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
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper,
202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications
Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail:
email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787,
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations