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Congress bemoans “chilling effect”

June 6, 2010

Congress spent two hours on May 26 wringing their hands over what to do about the alleged “chilling effect” on lawful Muslim charities posed by the Treasury Department’s terrorist designation process.

In a hearing entitled, “Anti-Money Laundering: Blocking Terrorist Financing and Its Impact on Lawful Charities,” the oversight and investigations subcommittee of the House Committee on Financial Services questioned Danny Glaser, the head of Treasury’s Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crime, for an hour.

Mr. Glaser repeatedly acknowledged that there is a problem, and insisted he has “no doubt” that there’s a chilling effect.  As for specifics on the chilling effect, Glaser conceded briefly, “I don’t have numbers.”  But don’t let that lack of any evidence get in the way of a good show trial!

On several occasions during questioning, members of Congress expressed concern about the “chilling effect” on people who just want to be able to help poor people overseas.

The subcommittee trotted out three more witnesses for another hour, including Kay Guinane of the Charity and Security Network and Michael German of the American Civil Liberties Union, who criticized the Treasury Department while also offering zero evidence of any unwitting donor who has ever been targeted for investigation or even questioning by the Treasury Department.

The closest anybody came during the whole hearing to any substantive allegation is when German said that the FBI has a program to question charitable donors.  However, he offered no numbers on the size or scope of the program or what, if any, tangible effect that program has had on charitable giving among Muslim-Americans.

Overall the hearing resembled Eric Golub’s account of the UCLA conference last month on the “criminalization” of Islamic philanthropy during which academics denounced zakat restrictions while backing up their conclusions with only a small sampling of biased interviews conducted by one person.

We have a Treasury Department that has designated only six or seven domestic Muslim charities since 9/11.  It’s a short list of charities that have been shut down for funneling money to groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al Qaeda.  Do you feel “chilled” by not being able to give money to those charities?  There are literally thousands of mosques and Islamic charities upon which there are still zero restrictions to donate.

The entire effort to ease restrictions on Muslim charities has nothing to do with treating all charities equally.  It’s ultimately about exempting Muslim charities from any legal standard.

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2 comments

  1. […] that, upon repeated questioning by a Congress out for infidel blood, Treasury official Daniel Glaser claimed that he had no doubt that there has been a “chilling […]


  2. […] Sept. 28 during Congress’s third hearing on terrorist financing this year, (the last one focusing on the alleged “chilling effect” of Treasury’s policies on Islamic charities) […]



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