ADC Discusses Charities and Account Closures with US Treasury Department

Washington, DC | August 23, 2007 | | The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) met yesterday with officials from the US Department of Treasury, Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, to discuss community concerns regarding charitable donations and gifts in light of the upcoming Holy Month of Ramadan (Ramadan is scheduled to begin in the second week of September). The meeting also included a discussion on the closure of personal bank accounts by some private financial institutions. The meeting included ADC Director for Legal Advocacy Carol Khawly and ADC Legal Advisor Abed Ayoub. ADC was joined by a representative from Muslim Advocates; an affiliate of the National Association of Muslim Lawyers (NAML).
During the meeting, ADC discussed the most recent raids on Muslim and Arab-American charities in Michigan and the chilling effect these types of raids have created on the ability of Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation of alms giving. These raids have also been of concern because individuals who have donated in good faith to charities that were later deemed suspect by the Treasury Department are fearful that they may be subject to scrutiny.
ADC also discussed the closure of bank accounts of individuals as a result of being falsely identified as being part of a Treasury Department watch list. ADC has received multiple complaints from community members who were sent written notices from their banks, advising them that their personal and/or business accounts were being terminated, with no explanation as to why the bank accounts were being closed.
Treasury Department officials acknowledged the challenges highlighted by these issues and reiterated their commitment to work with ADC, Muslim Advocates, and other community organizations in addressing these concerns. ADC welcomes the Treasury Department’s outreach efforts and looks forward to constructively engage the Department to better address the community’s concerns to the best interest of our society and nation.

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