Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) Lead Against Banking Discrimination

For years, Iranian Americans, Iranian nationals and other minority groups have been discriminated against by U.S. financial institutions who close or restrict their accounts with little to no warning. This process, which is done in an apparent overcompliance with broad sanctions on Iran, is known as “de-risking.”  These incidents have been well documented, with closures impacting students far removed from financial support, individuals closing on a home or expecting a child, or even just friends paying each other back via mobile apps for Iranian food. Most recently, Bank of America was sued by an Iranian national – and permanent resident in the U.S. – for closing his account with no notice. In the lawsuit, Bank of America itself revealed that they had closed or restricted the accounts of a staggering 15,000 individuals of Iranian heritage.  Given that these actions are intended to comply with various U.S. sanctions and anti-money laundering regulations, the federal government needs to step in to better safeguard minority communities from discriminatory banking practices. Thankfully, Senator Warren and Representative Omar have sent a new letter addressed to financial regulatory agencies with proposed executive actions to reduce the negative impacts of de-risking. This letter follows previous efforts to

NIAC Joins 180+ Organizations to Call on U.S. Universities to End Crackdown on Student Protests in Solidarity with Gaza

Washington, DC – NIAC was one among over 180 organizations in a letter today calling on U.S. universities to end the crackdown on campus protests and encampments demanding an end to the war in Gaza. These students, who are exercising their right to protest peacefully amid an atmosphere of pressure, intimidation, and even physical retaliation, have organized encampments across the country to make clear that they want an end to the war, a safe environment for Palestinians on their respective campuses and their universities to divest from corporations that profit from Israel’s occupation and siege on Gaza.  However, in response to their organizing and demands, several universities have chosen to deploy police – and even threaten to send for the National Guard – to disband the encampments, resulting in brutal physical exchanges as well as the reported arrest of more than 900 students.  At a critical moment after nearly seven months of indiscriminate bombardment in Gaza, it is imperative that we amplify the arduous yet impactful work that university students are leading, ensure their safety, and join them in continuing to press for a permanent ceasefire.  Signers of the letter include Arab American Institute, Jewish Voice for Peace, IfNotNow Movement,

NIAC Joins Over 100 Organizations to Call for UNRWA Restoration

NIAC was one among over 100 organizations in a letter sent today to President Biden, Speaker Johnson and Leader Schumer expressing concern over Congress’s decision to reinforce and codify the Biden Administration’s suspension of U.S. funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is the largest humanitarian operator on the ground in Palestine. With U.S. officials confirming that famine has set in in Gaza amid the horrific war that began October 7, the letter urges the United States to restore funding to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of the moment. Additional signers of the letter include Amnesty International, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Friends Committee on National Legislation, Human Rights Watch, International Refugee Assistance Project and more. The United States suspended funding for UNRWA after Israeli officials alleged that 12 members of UNWRA’s staff in Gaza – a very small fraction of those employed by the humanitarian operator – had taken part in the October 7 attack against Israel. UNRWA immediately fired the employees named and subsequently launched an investigation into the incident. In the months since, Israel has failed to provide any evidence to substantiate their claims. As a result, with several other major nations having

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