"The Crime of Being a Muslim Charity" by Laila Al-Marayati and Basil Abdelkarim

March 12, 2006

Source: The Washington Post


On March 12, 2006 The Washington Post ran an opinion piece by Laila al-Marayati and Basil Abdelkarim, both physicians and board members of KinderUSA, a Muslim American nonprofit humanitarian organization. Al-Marayati and Abdelkarim write, "The Treasury Department is playing target practice with American Muslim charities. On Feb. 19 Treasury seized the assets and froze the operations of KindHearts, a Toledo-based humanitarian organization, acting on the dubious allegation that it is financing terrorism... Unfortunately, those of us in the American Muslim community who want to give to legitimate causes in a lawful manner are getting mixed messages from the U.S. government. We are told that if we conduct due diligence and function transparently, we should be able to give to charities of our choice. Then the government closes most of these charities, using the weakest of evidence to support its actions and leading many American Muslims to believe that our government opposes efforts to help needy Muslims around the world. Moreover, the arbitrary freezing of assets ensures that the money will never reach the destination intended by the donors -- the truly indigent. The government has consistently denied requests to have the frozen funds released to reputable organizations (that are not on any lists) doing similar work so that the donors' intentions are honored... Under former attorney general John Ashcroft, American Muslim charities were closed as part of the charade to make the American people believe the government was disrupting terrorist financing. Today, under Alberto Gonzales, the message is that Muslim Americans will be punished if they want to help Palestinians. Either way the assault on our charities is not about the safety and security of the American people but about politics."