Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Community to protest Comerica Bank

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061212/NEWS05/612120315/1007
Furor grows over bank closure of charity account
December 12, 2006
BY NIRAJ WARIKOO
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

The U.S. Department of Justice may defend the Patriot Act in a case involving Comerica Bank and a Muslim charity based in Southfield, according to court documents the department filed in Detroit.Comerica officials have told Life for Relief and Development that it intends to close its accounts.The bank's move came after the charity was raided by federal agents in September.

The government has not said what the raid was about, but charity officials say it may be related to work the charity did in Iraq. In response, the charity sued Comerica, saying the bank violated its civil rights. The suit, filed last month, challenges the constitutionality of a section of the Patriot Act that allows financial institutions to share information about suspected money laundering or terrorist activity.

On Dec. 1, Justice Department attorneys filed a notice in U.S. District Court in Detroit that said it may "intervene in this action to defend the constitutionality" of the section under question.

Some Arab Americans and Muslims charge the bank is discriminating against the charity because it is operated by Arab-American Muslims.Protests are planned for Friday and Saturday outside Comerica branches in Dearborn, Detroit, Canton and Ann Arbor. Organized as the Charity Without Fear Coalition, groups against the bank's move include the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Muslim American Society and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Some Arab Americans and Muslims say they plan to close their accounts with Comerica in protest.

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