Across the United States Muslim charities are being shut down, raided or questioned under terrorism finance laws that give the government unchecked power and creates a climate of fear that is stopping American Muslims from carrying out one of their fundamental religious duties, an advocacy group said Wednesday.I can't speak about whether the US is acting appropriately in closing down a small number of purported Islamic charities.
"Broad and vague" terrorism finance laws, expanded by George W. Bush's administration, allow officials to target Muslim charities based on "secret evidence and without notice," the author of an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) report published on Tuesday told Al Arabiya.
The report described how the laws also target donors, who are being unfairly prevented from giving Zakat, obligatory charity donations that are one of the five pillars of Islam, due a climate of fear created by law enforcement intimidation.
Freedom of religion is being “trampled on,” said Jennifer Turner, author of the report.
What I can say is that, according to many Muslims, money given to terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah is indeed considered "zakat" and fulfills the obligation that Muslim have to give to what they term charities.
And the ACLU is completely wrong in implying that any US government actions are preventing Muslims from giving zakat, as there are no doubt many Islamic charities who do not give money to terrorists and which are tax-exempt under US laws.
For the ACLU to say that closing down some questionable charities somehow impinges on Muslim abilities to give to charity altogether is such an amazing twisting of the truth as to make one suspect anything the ACLU says.
The fact that Barack Obama appears to believe Muslims when they say that shutting down these charities somehow impinges on their ability to fulfill their religious obligation betrays a deep, and troubling, naivete.