Muslims Complain that "Witch Hunt" Hampers Ability to Fulfill Religious Obligations

February 29, 2004

Source: Reuters

On February 29, 2004 Reuters reported, "Muslim charities and organizations in the United States say they are the target of a government 'witch hunt' since Sept. 11 which is intimidating donors and hampering their work. Required by their faith to pay 'zakat,' or alms for the needy, Muslims say the ripple effects of the government's hunt for terrorist funds are hurting their community at its core and making them feel like suspects. They say the official designation of three U.S. Muslim charities as suspected sponsors of terrorism, coupled with what they consider rising anti-Muslim discrimination since the 2001 attacks by Islamic militants, has put them in the firing line simply because of their religious affiliation. Charities also complain about high levels of secrecy surrounding the designations, and say excessive scrutiny and hefty costs to meet strict new U.S. regulations mean a smaller percentage of donations is now really reaching those in need."