In a new challenge to Washington over its closing of several U.S. Muslim charities that it has accused of aiding terrorism, the largest such group has sued to dismiss many of the charges.
Lawyers for Holy Land, based in Richardson, Texas, filed a suit in federal District Court in Dallas on Monday, two weeks after a federal judge in California called into question a crucial provision for designating terrorist supporters. Since December 2001, the Treasury Department has designated Holy Land and five other Muslim charities in the United States as terrorist supporters, seizing millions of dollars in assets and halting their activities.
No accused charity or any senior officer has been convicted on a charge of terrorism. Some charities have faced no criminal charges.
The foundation denies that the man had an official post.
The government has accused the foundation of having been the U.S. fund-raising arm of Hamas. The charity and five officers are expected to go on trial in July on charges of financing a foreign terrorist organization, money laundering and tax fraud.
The Treasury Department’s repeated refusal to unfreeze charities’ assets so they can be sent abroad has provoked alarm and frustration in the philanthropic world.
Last month, philanthropic groups from across the United States sent Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. a letter asking that he find a way to release the assets to their intended recipients.