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FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR

Vetting Not Included

One hopes the new Administration’s homeland security policy will be less porous than its inauguration invite list:

One of the religious leaders invited to address Barack Obama’s inaugural prayer service Wednesday heads an Islamic group named by federal prosecutors as a co-conspirator in a terrorism-fundraising trial in Texas.

Ingrid Mattson, president of the Islamic Society of North America, is scheduled to join Christian ministers and Jewish rabbis offering prayers for the new president and his family during a service at the National Cathedral in Washington, organizers announced Friday.

Mattson’s group calls itself “the largest Muslim umbrella organization” in North America. However, in May 2007, federal prosecutors included ISNA on a list of nearly 300 co-conspirators filed in a criminal case charging that the Holy Land Foundation of Richardson, Texas, funneled more than $12 million to Hamas.

The U.S. government designated Hamas as a terrorist group in 1995.

A trial in Dallas in 2007 for the foundation and five of its leaders ended with acquittals and mistrials. However, Holy Land and the five officials were convicted of all 108 charges in a second trial last year.

More background on Mattson herself here and here.

There are two possibilities here. One is that the Obama people simply didn’t check out Ms. Mattson’s background, which seems doubly implausible given that she spoke at the Convention in August. The other is that they have deliberately taken sides against DOJ’s view of the Holy Land case (that’s surely how the targets of that investigation will view the invitation – as a vindication that their activities are no longer frowned upon), and implicitly against the broader project of Justice’s efforts to shut down the laundering of funds through Islamic charity groups inside the U.S. That’s a very dangerous signal indeed.

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