TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) – The west Toledo charity Kind Hearts, which was closed down by federal agents in 2006, has reached an agreement with the U.S. Treasury Department, and has been removed from a list of suspected terrorist organizations.
There was no evidence found linking the humanitarian organization to terrorist organizations. The charity distributed its funds to children and refugees in need of aid in the Middle East.
"Individuals that were involved in this case, on the government side, that, um, made comments such well, this goes to little terrorist children or suicide bombers children and we can't have that happening." said Linda Mansour, who represented 6 individuals with ties to the Kind Hearts charity who received Grand Jury subpoenas that were directly related to the executive order by the government to shut down the organization.
"It was backwards, the evidence had not been gathered, I don't believe the government knew exactly what they were looking for." Mansour explained.
The organization was accused of having ties to Hamas. Their assets were frozen, and they were placed on a suspected terrorist list.
"An organization is closed down, just because, in my view, it's a Muslim organization. If you check with the U.S. Department of Treasury, you will find the only organizations that have been closed down, with the exception of one, are Muslim organizations." said Mansour.
In 2008, the Kind Hearts organization filed a lawsuit challenging the government. Now, more than 4 years later, they have been removed from the suspected terrorist list, and are free to distribute the donations they had raised.
Mansour says even though this is a victory, it has left a scar on the Muslim community:
"It had the effect, a chilling effect, of having Muslims in this community and outside this community, fear in giving Zagat - alms that they are to give during the month of Ramadan, so it had a huge impact in more ways than one."
As part of the settlement agreement, Kind Hearts must remain closed. Those involved with the charity, however, are allowed to form a new organization.