IslamismDecember 16 2022, 13:43 pm

US Muslim Brotherhood Group Welcomes Efforts to Improve Banking Access for Muslims and Iranian Immigrants

On Decem­ber 6, 2022, the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions (CAIR) pub­lished a state­ment wel­com­ing a joint US House and Sen­ate let­ter signed by 22 large­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic law­mak­ers that accused US banks of pre­lim­i­nary shut­ting out Iran­ian and Mus­lim Amer­i­cans due to their “real or per­ceived” con­nec­tion with sanc­tioned enti­ties. Accord­ing to a state­ment by CAIR:

 CAIR thanks Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ilhan Omar, Sen­a­tor Eliz­a­beth War­ren and the 20 oth­er con­gres­sion­al law­mak­ers who joined togeth­er in urg­ing the Biden Admin­is­tra­tion and heads of all U.S. bank­ing reg­u­la­tors to improve bank­ing access for immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties and com­mu­ni­ties of col­or, includ­ing Iran­ian and Mus­lim Americans.

 Read the rest here.

 In their let­ter, the Rep­re­sen­ta­tives accused US banks of “shut­ting out entire class­es of indi­vid­u­als and orga­ni­za­tions” due to high-cost for com­pli­ance and high-risk more gen­er­al­ly, argu­ing that “Many Mus­lim and Arab, Mid­dle East­ern and South Asian Amer­i­cans, sim­ply because of their con­nec­tions – real or per­ceived – have been sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly cut off from finan­cial ser­vices.” The sig­na­to­ries also urged reg­u­la­tors to update Con­gress on their work to mod­ern­ize finan­cial crimes com­pli­ance oblig­a­tions and sanc­tion regimes to pro­tect equi­table bank­ing access for mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ties and char­i­ta­ble orga­ni­za­tions. Accord­ing to the letter:

Banks’ inter­pre­ta­tion of and reac­tion to U.S. sanc­tions can play an inhibit­ing role in bank­ing access for indi­vid­u­als and orga­ni­za­tions affil­i­at­ed with cer­tain sanc­tioned and con­flict-impact­ed countries.

In their state­ment, CAIR called the “wrong­ful tar­get­ing” and clos­ing of bank accounts of Mus­lim Amer­i­cans a “harm­ful and dis­crim­i­na­to­ry prac­tice in the U.S. finan­cial sec­tor that needs to imme­di­ate­ly stop.” CAIR has a his­to­ry of cam­paign­ing against what it sees as dis­crim­i­na­tion in com­pli­ance and anti-mon­ey laun­der­ing mea­sures of US banks, in 2019 even launch­ing a #Bank­ing­While­Mus­lim social media cam­paign. In 2014, an attor­ney for CAIR asked the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice’s Civ­il Rights Divi­sion to look into the clo­sure of an account by an Islam­ic Cir­cle of North Amer­i­ca (ICNA) rep­re­sen­ta­tive and deter­mine whether race had played a role in the decision.

Accord­ing to report­ing by the Los Ange­les Times, US banks are elim­i­nat­ing as much risk as pos­si­ble due to increas­ing scruti­ny from reg­u­la­tors and are being over­ly cau­tious over lack­ing clar­i­ty on what might trig­ger gov­ern­ment fines. Sev­er­al sus­pect­ed cas­es of banks and mon­ey trans­fer com­pa­nies ille­gal­ly restrict­ing finan­cial ser­vices for Amer­i­can Mus­lims have been record­ed. That said, CAIR has had a long his­to­ry of oppos­ing most US counter-ter­ror­ism leg­is­la­tion and policies.

CAIR describes itself as “a grass­roots civ­il rights and advo­ca­cy group and as “Amer­i­ca’s largest Islam­ic civ­il lib­er­ties orga­ni­za­tion.” It was found­ed in 1994 by three offi­cers of the Islam­ic Asso­ci­a­tion of Pales­tine, part of the US Hamas infra­struc­ture at that time. Doc­u­ments dis­cov­ered dur­ing the ter­ror­ism tri­al of the Holy Land Foun­da­tion con­firmed that the founders and cur­rent lead­ers of CAIR were part of the Pales­tine Com­mit­tee of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and that CAIR itself is part of the US Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. The orga­ni­za­tion is led by Nihad Awad, its long­stand­ing Exec­u­tive Direc­tor and one of the three founders. Recent­ly, CAIR has been gen­er­al­ly por­trayed in the media as a Mus­lim civ­il rights group.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.