Friday, November 18, 2005
  Islamic Charities cleared
In 2003, Senator Grassley called for an investigation into some two dozen American Muslim charities. IRS records were requested. This week Senator Grassley's commission declared that the charities have ALL been cleared. No funding of terrorism to be found.

Once in a while it feels good to be able to say, "I told you so."

Of course, this remains unreported in the major media, and on the dozens of websites that had a field day when Grassley announced the probe, declaring Muslims in America to be a fifth column and so on. The media and such websites are interested only in the three or four cases of Muslim charities being shut down, and the insituation of guilt, not the proclamation of innocence off the two dozen organizations who were deemed to be sound charitable institutions devoted to good works.

The charities that were cleared include:

The SAAR Foundation and all members and related entities
Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA)
Muslim Student Association
Muslim World League
International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) or Internal Relief Organization(IRO)
Al Haramain Foundation
Alavi Foundation
Institute of Islamic and Arabic Science in America (IIASA)
Islamic Assembly of North American
Help the Needy
Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)
Islamic Foundation of America
United Association for Studies and Research (USAR)
Solidarity International and/or Solidarity USA
Kind Hearts
Islamic American Relief Agency and/or Islamic African Relief Agency
Islamic Society of North America
International Islamic Relief Organization
World Assembly of Muslim Youth
Rabita Trust
Human Appeal International

A report from the Indianapolis Star, one of two places you can locate the story on the web via google and altavista, the other being

November 15, 2005

Indiana-based Islamic Society cleared in Senate investigation
Senate committee concludes investigation of Muslim groups in U.S., finds no wrongdoings

By Robert King

A U.S. Senate committee found nothing "alarming" in the financial records of the Plainfield-based Islamic Society of North America and nearly two dozen other Muslim groups the committee reviewed searching for terrorist connections.

"Of course we were sure that nothing would come out with regard to ISNA, but it is good to see that they have come to that conclusion as well," said Louay Safi, executive director of an Islamic Society program that develops new Muslim leaders. The Plainfield-based Islamic Society of North America is the largest Muslim umbrella organization in North America.

In seeking the tax records of the Muslim groups in December 2003, Senate Finance Committee leaders said they would look at the "crucial role that charities and foundations play in terror financing" and that "often these groups are nothing more than shell companies."

But almost two years later, the committee has concluded its work with no plans to issue a report, forward any findings to law enforcement agents, hold hearings or propose new legislation.

"We did not find anything alarming enough that required additional follow-up beyond what law enforcement is already doing," U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican who heads the committee, said in a statement. "If something in the future does cause new concern, we will continue the investigation."

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, federal authorities have shut down a few of the largest Muslim charities in the United States under suspicion of funneling money to terrorists. Similar freezes have been placed on assets of organizations in other parts of the world.

The end of the committee's investigation came as welcome, if not unexpected, news for officials at the Islamic Society of North America, which tries to promote a positive image of Islam in the United States and help recent immigrants acclimate to life in America. The group's convention is the largest annual gathering of Muslims in North America.

The society, which is considered the largest Muslim umbrella organization in North America, complied with an Internal Revenue Service request to turn over financial records shortly after the Senate Finance Committee announced its intentions, Safi said.

"We cooperated with their investigation. We provided records. I am glad to hear this has been concluded," Safi said.

The Senate Finance Committee, with jurisdiction over tax matters, said it had a responsibility to ensure charities abide by the law. In its original letter to the IRS seeking the records, the committee said Muslim groups have used their reputations as charities and foundations to escape scrutiny.

But on Monday, Grassley spokeswoman Beth Levine said it is important to remember that an investigation is "not an accusation of wrongdoing." No report came at the end of the review because the financial information involved is confidential, Levine said.

Safi said he understands that the terrorist threat requires the government's vigilance. But he said it is disheartening how innocent Muslim organizations have been "smeared" in this process.
The Senate investigation was widely reported, casting doubt on the Islamic Society at a time many Muslims in the United States were viewed suspiciously because of the terrorist attacks on Washington, D.C., and New York City.

Arsalan Iftikhar, national legal director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the Senate Finance Committee had gone on a "fishing expedition" that did nothing but reinforce the idea that Muslims are guilty until proven innocent when it comes to terrorism accusations.

"Unfortunately," Iftikhar said, "I think this is indicative of federal law enforcement's dragnet against the American Muslim community."

Copyright the Indianapolis Star, with permission
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Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.

What I'm reading now

Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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