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Jury hears closing arguments in trial of Muslim charity accused of funding terrorism

[JURIST] Closing arguments began Monday in the case against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development [ADL backgrounder], a Muslim foundation charged with financing international terrorism by supporting the Palestinian group Hamas [BBC backgrounder]. Once the largest Muslim charity in the United States, federal prosecutors shut down the Holy Land Foundation in 2001 and subsequently charged the organization and five of its leaders [JURIST report] in 2004 on 42 counts of conspiracy, providing support to a foreign terrorist organization, conspiracy to deal in the property of a terrorist, dealing in the property of a specially designated terrorist, money laundering, conspiracy to impede an investigation by the IRS, and filing false tax returns. The defense argued that the charity's funds were used only to help Palestinians in need.

The prosecution argued the charity was in place only to funnel money through Palestinian schools and charities used to support Hamas. If the defendants are found guilty, they could face up to life in prison. AP has more.

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