World Harvest update

Most of you probably know of the case of Shakir Hamoodi, owner of World Harvest. In case you’ve been under a rock:

Here is the Missourian Story

And reaction from Scott Rowson of Show Me Eats and from Eric of Chert Hollow Farm

No one, not least Mr. Hamoodi, is disputing that yes, he did send money to Iraq to help keep his family from starving. And yes, that was indeed in violation of the law. But seriously, would YOU let your mother starve to death in another country if you could stop it? And is a three year sentence in Federal prison really appropriate for his crime? In the same week this sentence was pronounced, a local (white, American) guy who rolled his truck on a joy ride and killed someone got 120 days. Hamoodi has contributed to Columbia’s economy, supported local producers, and generally been a huge asset to our community, and the sentence is just a travesty. I can’t help but wonder what the sentence would have been if his name had been Sam Hanson instead of Shakir Hamoodi.

Today I stopped by the store, and indeed World Harvest is still open at least for now. I can respect those of you who differ with my opinion that Mr. Hamoodi should not go to prison for three years, but for those like me who support his cause, please go pick up some items at World Harvest. When I arrived, Alan McClure (Patric Chocolate) was getting ready to leave after discussing some business, so it’s my hope that the store will stay open.

Importantly, there is a petition at the store that you can sign, to advocate for a suspended sentence. Please take time to go in and sign if you, like me, think Mr. Hamoodi does the most good to our country by continuing to support Columbia residents and producers at his store.

15 thoughts on “World Harvest update

  1. It sucks for his family here and the store, but the guy should have thought of the ramifications of him violating the law. Other people have been convicted of similar things and they got their just punishment as well. I cannot see how this guy should be treated any differently.

    • Michael, I don’t think anyone, least of all Mr. Hamoodi, expected for him to get off scott free for what he did. However, here are some questions for us to ask ourselves. First, if one of our close family members was trapped in another country and starving, would we simply let them die, when we had a way to get money to them?

      Second, is a 3 year sentence in a Federal prison really the right answer for this crime? Who does that benefit? It hurts him, his family, the producers and locals who he worked with and who shop at World Harvest. It takes a profit making commercial enterprise and possibly kills it, and on top of that costs taxpayers a lot of money to house and feed him for 3 years, when he could be positively contributing to the economy.

      How about probation, community service, and/or fines? These would all be appropriate punishments. His sentence seems grossly out of proportion both to what he did, and to other sentencing for far more severe crimes in this area. I continue to wonder what his sentence would have been if he had blonde hair and blue eyes and was named Sam Hanson.

      • I’m certainly not saying that I wouldn’t have tried to help my family, but in this case, he could have went the legal way in doing it. I read a Missourian article that said there were legal avenues he could have went through to get aid to his family. Knowing this, he certainly should be held accountable for going a route he should not have gone.

        The prison sentence is perfectly justifiable in this case. Again, citing the article I read, in past cases, others have been sentenced to more and less time based on the money they funneled through. The judge could have sentenced the guy to more time, but took into account his works when giving him three years. Again, a perfectly justifiable sentence.

        You disappoint me by bringing race into this. This has nothing to do with race; rather, it has everything to do with a man who knowingly broke the law doing what he did. Furthermore, others have been sentenced similarly for crimes like this and no one has said a word. Now, all of a sudden, it’s a travesty of justice because he happened to own a store you like. Is that what it is? You’re really angry because another overpriced store may close?

        You can’t pick and choose how to enforce our laws. The man has to pay for what he’s done, and he’s earned every minute in prison for what he did.

          • Oh, ok. I was just wondering because the tone of your posts make it seem like it’s all so clear, so white and black…as if anyone who disagrees with your legal positivism is unreasonable.

            It’s good to know you think that people who feel Mr. Hamoodi’s sentence of three years in Federal prison is overly harsh, considering he sent $200,000 to sick family members in Iraq, have a reasonable point.

            • Of course people like you and Robin have a reasonable point, as do I. You make valid points in his defense as do I in his prosecution. I do find it intriguing, though, that those who hold your position are so willing to finagle with the law to suit current needs. You speak of “just” punishments, but in the end, all you want is for the guy to get a slap on the wrist…just because you happen to like him. Whatever happened to following the rule of the law?

              • Rule of law? The rule of law differs from person to person. It is not concrete, and you should know that. And like it or not, color and ethnicity DO still matter in this country. It would be lovely if it didn’t, but it does.

                • The judge followed the law in this case, even lessening his sentence because of his good works. How was it unfair, then? The guy got a break from what he could have been given.

                • Obviously there is a disagreement with your opinion on this. And I have allowed your reasoned dissention, but I’m not sure it’s productive to continue; the point has been made on both sides. My original post stands. For those of you who feel this was NOT a just sentence, please patronize World Harvest and sign the petition.

  2. I support Mr Hamoodi and plan on spending money at World Harvest this weekend.

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