elcomes Ruling in Support of Muslim Charity’s Due Process Rights
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/19/09) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today welcomed a federal judge’s ruling in support of the due process rights of KindHearts, an Ohio-based Muslim charity that had its assets frozen by the government more than three years ago.
U.S. District Judge James Carr ruled yesterday that the government had an obligation to explain the asset freeze and to give KindHearts an opportunity to respond to any allegations. Judge Carr also said the treasury department should have obtained a probable cause warrant before it could legally seize the charity’s assets. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) represented KindHearts in its challenge to the government’s actions.
“This is a victory for all Americans who value the constitutional rights to due process and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure,” said CAIR National Executive DirectorNihad Awad. “We thank the ACLU for defending American Muslim civil liberties, even in the politically-charged post-9/11 environment.”
In 2006, the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT), a coalition of national Muslim organizations, wrote to then Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snow to request a meeting to discuss growing concerns “about the continued targeting of Muslim charities withoutdue process of law.”
AMT’s letter said government closures of Islamic charities, such as the shutdown of KindHearts, impaired the ability of American Muslims to carry out their religious obligation to help the needy in this country and overseas. When the government froze KindHearts’ assets, most of the funds were earmarked for earthquake relief in Pakistan and for KindHearts’ recently-established South Asia Division.
In its letter, AMT stated: “As leading American Muslim organizations, we note that although we understand the political climate of our country and support our government's efforts to thwart terrorist financing; we find it unfair that our government has yet made another extrajudicial decision to effectively wipe out more than five years of humanitarian assistance to the world's needy by the mere stroke of a pen. The immediate effects of KindHearts' closure have already been felt in orphanages, schools, shelters, and medical centers around the world.”
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.