Wednesday, October 24

Mistrial declared in Islamic charity trial

In 2001, the Bush administration designated the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development a terrorist sponsor. Once the largest Muslim charity in the country, the organization had its assets frozen and later seized by the government.

However, on Tuesday a mistrial was declared for the terrorist financing charges stemming from fundraising allegations. Emma Schwartz at the U.S. News and World Report questions the impact this mistrial will have against other Muslim charities:

What the mistrial means for the future of terrorist financing cases is still unclear. The government has a handful of pending investigations. It has frozen assets of a few Michigan-based Muslim charities. It has raided several Virginia-based Muslim charities. And in March, it indicted the Islamic American Relief Agency for sending money to Iraq during the 1990s, when the country was under sanctions.
Other Muslim charities and religious leaders called the verdict a relief.

Reading this story made me think of a related article I saw a couple weeks ago and forgot to mention on this blog. I've been surprised more fundraisers haven't blogged or talked about the quandary many Muslims found themselves in as they considered how to give zakat, a donation required of Muslims, especially during Ramadan.

Recent heightened scrutiny of Islamic charities by federal officials is running headlong into the determination of Muslims to donate to causes that serve the neediest and to abide by their holy book, the Quran. As fears intensify, community leaders have called on the government to create guidelines for safe contributions.
Go here for more on this subject.

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