A man has had his charity donations frozen after his surname, Islam, was flagged on a US Treasury restriction list.
Mamunul Islam, who is a British citizen, raised £400 for a UK food bank and Eventbrite, a website which facilitates fundraising, said the name “M Islam” featured on a list created by the US Office for Foreign Assets and Control.
All the donations were made in sterling and all donors were from the United Kingdom.
Mr Islam, who is an accountant from Bedford, said the laws had restricted his economic freedom.
“This is beyond discrimination. I honestly don’t know how to explain in words. Just because of my name I am treated differently,” he told The Independent.
“This was blackmail. They kept the money and they kept asking me to provide additional information even though they had my details.
“This was the eighth event with this organisation and I have never had a problem. This is just another government restricting my economic freedom,” Mr Islam said.
The money was released by Evenbrite after Mr Islam sent several letters and threatened to take legal action.
A spokesperson for Eventbrite said: “We are dedicated to providing the highest level of service to every single one of our customers. We continually monitor and screen our event listings to ensure compliance with our legal obligations, and if issues arise, we work directly with the organiser to come to a resolution.
“As a US company, Eventbrite customers agree to comply with US law through the Eventbrite Merchant Agreement. As part of compliance with the law, Eventbrite and its subsidiaries are subject to OFAC. In this instance, a payment to the organiser was temporarily held because of a potential OFAC name match.
“The payment to the organiser was released after we clarified some questions with him to make sure we comply with our legal obligations.”