CAIR Files Amicus Brief in Texas Muslim Charity Trial

Listing of 300 Muslim Individuals, Institutions Called 'Unconstitutional'

Aug 16, 2007, 01:00 ET from Council on American-Islamic Relations

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A prominent national
 Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today announced the filing of an
 amicus brief relating to the ongoing trial of the Holy Land Foundation
 Muslim charity in Texas.
     The brief, filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR),
 asks the court to remove the Washington-based group's name, and that of
 several hundred other Muslim individuals and institutions, from a list of
 so-called "unindicted co-conspirators."
     In a related development, the National Association of Muslim Lawyers
 and the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys sent a letter to
 Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales objecting to the list and saying it
 could lead to increased discrimination against American Muslims.
     SEE: Muslim Groups Oppose a List of 'Co-Conspirators' (NY Times)
     CAIR's brief, filed by attorney William B. Moffitt, alleges that the
 listing of the organizations and individuals violates Justice Department
 guidelines and violates the uncharged parties' First and Fifth Amendment
     The brief states in part:
     "The Fifth Amendment was violated because the public naming of the
 unindicted co-conspirators damaged their reputation, good name, and
 economic well-being, without offering a forum for vindication, and without
 a legitimate governmental reason for doing so. The First Amendment was
 violated because the governmental action of publicly naming the unindicted
 co-conspirators chilled the expressive associational activities of the
 unindicted co-conspirators and the government does not have a substantially
 related compelling interest for their action...
     "Undoubtedly, the practice of naming unindicted co-conspirators needs
 to be proscribed from the outset. Such a practice should be per se
 unconstitutional, because once the government publicizes the names of the
 unindicted co-conspirators, the damage to their reputations, economic well-
 being, and expressive associations is done...
     "In this case, the government had nothing to lose by violating the
 Department of Justice guidelines and the Constitution, as their
 stigmatizing of these 'unpopular' groups and persons could not be
     To read the entire brief, go to:
     A recent article in Newsweek stated: "According to one senior law-
 enforcement official...the listing of ISNA, CAIR and other groups as
 'unindicted co-conspirators' was largely a tactical move by the government.
 By listing the groups, the official said, it makes it easier for
 prosecutors to introduce documents, tapes and other evidence mentioning
     SEE: An Unwelcome Guest (Newsweek)
     In a recent editorial on this issue, CAIR Board Chairman Parvez Ahmed
 wrote: "At a time when most experts are recommending the strengthening of
 American Muslim institutions to serve as bridges of understanding between
 America and the Muslim world, the smearing of these institutions undermines
 the very cause that ought to unite us as Americans."
     SEE: American Muslims: Second-Class Citizens? (Star-Telegram)
     CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices
 and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the
 understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties,
 empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and
 mutual understanding.
     CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper,
 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications
 Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787,

SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations