Season of Charity: A Time of Scrutiny for U.S. Muslims

October 13, 2007

Author: Kim Vo

Source: The Mercury News

Chatting with visitors to her mosque during Ramadan, Bushra Burney mentioned to a married couple that her annual charitable donation - or zakat - went to the Islamic Relief Fund.

It's a respectable group, the Fremont woman hastened to add. "There's nothing fishy about it."

Such defensiveness reflects the quandary facing many Muslims, whose religion requires them to pay 2.5 percent of their assets to charity. Many make their payments during the month of Ramadan, which ends today.

The unease is the result of the government's increased scrutiny of charities since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The government alleged that some donations had supported terrorism.