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Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Donations to Muslim charities fall|
|07/29/02 at 08:57:04|
The biggest casualty of the post 9/11 is charitable organizatons.
Donations to Muslim causes drop as fear rises Government efforts to cut off
terrorists' financing has Muslims wary of upholding a tenet
of their faith
By Stephen Franklin
Tribune staff reporter
July 26, 2002
Omer Mozaffar has loyally carried out his duty as a Muslim to share his good
fortune with the poor and needy. He said so with a nod and a gentle smile.
But nowadays Mozaffar, 30, a Pakistan-born computer technician with a
downtown Chicago law firm, has been even more charitable, largely
because others' giving has withered.
"Because I see the decline, I feel like I want to give more," he said before
praying at Chicago's Downtown Islamic Center, where he helps tally
donations. For weeks now, donations have been down by about 10 percent, he
Ever since last fall's terrorist attacks, Muslims have feared a decline in
financial support for mosques and Muslim organizations across the
United States. Today, their fears have become a reality.
Muslim leaders say part of the decline may be attributed to the nation's
troubled economy. But they also think a large part of it is a fear among
Muslims about giving to Muslim causes, which they link to the U.S.
government's crackdown on financial support for global terrorism.
The situation has put some Muslims in a dilemma. How, they ask, can they
decide to stop giving to Muslim charities to avoid being snarled in a
government investigation? If they do, they say they are not living up to one
of Islam's basic credos.
Charitable giving, or zakat, is one of the five pillars of Islam. By giving
2.5 percent of their annual earnings and savings, Muslims show their
self-discipline and dedication to help others. They can give to any needy
cause to meet their religion's demands, but Islamic causes tug heart
"Before, the giving was out of happiness. But now when you give, you have a
sense of fear--is anything going to happen to me," said Syed Khan, president
of the Downtown Islamic Center. The mosque, located on the fifth floor of a
Loop office building, draws Muslims from around the world on Fridays,
Islam's most important day of
Since the attacks, the government has frozen the assets of three of the
nation's largest Islamic charities after alleging they are linked to
terrorist groups. Two are based in the Chicago area: Global Relief
Foundation and Benevolence International Foundation.
Although the government has moved against only those three, the fallout has
been widespread among American Muslims because of fears that other groups
also will be linked to terrorists.
Such concerns are not unfounded, since U.S. officials have talked about
shutting down a network of charities set up by Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda to
garner funds and funnel them to supporters worldwide.
"We don't collect anymore for overseas organizations. We are scared. People
stopped sending and we stopped too. Some people told us,
`We are afraid to give donations to you, because we don't know where you'll
send it,'" said Abdul Hameed Dogar, director of the Islamic Foundation in
How much donations have declined is unknown because there is no central
authority that keeps track of giving.
But leaders at mosques across the U.S. and officials with major Islamic
groups agree there has been a drop in donations along with a new mindset
"Some people who used to have direct deposit now prefer to make their
donations in cash, and they don't want any receipts," said Mahmud Abdul
Baset, director of religious and social services
at the Islamic Center of Southern California in Los Angeles.
He likened the situation to corporate America's crisis of credibility. "We
feel more compelled than before," he explained, to tell mosque
members "where their money is going."
At the Islamic Center of Central Florida in Orlando, Imam Mohammed Mousri
has been fielding more questions from donors. He, in turn, has been seeking
more information from the Islamic charities that solicit help from his
That is not so easy, he said. "We have no way of knowing accurately what
these [charitable] organizations are doing," he said.
Indeed, when mosque members ask where to send their money, Mousri lately has
been urging them to send it to local charities.
But that is a frustrating option for immigrants who have done well in the
U.S., he said. "It is difficult for them not to give," he said. "They
feel like they are betraying their homelands."
Amjed Hamdan, 32, a computer software expert in Chicago who has relatives in
the West Bank, has redirected his giving.
He had been supporting a charity whose assets were frozen by the government,
he explained recently as he filed out of the Downtown Islamic Center after
As soon as the government acted against it, he found another to support and
also decided to send money directly to Palestinian families in the
West Bank whom he knows.
"Am I going to stop?" he said. "No, I consider what I am doing as the right
|Re: Donations to Muslim charities fall|
|07/29/02 at 16:44:16|
SubhanAllah, this is so maddening.
Here in Canada, there was a Bill that was trying to be passed (before 9-11, mind you!), which was implemented as a Law last December as part of the "Anti-Terrorist Act". This bill (remember it was proposed pre 9-11) is an attempt to resist Muslims from donating to terror orgs. Just recently, seven (7!) groups were explicitly listed by Ottawa. Canadians are not "associate with them, or face up to 20 years in Jail."
The part that is so maddening, is that they have major taps on the mosques' funding.
Has anyone ever read Animal Farm, by George Orwell? Unfortunately, the world seems to progressing into something like, where the very rules that were created with the betterment of the world in mind, are now being broken one by one.
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