WASHINGTON (JTA) — A U.S. appeals court upheld a decision holding three U.S. Islamic charities liable for the shooting by Hamas of a U.S.-born yeshiva student in Israel.
The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago reaffirmed the $156 million judgment against the American Muslim Society, the Islamic Association for Palestine-National and the Quranic Literacy Institute. The decision stated that the charities must be held liable if they gave money to groups engaged in terrorist acts, even if they meant the funds to be used for humanitarian purposes, The Associated Press reported.
The original case was filed by the parents of David Boim, a 17-year-old yeshiva student who was killed in a Hamas drive-by shooting in 1996 while standing at a bus stop in the West Bank. The Boim family lawyer called Wednesday’s decision the most important judicial opinion on liability for terrorist financing ever decided by a U.S. court.
The appeals court also reversed a previous ruling on the liability of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, sending the case against that charity back to a lower court for trial. Holy Land had objected to the trial judge ruling against the charity via summary judgment without a trial.
The appeals court also ruled that a fifth defendant, Muhammed Salah, should not be held liable because he was in jail at the time of the passage of the U.S. anti-terrorism law that formed the basis for the suit.