There is concern in the large South Asian community in Metro Detroit that efforts to provide relief for flood-ravaged Bangladesh and India will be discouraged by recent federal investigations of Muslim charities.
“People are concerned about doing fund-raising and relief work amid some of these statements that, for example, contributing to orphans is used as a euphemism for supporting terrorists,” said Dawud Walid, director of the Council on American Islamic Relations-Michigan.
In the past year, at least three local charities have been raided, including Life for Relief & Development in Southfield and Al-Mabarrat in Dearborn.
No charges have resulted, and contributions to both organizations remain lawful because neither is banned by the federal government.
But Muslims in Metro Detroit raising money for relief or other efforts remain wary.
And the recent raids are of particular concern to Metro Detroiters of Bangladeshi and Indian descent, who are mobilizing to send relief to both countries, where 1,500 people are dead and 19 million displaced in floods from monsoon rains this summer.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are about 208,000 people of South Asian descent in Michigan.