An unholy tangle
Boim versus the Holy Land Foundation
in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times
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This chapter, originally published in a law journal (the UCLA Journal of Near Eastern and Islamic Law), follows up the issue of the Palestinian zakat committees which was discussed in Chapter 5. It describes a civil action launched in the US courts by the family of David Boim, a boy of seventeen, who was killed by Palestinians in a drive-by shooting in the West Bank in 1996. The family, being unable to sue either two alleged murderers or Hamas (as the presumed instigator of the attacks) sued the Holy Land Foundation on the grounds that it had remitted funds to zakat committees, held to be façades for Hamas. The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit found in favour of the Boims, by a majority. The majority decision was written by Judge Richard Posner. The controversial principles in US law of "material support for terrorism" and "fungibility" (i.e. transferability) of assets are discussed here. It is argued that the Court did not give enough attention to making clear its commitment to fairness, while the minority opinion was unimpeachable.


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