Fadi Farhan, Governmental Relations Director of CAIR-Chicago as well as a member of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), the Mosque Foundation of Bridgeview, the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), and the Muslim Civil Rights Center (MCRC), met with State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins of the 16th District to discuss the issue of Muslim charitable contributions in Illinois.
In the post-September 11th climate, American Muslims have been apprehensive about contributing Zakat, an obligatory percentage of every Muslim’s yearly earnings to individuals in need in the community, because of the threat of investigative procedures carried out by the federal government against Muslim charities around the nation. Particularly disturbing is the fact that individuals who contribute to Muslim charities in good faith can be held ex post facto accountable for the distribution of funds to organizations that may later come under investigation of terrorist ties.
CAIR-Chicago hopes to bring this issue to light in the state of Illinois by informing State Senator Collins as well as Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3rd District) of the catch 22 Muslim Americans in their respective districts are facing. The national chapter of CAIR has, in the past, asked Secretary Snow of the Department of the Treasury to provide American Muslims with a list of amenable organizations that meet the federal government’s procedural standards and have a “clean bill of health” with respect to distribution of funds to the needy. Treasury Secretary Snow refused to provide such a list.
Governmental Relations Director Fadi Farhan states, “All Americans have a stake in this issue as it pertains to national security. No American wants to see charitable contributions given in good faith, irrespective of faith, end up in the hands of any organization whose intent is anything less than noble. American Muslims, along with their American counterparts in all faith traditions, have a moral right and obligation to contribute assistance to those in need. A list of worthy, first-class Muslim charities should be provided by the federal government so that the apprehension from within and, just as importantly, outside of the American Muslim community can be dispelled.”
State Senator Collins has agreed to sponsor a resolution in the Illinois State Senate that will bring the issue of Muslim charities to the attention of her fellow legislators in Springfield. CAIR-Chicago looks forward to working with Senator Collins and her staff in the upcoming weeks on this issue and appreciates her candidness and openness.
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