MLFA Protects Your Good Deeds

MLFA Protects Your Good Deeds

IARA-USA was an Islamic charity that provided more than $25 million in disaster and war relief aid in Africa, Asia, and Bosnia. IARA-USA was one of the only Islamic charities in the U.S. contributing to major relief projects in Africa. They were collecting donations to build wells in Mali when they were effectively shut down by the U.S. government in 2004 when the Treasury Department seized all their funds alleging that IARA-USA had purchased land from an individual connected to terrorism.

Being accused was enough to shut them down. All of their assets were frozen, including the Mali project to which donors had contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars. They were unable to spend money on representation in court. IARA-USA’s director and several board members were charged with unrelated violations relating to sanctions against Iraq and alleged misuse of federal funds. Because of the seizure of its funds, IARA-USA was unable to defend itself.

In 2014, the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America (CLCMA), created by MLFA, took over IARA-USA’s defense in an effort to protect the interest of American Muslims who had donated for the well project in Mali. Our MLFA-funded CLCMA attorneys successfully concluded negotiations in 2015 to release the $1.5 million in frozen funds and property to Heifer International. This meant that they were able to complete the IARA-USA project of providing rural water wells in Mali.

This was a big deal because

  1. Villagers in Mali were depending on this project.
  2. This is the first time anyone was able to successfully negotiate for the return of Islamic non-profit funds seized by the U.S. Treasury.
  3. This case and others like it established MLFA-funded CLCMA as leaders in the defense of Islamic charities.

The right to counsel is protected by the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution. Without the incredible work funded by your donations to MLFA, our brothers and sisters get steamrolled by fear-based legislation and practices. We protect Muslim communities and the good deeds of our brothers and sisters. Because we fund constitutionally protected legal representation, we also protect our donors. Let’s take a stand together and create safe spaces for Muslim communities in the United States.