In February a New York court found Iraqi-American Rafil Dhafir, 57, guilty of violating U.S. sanctions against Iraq and of money laundering. He directed Help the Needy, a charity that sent funds for food and aid to children suffering under the sanctions. Dhafir, who was held without bail for two years before his trial, received a 22-year jail term.
In a Texas case, five Palestinian-American Muslim brothers were found guilty of a total of 23 counts related to violating sanctions against Libya and Syria. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and up to a $500,000 fine. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service is deporting their wives, which leaves 12 U.S.-born children with an uncertain status.
In cases of non-Muslim Americans or corporations charged with violating sanctions, the government has asked for warnings or civil penalties, not jail. “This is another indication of the greatest flaw in President Bush’s war on terror,” Reza Aslan, author of No god but God, told Sojourners. “We must strive to make sure that the values...of our society—what makes us Americans—are not swept aside as we pursue greater security in a time of war.”