Thursday, September 21, 2006

Walid addresses media concerning due process rights for Muslim charity


Official statement from Dawud Walid, Executive Director of CAIR-MI regarding raid on Life for Relief and Development’s office:

On September 18, Life for Relief and Development was raided by the FBI and the IRS reportedly to investigate activities that are not related to terrorism. Although no arrests have been made, no funds have been frozen and the charity continues to operate, several media outlets reported that the counter-terrorism task force assisted in this on-going investigation.

Yesterday at a meeting with the FBI, I posed the question to Mr. Dan Roberts of the FBI of how were major media outlets able to be at the raid site so quickly and how did the media conclude that the counter-terrorism task force was at the raid if the FBI did not inform them. Mr. Roberts purports that the FBI did not contact the media, nor did the FBI inform the media that the counter-terrorism task force was involved in the investigation.

Furthermore, Mr. Roberts stated that Life for Relief and Development is not on the list of organizations that our government deems as supporters of terrorism and that it is perfectly legal to still donate to the charity.

We question why the FBI, using a sealed warrant, conducted such a high profile raid when by their own admissions Life for Relief and Development poses no threat to National security.
We also take issue with the media sensationalism of some outlets that have insinuated that Life for Relief and Development has potential ties with terrorism. Such reckless reporting only serves the purposes of increasing Islamophobia and producing a chilling effect upon the Muslim community to donate to their own charities. We need to make sure that Life for Relief and Development, like any group of individual, receives all the due process rights guaranteed by the Constitution. An organization’s reputation can suffer irreparable damage if it is not able to refute allegations made against it or to even know what accusations it faces.

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