Obama Makes Promising Statement on Charitable Giving
by Amanda Adams*
Jun 5, 2009
President Obama made some welcoming comments in regards to charitable giving during his speech at Cairo University. Obama pledged to help American Muslims give to charity. "Freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together. We must always examine the ways in which we protect it. For instance, in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That's why I'm committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat."
The U.S. government has continuously asserted that U.S. charities are a significant source of terrorist funding. The New York Daily News quoted Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council; "The perception that giving to charities is financing terrorism has to be debunked."
"There's no public notice of who you can and can't do business with," said Kay Guinane, the program manager for the Charity and Security Network (CSN). "It's created a tremendous climate of fear," she said. "Donors are afraid they may be prosecuted for giving to an organization now that may be declared a supporter of terrorism two years from now." CSN works to eliminate counterproductive barriers counterterrorism measures create for legitimate charitable, development, human rights and conflict resolution work. CSN issued a press statement, available here.
Obama stated further that, "we can turn dialogue into interfaith service, so bridges between peoples lead to action -- whether it is combating malaria in Africa, or providing relief after a natural disaster."back to Blog