A portion in Barack Obama’s “historic” speech to the Muslim world was particularly odd. In apologizing for religious intolerance in the United States, Obama said as follows:
Freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together. We must always examine the ways in which we protect it. For instance, in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.
This website has an explanation of zakat. Essentially, it is similar to tithing, in which a percentage of one’s worth is contributed to charity each year in fulfillment of a religious conviction.
What rules in the United States discriminate against Muslims? This question, also asked by Ace of Spades HQ, has an answer, and it is steeped in political correctness and worries about racial and religious profiling.
There are Department of Justice guidelines, enacted last year, as to designating which charities support terrorism:
Some Arab- and Muslim-Americans say new Justice Department guidelines that boost the FBI’s power to investigate suspected terrorists could target innocent people.
The revised guidelines going into effect Monday will allow agents to use undercover sources to gather information, interview people without identifying themselves and spy on suspects without evidence of wrongdoing.
Critics say the rules will allow for abuses, including more racial and religious rofiling….
Federal officials say current rules came about in the 1970s and limit their ability to investigate people in national security cases.
FBI agents have met twice with community leaders to assure them they won’t be targeted, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Based on some other internet sources, it appears likely that these DOJ guidelines are the “rules” to which Obama was referring. I am unable to find any other reference to complaints about “rules” which “have made it harder” for Muslims to donate to charity.
But these DOJ rules do not make it “harder” to contribute, unless the contribution is to a terrorist supporting charity. The fact that many of the prohibited charities are based in Muslim countries does not prove discrimination, rather, it is a reflection of reality.
Why pick this example for his “historic” speech? It seems so petty and pedestrian, in the grand scheme of all the world’s problems, to worry about obscure DOJ guidelines meant to halt funding of terrorist organizations.
The selection of this item to highlight in the “historic” speech is a window on what was wrong with the overall tone of the speech. While the speech was good in some specific respects, the overall tone was one of moral equivalence and subjugation to grievance politics. And the Muslim charity canard is a prime example.
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