Countries:
Palestine
Candidates:
Barack Obama
Issues:
Terrorism and Security, International Relations, Religion
 

Oh boy.  Just what Obama needs two days from the inaguration.  A Muslim who is speaking at the prayer service on Wednesday is the leader of a group that some federal prosecutors say has ties to Hamas:

Neither Mattson nor her organization have been charged. But prosecutors wrote in July that they had “a wide array of testimonial and documentary evidence expressly linking” the group to Hamas and other radical groups.

There’s a twist, of course.  Mattson and her group have worked with the Bush administration, providing religious training to the FBI.  Wait a second.  Does this mean the Bush administration is responsible for aiding and abetting terrorists?

Despite the sensationalistic headline that I’m only helping to propogate, Haaretz notes that Mattson and her group, The Islamic Society of North America, have not actually charged with anything.  And from what it seems, Mattson been rather known throughout the community in actually denouncing terrorism.  The case is a complicated one:

All this was going on while officials in the law enforcement and intelligence community apparently had evidence that the Islamic Society of North America had ties to terrorists and to the Holy Land Foundation. That foundation and five of its former leaders were convicted at a retrial in November of funneling millions of dollars to Hamas.

Mark Pelavin, director of inter-religious affairs for the Union for Reform Judaism, another organization participating in the prayer service, called Mattson “a really important voice denouncing terrorism.”

“Clearly, Dr. Mattson has been welcome throughout the government,” he said. “I haven’t found anyone anywhere who’s found anything Dr. Mattson has said that’s anything other than clearly denouncing terrorism in quite explicit Islamic terms.”

The government may not even have a case at all:

According to e-mails filed in the court case, one of the prosecutors seemed willing to ask the judge to remove the group from the list.

Or if they do have a case, maybe they just don’t want nasty questions as to why they didn’t better vette the group first before working with them.  Take your pick.

Still, an investigation is just an investigation, so Obama probably doesn’t have much to worry about for Wednesday.

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