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Announced on January 6, 2022.
One Teller from Bank of Taiwan Saying IAT Accounts in BOT Being Marked As High-Risk Accounts
One IAT staff went to BOT Hualien Branch to withdraw cash on Dec. 16, 2021. The teller in charge told the staff that IAT accounts have been marked as high-risk accounts. So IAT sent an official letter to related departments demanding an explanation,
After talking to three deputy managers and one manager from two branches and the headquarter of BOT, we have come up with the conclusions as follows for Muslims and those who care about this issue for reference.
According to Manager Lin of North-Hualien Branch, all bank accounts are ranked automatically by the computer system, where no one can put a hand on it directly. American banks are playing a crucial role in regulating the measures. IAT chairman is originally from Syria, which may affect the result of ranking.
According to Deputy Manger Hsiao, all religion groups in Taiwan, no matter Daoism, Buddhism, Christianity, or Islam, are ranked the same risk level. It is not allowed to disclose the risk level to anyone according to the regulations. There is an obvious mistake for the teller to tell IAT that its accounts are marked high risk, and she stated that his conception of “high risk” is mistaken.
According to four of them, all bank staffs are undertaking great risks. There are numerous cases relating to lawsuit and penalty in recent years. It is a general self-protective guideline rather than questioning or discriminating that bank tellers inquire their customers about the payment flow.
As far as we know, Muslim spouses of some nationalities (eg. Pakistan, Syria, etc.) are listed by police bureau and visited and interrogated every three months after they get Taiwan ARC. Even if someone who has given up his nationality, obtained Taiwan ID, possessed a proper job, and resided in Taiwan for over twenty years with no criminal records cannot be removed from this list. This contributes only a small part to foreign Muslim spouses’ feeling of being second-class citizens in Taiwan.
Current global Muslim population is roughly estimated as 1.8 billions; meanwhile, the number of ISIS warriors at its peak is around 100,000 and Taliban 300,000, which contributes only 0.0002% to the whole population of Muslims. Little or more, Muslims can feel discriminated or doubted thanks to the exaggerations of media. On top of that, being listed by the government along with incidents similar to this bank issue, it cannot be guaranteed that the accumulated bitterness shall not result in real conflicts, big or small.
We here call the attention of Taiwan government to review the measures of listing Muslims as well as other strategies related. We do hope that it is not waving the flag of Muslim-Friendly New Southbound Policy while monitoring Muslims privately, which can deepen the psychological pressures of Muslims in Taiwan.