ACLU Statement Regarding False Accusations Against Islamic Society Of North America

January 18, 2009

ISNA's President Ingrid Mattson Scheduled To Give Inaugural Prayer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

NEW YORK - The American Civil Liberties Union represents the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and another mainstream Muslim organization, the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), in an effort to clear their designations as "unindicted co-conspirators" by prosecutors in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism-financing case. Neither organization was the subject of a criminal investigation or charged with any crime.

Dr. Ingrid Mattson, the head of ISNA, is scheduled to deliver a prayer at the Obama inauguration ceremonies.

The following can be attributed to Hina Shamsi, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project:

"There is absolutely no direct evidence that ISNA has any ties to terrorist organizations, including Hamas, and any implication to the contrary is nothing but guilt by association created by the U.S. government through its illegal and false accusations. In fact, after the government made its original public smear, it admitted to ISNA's lawyers in private that the government has no evidence of wrongdoing by the organization.

“By publicly smearing this organization without providing a forum for ISNA to clear its name, the government has acted with blatant disregard for its constitutional rights - and perpetuates a controversy based on no evidence. The government's action is particularly deplorable because the charge it makes is so inflammatory that it has caused the organization's reputation and good name to be dragged through the mud. We will continue to fight to ensure the government fulfills its constitutional obligation to set the record straight."

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