A new wave of bank closures have been taking place in the state of Michigan, namely affecting Muslim and Arab Americans. An event reminiscent of the 9/11 aftermaths, closures have been targeting both for-profit and nonprofit companies and organizations, as well as sole individuals.
"They are primarily business accounts being closed, of both nonprofits and businesses," said Dawud Walid, Executive Director of Council of Islamic Relations (CAIR) Michigan chapter.
CAIR-Michigan has asked the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to look further into the matter.
"There are numerous cases like this in Michigan, and we started hearing about them last year, with the closing of bank accounts of three different Islamic organizations," said Dawud.
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Chase Bank Harsh on Muslims
These organizations were closed by JP Morgan Chase Bank. A recent incident, also involving Chase Bank, included Alif Arabic, an online Arabic school. The business, which teaches Arabic to non-Arabic speakers, said Chase Bank gave a 10-day notice, and gave no reason for closing their bank account.
The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and Arab-American Civil Rights League have also received numerous complaints in the Dearborn, Mich. area.
"Between CAIR and another organization in the area, we have received about thirty complaints," said Walid.
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Bank Account Closure Complaints Only a Fraction of CAIR Complaints
Still, the majority of complaints CAIR receives are workplace discrimination as well as complaints against government entities, such as the FB and Customs Protection. Yet the startling closure of bank accounts cannot go unnoticed, said Walid.
"American Muslims and Arab Americans should not be silent if they are seeing their bank accounts closed," said Walid.
"All legal options are on the table, including potential litigation if need be," he added.