The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and several of its founders are linked to the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), a Texas-based charity whose officers were sentenced in May 2009 to between 15 and 65 years in prison in 2009 for funneling over $12 million to Hamas. One of the sentenced officers, Ghassan Elashi, is the founder of CAIR's Dallas chapter.
Evidence presented at the trial shows that other CAIR leaders were linked to HLF and Hamas activity in the U.S. as well. CAIR and its founders were part of the Palestine Committee, an entity that included HLF and was set up by the Muslim Brotherhood to coordinate support for Hamas in the U.S. HLF was also closely associated with the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), whose members founded CAIR.
Throughout the HLF trial, CAIR organized support for the defendants and often argued that the case was "politically driven." CAIR joined several other Muslim organizations, including the Muslim American Society (MAS), to form a coalition dubbed "Hungry for Justice" to support HLF through events and a Web site. Khalil Meek, of CAIR's Dallas chapter, served as the coalition's primary spokesman, and two other CAIR leaders acted as media contacts for the coalition. Meek at one point described the legal process as an "Israeli trial tried on American soil."
Parvez Ahmed, CAIR's former chairman, wrote in his blog: "The case against HLF was a political witch-hunt that had nothing to do with America's security.” He claimed the trial was merely “an attempt to block humanitarian assistance.”