The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) wants American Muslims to participate in a survey about bank account closures because, the Muslim civil rights organization says, banks have closed the accounts of some Muslims with no explanation — and may be closing the accounts improperly.
“A disproportionate number of these closures” are “negatively impacting members of the American Muslim community,” CAIR explained in a statement sent to The Daily Caller.
Several banks have abruptly closed accounts owned by Muslim Americans, CAIR says. Among the banks are Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo.
“CAIR believes these closures may not be isolated incidents, but instead a pervasive systematic issue that lacks documentation and is in need of redress,” the group’s statement explains.
“CAIR suspects otherwise normal day-to-day banking activity, such as moving funds to different accounts, wiring money overseas, making several withdrawals and deposits in a short period of time, selling items online, or even a bad credit history may be the cause for some accounts closures.”
The Muslim civil rights group adds that it has evidence that Muslims who seek further information from banks have received ambiguous and incomplete answers — and sometimes no answers at all.
CAIR notes that federal law requires all banks to monitor all accounts for activities which may indicate that the account holder may be funding terrorism or engaged in criminal behavior. (Eliot Spitzer, the disgraced New York governor, was nabbed this way when his bank noticed the odd cash transactions he used to pay his high-priced call girls.)
CAIR officials believe that banks are misapplying the federal law and are instead profiling American Muslims — and discriminating against them — based on religion and ethnicity.
In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States observed that the September 11 hijackers — all of them Muslims from Middle Eastern countries — “used U.S. and foreign financial institutions to hold, move and retrieve their money.” They utilized direct deposits, wire transfers, travelers checks, ATM cards and credit cards.
“The hijackers received funds from facilitators in Germany and the United Arab Emirates or directly from Khalid Sheikh Mohamed as they transited Pakistan before coming to the United States.”
The September 11 plot caused the murder of 2,996 people. The entire cost of the plot was about $500,000 and “approximately $300,000 passed through the hijackers’ bank accounts in the United States.”
“Neither the hijackers nor their financial facilitators were experts in the use of the international financial system,” the Commission on Terrorist Attacks explained.” They created a paper trail linking them to each other and their facilitators. Still, they were easily adept enough to blend into the vast international financial system without doing anything to reveal themselves as criminals, let alone terrorists bent on mass murder. The money-laundering controls in place at the time were largely focused on drug trafficking and large-scale financial fraud and could not have detected the hijackers’ transactions. The controls were never intended to, and could not, detect or disrupt the routine transactions in which the hijackers engaged.”
“The financial provisions enacted after September 11, particularly those contained in the USA PATRIOT Act and subsequent regulations, have succeeded in addressing obvious vulnerabilities in our financial system. Vigilant enforcement is crucial in ensuring that the U.S. financial system is not a vehicle for the funding of terrorists.”
CAIR is most notable, of course, because the organization was listed by the U.S. government as an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme that provided funding to the terror group Hamas.
In 2014, the United Arab Emirates officially designated 83 groups as terrorist organizations, including CAIR. (RELATED: UAE Designates Two American Muslim Groups As Terrorist Organizations)