Banking while Muslim: Islamophobia strikes yet again

Banking while Muslim: Islamophobia strikes yet again

The Queensland Muslims Inc. (QMI) expresses great disappointment and concern about the recent
incident where a Muslim customer’s bank transfer was screened by a bank with undue suspicion.

QMI understands that a man, who happens to be Muslim and has Muslim extended family, made a
transfer to his nephew with the narrative “Muslim bday” as a birthday gift. It appears the bank
restricted the transfer until further details were obtained from the customer. The restriction was
made via the economic sanctions team at the bank who monitor transactions for potentially
fraudulent activity or support for extremist organisations.

When requested details were provided (after much confusion on the customer’s part) the bank
allowed the transfer to complete.

QMI is concerned that:

  • The mere word “Muslim” raised a flag in the bank’s system, insinuating anything related to Islam
    or Muslims is potentially extreme
  • Muslim customers will be profiled and targeted in a similar manner
  • Other religious groups are not treated in the same way
  • Such heavy handedness will set a precedent to the extent that only Muslims must be extra
    cautious when writing transaction narratives to avoid being flagged by the system.

QMI warns banks that such behavior, when left unchecked, will cause major distrust. Furthermore,
it only serves to undermine goodwill between Corporate Australia and the Muslim community who
otherwise cooperate fairly well on issues of shared concern.
QMI welcomes the opportunity to educate and inform banks about ways to meaningfully engage
the Muslim community.
06 March 2023

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