An interesting and, in my opinion, agreeable feature of Islam is the requirement to give to charity. Indeed, zakat is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and Muslims are expected to give 2.5% of their income to charity during Ramadan. The idea is that if every capable Muslim contributed, their efforts would go far in having a positive effect on poverty.
Officials in the U.S., however, have, in the past, been willing to knock on the doors of practicing Muslims with questions about their “gifts to charity” and, in dome cases, arrest contributors on charges of financing terrorism. It seems that some Muslim charities are also willing to help Al Qaeda and Hamas as well as poor Afghans and Palestinians. Citizens have been jailed, funds have been siezed, etc..
So why don’t Muslims honor their zakat requirement by giving to secular charities, of which their are many who provide valuable and life-saving services and goods to the poor. See an old post of mine for a list of such charities. Note: these aren’tÂ necessarily atheist charities, rather they’re secular (i.e. not religious) ones. Doctors Without Borders answers to no religious leaders, clergy, or doctrine. Yet they provide life-saving services to the religious and godless alike -including Muslims.
I’m sure the idea is that Muslims would want to benefit impoverished Muslims, but many of the secular charities that exist, like the aforementioned DWB, do benefit people who happen to be Muslim.