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
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
Islamic American Relief Agency and/or Islamic African Relief Agency
Islamic Society of North America
International Islamic Relief Organization
World Assembly of Muslim Youth
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 FortWayne.com
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