“We did not find anything alarming,” said Grassley.
WASHINGTON, November 16, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) – A US Senate committee found no evidence that the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and nearly two dozen other Muslim groups raised funds for “terrorist” activities.
“We did not find anything alarming enough that required additional follow-up beyond what law enforcement is already doing,” US Sen. Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican who heads the committee, said in a statement, according to the ISNA Web site on Tuesday, November 15.
The Senate committee had launched a probe into what it called the “crucial role that charities and foundations play in terror financing.”
But after two years of investigations, the committee has reached no evidence on the claims.
“If something in the future does cause new concern, we will continue the investigation,” Grassley added.
Since 9/11 attacks, US authorities have shut down a number of Muslim charities in the United States on claims of “terror-financing”. Similar freezes have been placed on assets of other charities in a number of countries.
The United States has been putting pressures on Muslim countries to clamp down on Islamic charities under the pretext that they were channeling funds to terrorists and extremists, a charge vehemently dismissed by many.
The charities have complained that restrictions were affecting their work to reach out to the poor and needy.
“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,” Safi said.
The US Senate committee’s conclusion drew welcome from the Indiana-based Muslim group.
“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.
Safi added that the Muslim group spared no effort in cooperation with the federal authorities in the probe.
“We cooperated with their investigation. We provided records. I am glad to hear this has been concluded,” Safi said.
He, however, regretted how many innocent Muslim groups have been smeared in the investigation.
Arsalan Iftikhar, the legal director for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), agreed.
He 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, I think this is indicative of federal law enforcement’s dragnet against the American Muslim community.”
Muslim charities in western countries share the feeling that they are targeted by intrusive investigations and unjustifiable accusations.
In August 2003, US President George Bush froze the assets of five pro-Palestinians charities abroad, depriving Palestinian orphans of their much-needed aid.
Thousands of Palestinian orphans and destitute families took to the streets the same month to protest Bush’s decision.