One of the five pillars of Islam, “zakat,” is the giving of a small percentage of one’s income to a Muslim charity. President Obama, in his Cairo speech, said that he is "committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat." The practice of zakat came under scrutiny under the Bush administration, when seven charities were closed down and jailed leaders accused of helping fund terrorist organizations abroad. Many Muslims fear that if they give to a religious group, they may be accused of funneling money to terrorists. What steps are needed to make it easier for Muslims to practice this important part of their religion?
The Takeaway talks with Jennifer Turner, the Human Rights Researcher at the ACLU. She’s been interviewing Muslim donors and charities the past year for the ACLU and has talked to many in the Muslim community. Also joining the show is Asra Nomani, she is a Professor of Journalism at Georgetown University and author of "Standing Alone: An American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam," and she's here to talk about her struggles with giving to Muslim charities as part of her zakat.
"Muslim donors are terrified to give. They're very concerned that they may come under scrutiny for donations to entirely legal American charities that are registered with the IRS."
— Jennifer Turner of the ACLU on scrutiny of the Muslim practice of Zakat