AMERICAN MUSLIMS CONDUCT NATIONAL CALL-IN DAY TO THE WHITE HOUSE ON JUNE 4TH: URGE PRESIDENT OBAMA TO KEEP HIS PROMISE TO PROTECT CHARITABLE GIVING
(SAN FRANCISCO) June 3, 2010—On Friday, June 4th, Muslim Advocates, a nonprofit legal advocacy and educational organization, and a coalition of Muslim, Arab and South Asian American groups, are asking millions of Muslims around the United States to call the White House and tell President Obama to keep the promise he made to them a year ago in his speech in Cairo, Egypt: reform the many federal laws complicating their ability to give charity freely.
Under the Bush administration, new policies were created to prevent resources from reaching groups designated by the U.S. government as terrorist organizations. These policies remain in place under the Obama administration. Among the problems with these federal policies:
- Under the law, the government can prosecute donors and charities for well- intentioned donations if support is sent to prohibited organizations or individuals.
- There are currently at least five separate lists for donors to check prior to giving abroad, making it challenging for both individuals and smaller institutions such as mosques to navigate government requirements.
- American Muslims are questioned by federal government officials about their donations to and activities with lawful U.S. charities and mosques.
Unfortunately, legitimate charities doing good work, both here and abroad, have also suffered from these confusing regulations. Though donors are eager to provide for those
American Muslims Urge President to Keep Cairo Pledge, Reform Charity Laws 2 in impoverished or disaster-struck nations such as Pakistan and Somalia, the unintended
consequences of these laws make them fearful and apprehensive. They withhold money that could help so many.
This fear amongst donors and charities is widespread. In its April 2009 report, Unreasonable Intrusions, Muslim Advocates documents how American Muslim travelers are regularly asked highly personal questions about their charitable giving and associations with lawful U.S. charities by armed federal agents. The American Civil Liberties Union describes how this chill has affected Muslim charities in its June 2009 report, Blocking Faith, Freezing Charity.
Muslim Advocates is asking for those who call President Obama on Friday to request the following reforms to charitable giving laws and policies:
- President Obama should take measures to simplify the number of government lists donors need to check in order to make a donation
- President Obama should create legal protections to ensure that donors acting in good faith will not be investigated or prosecuted.
To learn more about Muslim Advocates’ efforts to encourage federal reform of charitable giving laws, policies and regulations, please visit www.muslimadvocates.org.
Muslim Advocates (www.muslimadvocates.org) is a national legal advocacy and educational organization. Its mission is to promote freedom, justice and equality for all, regardless of faith, by providing leadership through legal advocacy, policy engagement, and civic education, and by serving as a legal resource to promote the full and meaningful participation of Muslims in American public life.