A new report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) details the effects it says that terror finance laws have had on American Muslims and America’s relations with the Islamic world. You can see the report, “Blocking Faith, Freezing Charity”, here.
The report says U.S. terrorism finance laws — greatly expanded after the Sept 11 attacks by the administration of former President George W. Bush — have led to the direct closure of seven U.S.-based Muslim charities. The charities were shut after they were designated as “terrorist organizations” or under investigation. Two others have been forced to close in the aftermath of the negative publicity generated by raids on their premises.
Among other things, the report says, this curtails the abilities of Muslims to give to the needy, which is one of the pillars of their faith.
“Despite the often weak nature of the evidence, when it designated Muslim charities, indicted them criminally, or raided them, the Bush administration publicly trumpeted its actions as successes and made inflammatory and unfounded or exaggerated allegations about the charitable sector’s
connections to terrorism financing. The effect of these government actions is to create a general climate in which law-abiding American Muslims fear making charitable donations in accordance with their religious beliefs,” the report says.
“The government’s actions have chilled American Muslims’ free and full exercise of their religion through charitable giving, or Zakat. Zakat is one of the core “five pillars” of Islam and a religious obligation for all observant Muslims,” it says.