US jury divided in Islamic Charity case

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DALLAS, Oct 23 (Reuters) A Dallas jury found one defendant not guilty on all charges against him but failed to reach a decision on many of the counts against other defendants in a complex trial involving a US Islamic charity accused of illegally channeling money to the militant Palestinian group Hamas.

US District Judge A. Joe Fish sent the jurors back one more time to see if they could reach unanimous agreement after some of the jurors signaled the decisions he read were not theirs, confusing matters further in a trial has dragged on for three months, including 19 days of jury deliberations.

Only one defendant, Mufid Abdulqader, was found not guilty on all counts, in his case 32, in the verdict read by the judge yesterday.

Two of the accused were found not guilty of most counts with the jury hung on some. The jury said it could not reach any verdict against the Holy Land Foundation itself and two of the defendants.

Supporters of the defendants have said the case highlights the unfair scrutiny that US Muslims have been subjected to since the September 11 attacks and that it criminalizes legitimate charitable activities which are central to the Islamic faith.

REUTERS ARB KN0836

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