Our Syrian Fundraiser Faces Investigation

Our Syrian Fundraiser Faces Investigation

When local farmsteader and inspiration, Maryann Borch posted that she was doing a refugee fundraiser at her farm (about 1 hour out of town) I suggested that we hosted one of them in Edmonton so that it was more accessible to more people. I did not realize that our Syrian fundraiser would face some type of problem for PayPal.

When I created the EventBrite I also used PayPal as a method to collect payment for the workshop. When the first person registered I received an email notification from EventBrite to confirm the registration and another one from PayPal to say that they have received a payment.

BUT the email from PayPal was different than the usual one – “Payment from (Name Removed) on 6-Nov-2015 is pending”. I had not seen this before. This was the same for each payment that followed.

On Friday I phoned PayPal to find out what was happening. Now that I look back they never did say what the problem was but just told me that that they would be releasing the funds to my account within the next 24 hours.

They did not inform me the reason the funds were ‘pending’ was because there was some suspicion that the funds might be going somewhere inappropriate.

I was not suspecting any kind of problem – I was only concerned about the funds being blocked so that I can transfer them to the organisation putting on this fundraiser. I have been told I am too naive and obviously it quite obvious this time.

Yesterday someone phoned the store and talked with one of the staff about PayPal informing them that the funds were under investigation because the destination of the funds were suspect. I believe they think that the funds might be destined for the Syrian government of even ISIL/ISIS.

Last night I received this email from a friend: “You might want to call PayPal as many EventBrite folk use it. They think this money is going right to syria or something?”

Another communication from someone: “Took me 3 tries to get a ticket. PayPal thought I was sending money to Syria…. It was most peculiar.

So sad. I know they are doing their ‘job’ but really. Do they think someone would be so stupid to use the term Syria in the name of their fundraiser if they were raising money for some nefarious destination? I feel insulted because I am not stupid – naive yes – but not stupid.

Anyway. The fundraiser tomorrow night is going ahead and Earth’s General Store will ensure that all funds are transferred appropriately even if PayPal holds onto the money for a period of time without releasing it to us.

This is a post made by someone on the Facebook event page (the post was removed because the moderator felt it was promoting hatred and xenophobia):

Yes by all means we should all make it a point to learn the proper techniques in preparing syrian foods . We need to keep them well fed in order for them to have the energy to wreak havoc in our country as in their own . I mean surely it takes energy to rape young girls &boys as is they’re right according to their own laws ! It will take plenty of energy also to riot in the streets demanding sharia law to be accepted in this country ! You people go ahead & welcome your new imported terrorists. Feed them , pamper them in every way possible . Perhaps they’ll decide to stay in your city to rape ,rob & pillage your town. They can stay busy there & have no desire to move into my town or where my children are , raising their own families. I’ll appreciate you & feel forever in your debt .

Over the past few days PayPal has refunded several of the attendees’ money without notifying me and without conferring with the person that made the payment. They just did it.

Thanks for your support. With Peace.