Banks across the United States have closed the accounts of Muslim customers without any explanation.
Dozens in the US said they received notices saying that their bank accounts had been shut. These include business owners, nonprofits, and students.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) believes the move is linked to racist policies and has brought a complaint to the Justice Department.
A Justice Department spokeswoman said the issue is a matter for banking regulators, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“The bureau takes seriously any allegations of discrimination in the consumer financial marketplace and is committed to ensuring consumers have fair and equal access to credit,” she said, adding “We cannot confirm or comment on whether any investigation is ongoing.”
CAIR, the Muslim civil rights group, said its Michigan chapter is now considering a lawsuit against the banks.
The accounts appear to belong to people who have connections to Kuwait and Syria.
The Los Angeles Times reported that a Florida businessman, who had barely opened his new accounts at Chase Bank, received a letter saying both his personal and business accounts were closed.
“To shut me down — this is not good,” Sofian Zakout told the Times. “This kind of prejudice is not acceptable.”
“We never understood what’s going on,” said Abdul Hyee Waqas, who had his account in Bellevue, Washington, closed, told the Times. “We had been a good customer. It was very disheartening.”
Muslim citizens have been under pressure in the US in recent years, with many being spied on for no reason. Some Muslim citizens of the US have condemned the action as racial profiling.