Muslim Credit Card Accounts Closed?

A friend forwarded this to me, but I haven’t seen anything else related yet in other media sources. If true, it makes me want to vomit.

“Credit Card Companies Close Muslim Accounts

Why is American Express suddenly cancelling on its Muslim customers?”

Comments? Has anyone seen other stories on this phenomenon?

This is the first I’ve heard of it. If Amex is really profiling customers with Middle Eastern and Subcontinental last names, then they should be sued for violating anti-discrimination laws.


Nothing on Snopes. Hmmm. Alternet isn’t exactly an unbiased bastion of journalism, but I suspect that they wouldn’t publish a piece without checking some facts, considering it’s Amex they are taking on, and it’s libelous if false.

Well, I don’t have much experience with Alternet, but the name certainly suggests an agenda. (That’s why I asked if anyone else had additional info.) I’d hope that professional responsibility would keep them from reporting outright false information, though.

I doubt this is true. If it is, it’s a damned stupid decision from an economic standpoint. The American Muslims I know and see are hard-working, dependable folk with plenty of spending power.

I mean, I know it’s offensive; I’m just saying it’s also pretty damn fucking stupid.

Also, how in the hell can you tell for sure someone is Muslim just because they have an Arabic-sounding last name? Ever heard of Chaldeans? And my friend whose last name is El-Jamal is… JEWISH.

Has anyone ever heard of a credit card company asking for multiple years of tax returns and banking records? I sure haven’t, and I certainly can’t imagine them doing it in the case of an established customer with good credit and a good payment record unless there were some specific reason to suspect wrongdoing.

Just wanted to point out that Alternet isn’t the source of this story-- it was published in City Limits, which has always been upfront about it’s activist stance. It’s sort of an East Coast VV.

So yes, they have an agenda. They also have a solid reputation for quality journalism.

no one in their right mind would give their tax returns for a credit card. You may have to show them if you’re asking for a home loan or business loan, but not a credit card.

I agree with Cranky. It’s too stupid to be true. Not that bank wouldn’t do something heinous, but they wouldn’t cut themselves off from such a source of good income.

How would they know these people were muslim anyhoo? You can’t tell from the name. They could be hindu, they could be christian, jewish, atheist, or if they’re here in California, any number of off-the-wall religions. The monent they ask about a customer’s religion, they open a door to civil liabilty that they DO NOT want to walk through.

Agreed, but I think it’s dangerous to underestimate the cluelessness of all too many sectors of American society. Discrimination in employment based on perceived citizenship status (or actual citizenship status, in most cases) is also illegal, provided the person is qualified fo rhte job and can be employed legally in the U.S., but it happens all the time. There have been some very large jury awards given to people who were denied employment for foreign appearance or for citizenship status. Why should this be any different?

Alternet consists almost entirely of OP/ED pieces, some written by Alternet staff, others taken from newspapers around the country. And, of course, we all know how truthful OP/ED pieces tend to be. I’ve seen more than a few stories on Alternet that seemed like they would have been huge news, but Alternet was the only place I saw them, so I’m a little suspicious. One story in late 2001, for instance, claimed that GWB gave the Taliban $25 million in May 2001 to tell their people that growing opium poppies was forbidden by god.

That’s one of those things that sounds like it could have happened, but doesn’t seem likely. Plus, if it did, I think the anti-Bushies around here would be all over it like stink on a TJ555 the Golfer.

Even if it is OP/ED, the way it is served up as fact, and cites a specific company, means it still can be considered libel. The only ones the courts have released of this burden of proof are the parodies and humorists. I think any defender would have a tough time claiming this was humor.

Well, it’s AMERICAN Express - what right have those dang fling-flangin’ furriners got to even HAVE a card?


Or something like that.

[quote[ One story in late 2001, for instance, claimed that GWB gave the Taliban $25 million in May 2001 to tell their people that growing opium poppies was forbidden by god. [/quote]

Google “bush opum taliban” to find out more about this. It’s all too true. (Does this mean that Bush is a sponsor of terrorism under the Patriot Act?)

markdiscordia, I searched. I sure did get a lot of hits (and a lot of sites claiming that opium production after the fall of the Taliban is skyrocketing), but after wading through several pages, I’m unable to find anything from a seemingly legitmate source. Most are personal pages with conspiratorial overtones.

Also, the dollar amount varies. I could have sworn I had read $25 million on Alternet in 2001. Now I’m also seeing figures of $10 mil and $43 mil.

Anyone have an authoritative cite?

There is a very small basis of fact here amongst the poo-flinging.

The OFAC maintains a list of countries as seen here that US based banks cannot do business with based on current economic sanctions. If a customer would, for example, send a payment from a bank based in one of these nations, the payee bank could not accept it. If a customer changed their address on the account to one of these nations, we are required by bank regulations to close the account if they choose to keep the address there

So an account with an Iranian address would be closed.

The other issue is that credit card fraud helped finance terrorism as seen here. As a result, banks have tightened up security. As with any profiling attempts, the innocent have been unfairly caught in the same net as the possibly guilty.

Yeesh. Go straight to and do a search for the opium story.

Long and short of it; it’s absolutely false.

Found it. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, RickJay.

From what I read, the US gave aid worth $25 million to the people of Afghanistan. No money actually changed hands, it didn’t go to the Taliban, and it came from the US, not Bush. (Believe it or not, they’re actually separate entities).

Anyone learn anything more on this? I honestly can’t believe that folks that were always considered credit worthy would suddenly lose their credit because their names or similar names were on some list.

Seems like the ultimate in stupidity on the part of any credit provider.

Um, did you read hardygrrl’s post? One (possible) reason is if the affected persons were trying to pay their bills with a check drawn on a banned institution.