Fred Korematsu is a national civil rights icon. In 1942, at the age of 23, he refused to submit to the incarceration of Japanese Americans. He was arrested and convicted for his refusal and fought the legality of the incarceration all the way to the Supreme Court where the Court ruled against him, declaring that the exclusion of an entire racial group was justified by "military necessity". In 1983, Korematsu's conviction was overturned based on governmental misconduct in altering, suppressing and destroying evidence favorable to him and Japanese Americans, helping to pave the way for the U.S. to finally apologize for the incarceration. In 1998, Korematsu received the Medal of Freedom from President Clinton. After 9/11, he became a vocal defender of the Muslim community and inmates at Guantanamo Bay.
The Holy Land Foundation (HLF) was the largest Islamic charity in the U.S. before it was shut down by the Presidential Executive Order in 2001. Their offices were raided, and all of their documents and assets were seized without due process. Prosecutors found that all HLF funds went to humanitarian aid with no illegal financial transactions, but they employed the "material support" statute - amended by the USA Patriot Act- to charge five of its leaders with indirectly supporting terrorism through their legal charitable work. HLF faced two trials. The first ended in no convictions, but the judge ruled it a mistrial. The second trial ended in convictions, with the key witness for the prosecution remaining anonymous.
February marks the month President Roosevelt authorized the internment of Japanese Americans by Executive Order. Join us 71 years later for two panel discussions this week, to learn what occurred in the Holy Land case and its significance to the struggle for justice today.
Panelists will include: Dale Minami (Korematsu Legal Team), Ling Woo Liu, John Cline (Holy Land Case Legal Team), Dr. Hatem Bazian, Daniel Mayfield (Irvine 11 Legal Team), Zahra Billoo (CAIR-SFBA), Nasrina Bargzie (Asian Law Caucus) and Summer Hararah (Muslim Legal Fund of America).