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A major U.S.-based Muslim charity has been charged with helping to finance the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft says a federal grand jury has returned a forty-two-count indictment against the Holy Land Foundation and seven of its senior officers:

“The indictment alleges that the Holy Land Foundation intentionally cloaked its financial support for Hamas behind the mantle of charitable activities. The indictment alleges that the foundation and the defendants provided financial support to the families of Hamas suicide bombers, detainees, and activists knowing and intending that such assistance would support Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure.”

While the Holy Land Foundation did fund some legitimate charities, Mr. Ashcroft says this was a ruse to conceal its support for Hamas, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization:

“Since its inception, Hamas has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks of terror that have taken the lives of hundreds of individuals, including several American citizens. Suicide bombings perpetrated against innocent civilians are the group’s trademark.”

Since the September 11th, 2001, attacks on the United States, the U.S. and its allies have used every tool within the law to identify, disrupt, and dismantle terrorist networks that supply the money that makes terrorism possible. To date, nearly four-hundred individuals and entities have been designated as terrorist supporters. Attorney General Ashcroft says the worldwide effort to attack the financial infrastructure of terror is making it more difficult for terrorist groups to pay for their murderous activities:

"To those who exploit good hearts to fund secretly violence and murder, this prosecution sends a clear message: there is no distinction between those who carry out terrorist attacks and those who knowingly finance terrorist attacks."

The United States, says Attorney General Ashcroft, “will ensure that both terrorists and their financiers meet the same certain justice.”