admitting to his part in an al-Qaeda linked plot to assassinate then Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia), is the former head of a Muslim Brotherhood-linked organization, the American Muslim Council. If he is forthcoming, his testimony could prove especially interesting in light of the fact that prosecutors have recently named the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) as Muslim Brotherhood front groups in addition to un-indicted co-conspirators in the trial.
Alamoudi was also on the government's witness list in the trial against convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative Sami al-Arian, but was never called.
Rome, Georgia-based imam, Mohammed Shorbagi appears on the witness list. In February of this year, Shorbagi was sentenced to over seven years in prison for contributing to Hamas via HLF.
Sayyid Syeed, former Secretary General of ISNA, and current National Director of its Office of Interfaith Relations, is also on the list as a "records custodian" to testify about "bank records of the Holy Land Foundation." Syeed is appearing as a representative of the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), also named by the HLF prosecutors as a Muslim Brotherhood group and an un-indicted co-conspirator in the case. NAIT, a subsidiary of ISNA, holds the deeds to more than 25% of the mosques and Islamic centers around the U.S. What NAIT does not control, it attempts to acquire, even against the wishes of the mosque's membership (free registration required) and sometimes by force.
The HLF prosecutors will have high-ranking members of the American branch of the Muslim Brotherhood on the stand and under oath, with Alamoudi potentially being especially cooperative in an effort to reduce his sentence. So while the HLF trial will provide great insight into the Hamas infrastructure in the United States, it is also shaping up to potentially be an important and revealing event, detailing the history and structure of the Muslim Brotherhood's activities in the United States.
Jury selection for the trial is currently slated to begin in mid-July.