Caution for Ramadan Giving

November 6, 2004

Source: Los Angeles Times,1,5163795.story

On November 6, 2004 the Los Angeles Times reported, "for many American Muslims, the war on terror is forcing modern adjustments to Islam's age-old tradition of charitable giving. Their faith requires them to contribute a religious tax known as zakat, amounting to 2.5% of their assets, to the poor and other needy people listed in the Koran. In addition, Muslims are required to pay zakat fitr, or a fee to feed a family during Ramadan; without that contribution, many Muslims believe, their spiritual benefits gained from fasting and praying will be forfeited. But the U.S. crackdown on Islamic charities has complicated this religious obligation and, some Muslims say, impeded the free practice of their faith. Since 9/11, the U.S. government has designated 27 Islamic charitable groups worldwide as supporters of terrorism, including five it shut down in the United States."