NBC 5: Muslim Groups Claim Injustice In Boim Trial
Judge's Denial Of Continuance Considered 'Attack On Islam' A local family is suing a Chicago Islamic charity over the death of its son in the Middle East. NBC5's Charlie Wojciechowski reported that local Muslim groups on Monday said the lawsuit is putting their religion on trial. At least three Chicago Muslim groups say a federal judge is being unfair in forcing the Quranic Literacy Institute to proceed with a trial it says it's not prepared for.
But the parents pressing this $600 million lawsuit say they deserve justice, too, for the 1996 terrorist attack that killed their son, David, when he was in Jeruselem.
Wojciechowski said that Monday was another difficult day in court for Joyce and Stanley Boim as they heard the alleged connections between the death of their son David and Islamic charities in Chicago accused of funneling money to the terrorist group Hamas.
"It is very difficult to listen to this information ... knowing what was behind the bullet that killed my son," Joyce Boim (pictured, left) told NBC5.
Terrorism expert Matt Leavit took the stand Monday and explained that Hamas runs hospitals and schools in addition to sponsoring assassins and suicide bombers.
"We are showing how Hamas operates," said attorney for the Boims, Steven Landes. "And that a template for how it operates in the Mideast sets a template for how it operates in the United States," he added.
But for every accusation there has been silence from the attorney representing the now lone defendant, the Quarnic Literacy Institute.
"I'm simply sitting there in the courtroom, essentially as a potted plant, letting the case go forward in, essentially, silent protest," said the institute's attorney, John Beal.
His is a protest of Judge Arlander Keyes' ruling denying the group a continuance.
Now local Islamic groups say that have doubts that any Muslim can get a fair trial.
"I think what we saw in court today was a definite attack on Islam," said Seema Imam (pictured, right), of the Muslim Civil Rights Center.
Another protester said that he felt Keyes' ruling had "predetermined the outcome of this trial ahead of time."
"At the end of the day," said Yaser Tabbara, with the Coulcil on American Islamic Relations, "what we are witnessing is a modern day lynching and a mockery of justice."
But the Boim's attorney said the protests were just a smoke screen.
"Obviously, there's another agenda which seeks to deflect what's taken place in the case so far, by claiming that they're victims of an unfair judicial system, which is simply not true," Landes said.
The prosecution is expected to wrap up its case Tuesday, Wojciechowski said, putting Joyce Boim on the stand. Since the defense is refusing to mount a case, it is likely the jury will get the case Tuesday afternoon or early Wednesday morning.
copyright © 2004, nbc5.com