Here's an outrage in Massachusetts: Susan Estrich, a lawyer, author and media pundit, who managed Michael S. Dukakis’ 1988 presidential campaign, and Harvey Silverglate, a noted Cambridge criminal defense lawyer, entered appearances last week as counsel for Emadeddin Z. Muntasser of Brookline, a suburb of Boston. He is accused of misleading the government about the nature of Care International Inc., a charity the government claims supported jihadist and mujahedin organizations.
His attorneys have filed a motion to have his case dismissed on the basis that donating money to further the efforts of jihad is a religious exercise and therefore constitutionally protected. They also contend that the government prefers other religions, including Christianity and Judaism, over Islam, and that the alleged criminal activity was actually the exercise of a religious right. This is a digraceful perversion of the law that must be vigorously fought by the government.
"Care was set up to advance religious goals; jihad is a religious concept; zakat (giving to charity) is a religious obligation; support for the mujahedin is, according to certain interpretations of the Koran, a religious command ... At the heart of this case is the right of an established religious charity to collect funds and distribute literature. That right has been repeatedly reaffirmed by the Supreme Court, even where municipalities and other local governments found the message of the charities offensive and their fundraising downright reprehensible."
The FBI claims that Care International raised about $1.7 million from 1993 to 2003, when it ceased to operate. Care International claimed it raised money for widows and orphans, but it also raised money for terror groups, according to the FBI. Court records say checks deposited into Care International accounts had phrases such as "for jihad only" and "Bosnia Jihad fund" and "Chechen Muslim Fighters" handwritten on the memo lines of donors' personal checks.