Statement from Benevolence International Foundation

Category: Americas, Life & Society Topics: Relief Views: 3604

December 18, 2001 -- This statement is issued by Benevolence International Foundation in response to the seizure on December 14, 2001, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of financial records and other documents from Benevolence International Foundation offices in Chicago and Newark.  These actions were apparently taken pursuant to the newly enacted Patriot Act.  In addition, on the same day, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control blocked the organization's assets pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

Benevolence International Foundation is a humanitarian organization dedicated to helping those afflicted by wars, natural disasters, and extreme poverty.  Specifically, Benevolence International carries out its mission by raising funds to assist orphans and to provide emergency food distribution, health care and education in the neediest areas of the world.

We join the rest of the country in mourning the loss of life caused by the terrorist attacks of September 11.  We abhor terrorist activities and strongly deny any involvement in terrorism, including the funding of terrorist activities.  We are a law-abiding United States charity, and have nothing to hide.  We will fully cooperate with the government's investigation of our activities as well as the activities of the recipients of our funding.

We are deeply disappointed by the government's actions in seizing our documents and freezing our funds, effectively shutting down our ability to provide greatly needed assistance throughout the world.  It is devastating that the government has successfully prevented thousands of innocent people overseas from receiving essential services without providing any basis for its suspicion that Benevolence International is connected to terrorist activities or groups.  That the government acted at the end of the holy month of Ramadan was especially unfortunate because of the generous donations that Muslim-Americans had made to Benevolence International in order to fulfill their religious obligation to provide aid to those in need.

The government's drastic actions were not only disruptive, but unnecessary.  We have always stood ready and willing to cooperate with any legitimate government investigation.  Executive Director of Benevolence International Foundation, Enaam Arnaout, said:  "Benevolence International is engaged in critically important charitable work in many of the neediest parts of the world.  We will cooperate fully in the government's investigation and hope that it will be resolved quickly so we can return to our mission of providing charitable funds to impoverished, war-torn regions all over the world."

For further information, please contact Matt Piers or Mary Rowland at Gessler, Hughes, Socol, Piers, Resnick & Dym, Ltd. at (312) 580-0100.

  Category: Americas, Life & Society
  Topics: Relief
Views: 3604
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Older Comments:
If there is anything I can do to help BIF in their time of need, please let me know. I am disgusted that the US government would beat up on a legitimate charity. That is un-American.

Asalaamu Alaykum

what I don't understand is, if you cooperate with any legitimate investigation and you don't have any connection with terrorist activity beside feeding orphans and hungery people. How could they just shut you down?
What is going on? I think I know what my brothers and sisters in falastiin are feeling today. I want to tell you my heat cries for you.I feel you bain, I feel guilty when I am save and I know you are not, I pary for you edividualy eventhough I do not know your names."Ahlul qudus"for give me, and I mean it from the buttom of my heart. love.

How sad!
Inna li Allahi wa inna ilayhi rajioun