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American Charity Sues to Have its Humanitarian Assets Unblocked

12/30/2004 4:14:00 PM


To: Metro and National desks

Contact: Melamed, Dailey, & Akeel, PC, 248-591-5000 or [email protected]

HUNTINGTON WOODS, Mich., Dec. 30 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The American non-profit humanitarian relief organization, Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA-USA) has filed suit against Departments of Treasury and Justice, in the District of Columbia, to have its assets designated for humanitarian aid, unblocked. The U.S.-based charity, which has been unfairly targeted and forced to shut down on the eve of its busiest month of the year, wants its humanitarian aid sent to the most needy in Asia and Africa.

Based in Columbia, Mo., for the past twenty years, the charity maintains it has been unfairly targeted solely based on religious grounds, the aim of which was to scare American Muslims from donating to the charity to fulfil their religious obligation (zakat, which is like Christian tithing) to the poor.

On October 13, 2004, the Department of Treasury designated a foreign entity based in Sudan (which bears no relation whatsoever to IARA-USA), but had a similar sounding name, the Islamic African Relief Agency, as a Special Global Terrorist organization. IARA-USA, which again is unrelated to above- mentioned African entity, has publicly condemned all acts of terrorism. In fact, IARA-USA has historically assisted victims of terrorism in Kenya and of earthquakes in Iran. The officials in the two departments have unlawfully blocked the charity's bank accounts and seized its humanitarian donations, including clothing and textbooks. These officials have also threatened and intimidated its donors and representatives. Commenting on these unlawful seizures, Shereef Akeel, the Michigan-based attorney representing the charity stated, "This is a real sad day. The real people who suffer are the victims of disasters, the impoverished children, and orphans, which IARA-USA has committed to help. Their lifeline has been severed. The charity had been a friend and partner with our government to combat famine and disasters around the world for over 20 years."

For further information on this suit or other related legal issues, call Attorney Shereef Akeel, at 248-591-5000.
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