Civil rights advocacy group says banks closed more accounts of Muslims

November 21, 2013


The Council on American-Islamic Relations–Michigan is asking federal officials to investigate more complaints that JPMorgan Chase is allegedly closing bank accounts of Muslim customers in Metro Detroit.

“It seems like it’s solidifying our idea more that there’s a disturbing pattern going on,” said Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR-MI. “These aren’t just isolated incidents.”

Spurred by about a dozen complaints in the past two months, the advocacy group has contacted the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates banks, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. CAIR-MI also received new complaints Thursday, Walid said.

One of the latest involved the checking and savings accounts for Annisa Patimurani, a Wayne State University graduate student.

The Indonesia native, who is married to an American and started attending WSU this year, said she applied and was approved without issue. But after weeks of local purchases for books and other necessities, her debit card suddenly stopped working last month, she said.

When Patimurani of Detroit visited her local Chase bank for answers, an employee told her the accounts had been closed. The explanation on file said the bank would not open one for people with ties to foreign officials, she said.

She later received a letter from Chase saying the bank is “no longer opening personal banking accounts for current or former non-U.S officials, their immediate family or their close associates.”

Patimurani was puzzled. When applying in person, wearing a hijab, she disclosed that her parents are retired Indonesian government officials, but was told this would not be an issue in securing accounts. “I just don’t understand why they need to discriminate against us,” Patimurani said.

A Chase representative said privacy reasons prevent the company from discussing details of its customer relationships. But “on occasion, Chase determines it can no longer maintain a customer’s account but those decisions are not based on the customer’s religion, ethnicity or any other similar basis.”

Detroit News:

Women and Islam: Other prejudices that come with knowledge

Rosanna Sirignano

June 3, 2013


Chained, reclusive, condemned lives, sufferers, slaves: these are some of the adjectives easily used in association with Muslim women. However, this is a broad stereotype and is predicated on the notion that there is one Islamic state or a holistic Islamic culture, the attempt to create some order to the question of Islamic women and offer cues for reflection from a point of view of little understanding.


Unfortunately for external observers it is difficult regardless of there want to examine the question objectively. The veil, an often cited example, is seen as a sign of oppression and the limits of female liberty. Many don’t know that many women probably the major part, choose to wear the veil they illustrate their devotion to God and is their own decision. Those “advocates” would now give voice to those immigrant women even though they have chosen to wear the veil these women do not think of themselves as “poor, oppressed, ignorant, terrorists” rather they might focus on a fear of not being heard or of not finding work.


It is sad to note, those who defend the rights of Islamic women there are people who have never read a verse of the Koran and have no knowledge of the historical development of the rights of women, and perhaps more gravely, look at Islam as a homogenous system. It is natural to distinguish between Italian Catholicism, and that of Swedish Catholicism for Islam we understand the same religion not a Tunisian, or a Yemen or an Indonesian Islam? When one speaks about Muslim women many understand them as the same, regardless of state, which have the same problems and the same conditions.

Stefano: “Why I Became Muslim and Married Bayu”

April 14, 2013

Alessia Arcolaci

Stefano, a Roman man, tells the story of his complicated love with an Indonesian woman, Bayu. In Italy, Islam is the second largest religion, with a million and a half followers. Among them, a few are Italian-born citizens: there are approximately 50,000 Italian-born converts. Among these converts is Stefano, a 39-year old photographer born and raised in Rome who is now married to 41 year old Bayu, an Indonesian woman.

Stefano in his capacity as a photographer started to work with foreign communities in Rome, the majority of which were Muslim. He says he “noticed how most of the Muslims were always calm, smiling, happy, and I began to wonder, why can’t I also be so happy? ”

Bayu and Stefano met at a party at the Indonesian embassy where Bayu’s brother worked as a diplomat. They continued to see each other in the local mosque, where Stefano was going to photograph veiled women and learn more about Islam.

Canadian Irshad Manji book tour in Indonesia runs into trouble

News Agencies –  May 10, 2012


Police crackdowns and attacks by religious extremists have attempted to derail the book tour of famed Muslim Canadian author Irshad Manji through Indonesia, a country she previously described as a symbol of “meaningful moderation in Islam.” “Four years ago, I came to Indonesia and experienced a nation of tolerance, openness and pluralism,” said Ms. Manji. “Things have changed.”

Raised in Vancouver, Ms. Manji rose to prominence as an advocate for progressive Islam with her 2003 book The Trouble With Islam Today. Most controversially to many of her religious critics, she is openly lesbian. Ms. Manji was in the South Asian country to promote the Indonesian release of Allah, Liberty and Love. Amid laying out a blueprint for Muslim reformation modelled on the U.S. civil rights movement, the book singles out Indonesia as a model Muslim society.

Mosque Bans

23 October 2010

In this article, Michael Prüller highlights the inherent problems associated with attempts to ban mosques: not only is reciprocity absurd (the lack of Christian churches in Iran should not have an impact on Indonesian Muslims in the Netherlands), but is goes against the very idea of human rights. However, he draws attention to an “elegant solution” proposed in Norway: while religious freedoms cannot be restricted, funding for mosques that comes from countries where those religious freedoms are not respected (such as Saudi Arabia), can be curtailed.

Indonesian Ambassador to Netherlands Says PVV Voters “Psychotic”

September 23 2010

Indonesia’s Ambassador to the Netherlands said in an interview with the Financieele Dagblad that a visit by the Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhynono would be thrown into question if the right wing PVV party formed part of the next coalition government. The ambassador also suggested that those who had voted for the right wing Freedom Party (PVV), headed by anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, could be ‘psychotic’.

Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen called the ambassador’s words ‘unwise’ and noted that he planned to make contact with him that day. Wilders, who has repeatedly called for a ban on immigration from Islamic countries, called the statements ‘scandalous’.

Tensions erupt between Moroccans and Moluccans in Culemborg, Netherlands

A series of confrontations have erupted in recent weeks between Moroccan and Mollucan communities in the central Netherlands town of Culemborg.

Conflict between youths of the two communities began on New Years Eve and have continued, with police making several arrest, erecting physical barriers between the communities, and banning public gatherings of over three people for a period of two weeks.

Although tensions continue, the city held a march of reconciliation on January 7, which was attended by 250 people.

News reports address a number of sources for the conflict. NRC assigns the responsibility for the “race riots” to competition among young men, while Radio Netherlands Worldwide stresses ethnic divisions, though also noting that most Moluccans in the Netherlands are Christian while the Moroccan community is predominantly Muslim.

Indonesia Blocks Web Access Over Film

Internet companies in Indonesia blocked access to YouTube and Myspace on Tuesday, heeding a government order aimed to stop people from watching a film critical of Islam and the Quran. The Indonesian ministry ordered internet service providers to block sites where Wilders’ film appears, stating that it could disturb relations between the faiths. The internet providers said that the block was temporary, and included also Google Video, and other file-sharing sites.

Indonesia warns Dutch anti-Islam film can disturb interfaith harmony

The Indonesian foreign ministry warned Dutch lawmakers to forbid the release of an anti-Islam film, saying it could destroy interfaith harmony. Ministry spokesperson Kristianto Legowo said at a press conference that “(The film) will be an obstacle to attempts that we and other countries have initiated. We do not want this to occur. The Indonesian Council of Churches has also asked the Protestant Church in the Netherlands to lobby the Dutch prime minister to intervene, so as to prevent very great problems that may arise after the film’s release. The Protestant Church sent Wilders a letter in January asking to meet with him, but has not yet received a reply. In a statement on March 5th, the church said “Freedom of speech is great, but when we see what immense consequences Wilder’s film could have, also and especially abroad, then surely he has to consider not releasing the film.”

US-Islamic forum in Gulf backs Obama

Delegates of a US-Islamic forum in Doha overwhelmingly voiced support for presidential hopeful Barack Obama. Obama won support in a mock election by more than 200 American and Muslim delegates at the US-Islamic World Forum. Many of the Muslim delegates said they hoped Obama would win out over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic nomination. “The Indonesian people would love to see a [US] president who has studied at an elementary school in Jakarta” said Din Syamsuddin, chairman of one of Indonesia’s largest Islamic organizations.