Muslim charities fined for colony death

A US court has ordered three Islamic charities and an alleged fund-raiser for Palestinian resistance group Hamas to pay $156 million to the parents of an American teenager killed outside a Jewish colony.

    David Boim was killed outside a settlement in the West Bank

    A federal jury awarded $52 million

     in damages on Wednesday to

    the parents of David Boim, who was shot dead at a bus stop outside the colony in

    the West Bank 

    eight years ago.

    US judge Arlander Keys then tripled the

    damages.

    But it is uncertain whether the family can collect much money from the

    defendants, some of whom have had their assets frozen by the government.

    Joyce and Stanley Boim, parents of the teenager who moved to Israel in 1985, sued under a US law

    that allows victims of "terrorism" abroad to collect damages in American courts

    from organisations that furnish money to "terrorist" groups.

    Before the trial started, the judge had found the Texas-based Holy Land

    Foundation for Relief and Development, the Islamic Association for Palestine,

    and alleged Hamas fund-raiser Muhammad Salah liable for Boim's death.

    The jury also found that the Quranic Literacy Institute, a group in suburban

    Oak Lawn, Illinois, that translates Islamic religious texts, was

    responsible for the shooting.

    No Palestinian group has ever claimed responsibility for the killing.

    Israeli occupation

    The teenager was shot outside Bait El where he attended a Jewish seminary.

    "We feel that the decision is unfortunate but expected. I think this will only serve to discourage American Muslims from giving to charity"

    Yaser Tabbara,
    Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesman

    Colonies, also known as settlements, are illegal under international law and their heavily armed inhabitants are frequently targeted by Palestinians aiming to drive them off stolen land.

    The Boims said the charities funded Hamas and therefore financed the violence that led to the death of their son.

    However, the four defendants denied having anything to do with Hamas.

    They argued there was nothing to show that money they sent to charitable groups in the West Bank was used for anything related to Boim's death.

    The judge nevertheless ruled that the Boims did not need to show that money sent by the defendants directly paid for the shooting.

    He said the law required only that the groups realised they were aiding Hamas and understood it engaged in violence.

    Hamas is viewed by Palestinians and many Muslims around the world as a legitimate resistance organisation fighting Israeli occupation.

    Outside of its military and political activities, Hamas is also engaged in providing education and health facilities to the Palestinian people.

    Travesty of justice

    A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) told Aljazeera.net that the verdict was a travesty of justice.

     

    Palestinian Americans have no
    redress for unlawful Israeli acts

    Yaser Tabbara said the jury only heard one side of the case because the defendants instructed their attorney to remain silent

    in protest at the judge's decision not to give them extra time

    to prepare.

    "We feel that the decision is unfortunate but expected. I think this will only serve to discourage American Muslims from giving to charity," he said.

    "Not only did the judge originally find that the charities had funnelled money to Hamas but he found that Hamas had actually carried out the killing, which to my knowledge they have never claimed."

    Tabbara also

    acknowledged the perception among American Muslims that there is

    redress for Israeli victims of Palestinian "t

    errorism" but no redress for Palestinian victims of Israeli "terrorism".

    "By the same logic, it should be possible for a Palestinian American to sue a US organisation like the Friends of the Israeli Defence Force for the unlawful killings they perpetrate," he said.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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