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A chill on Muslim giving

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Scott Jagow: There used to be a charity called The Holy Land Foundation. It was America’s biggest Islamic charity, until it shut down in 2001. Since them, the U.S. government has gone after this group in court, and a verdict is due today. Jill Barshay reports.


Jill Barshay: The Feds say the Holy Land Foundation gave money to Palestinian charities that supported Hamas. The Bush Administration calls Hamas terrorists.

Parvez Ahmed is the chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He says prosecutors in the case listed 300 Muslim charities in the U.S. as co-conspirators, including his group.

Parvez Ahmed: They’re pretty much alleging that pretty much every Muslim organization is part of a conspiracy. And it has created a chill on charitable giving.

Ahmed says many big Muslim charities have closed their doors.

Ahmed: But there are also many Islamic charities that are still operating, and they have kind of benefited from the closure of those other charities.

That’s because Muslims are obligated to give as part of their religion. Ahmed says American Muslims want to be patriotic and help out the needy in the Middle East at the same time.

He says they’ve asked for a list of approved charities, but the U.S. government won’t give them one.

In New York, I’m Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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