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ADC Welcomes Ramadan and Joins President Obama

Washington, DC | August 21, 2009 | www.adc.org | The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) welcomes the start of the Holy Month of Ramadan which begins Saturday, August 22, 2009. Ramadan is a time for fasting and reflection and also the time when every able Muslim is asked to fulfill the religious obligation of alms giving or zakat.
During this Ramadan season ADC calls upon the US Department of Treasury to ensure that Muslim-American donors can fulfill their religious obligations without fear. During his speech in Cairo, President Obama echoed this concern by stating, “..the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That’s why I’m committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.” ADC will continue to constructively engage with the Treasury Department and advocate for the revocation of these, as President Obama indicated, ambiguous guidelines.
ADC National Executive Director Kareem Shora said “Donating to those in need is the right of all Americans. Muslim Americans have a religious obligation during the Holy Month of Ramadan and, as President Obama indicated, they should be able to give freely without fear from future prosecution or undue scrutiny by government agencies.” Shora continued, “ADC wishes the Muslim-American community a blessed Holy Month of Ramadan and looks forward to continue working to ensure everyone‘s rights are protected in our Constitutional traditions of fairness, equality, and justice under the rule of law.”
Those giving charitably should be mindful of the applicable laws; Arab and Muslim American donors can take steps to select reputable and effective charitable organizations. ADC urges potential donors to be diligent in selecting the charitable organizations receiving donations. As in the past, ADC encourages donors to take the following steps when donating:
• Use due diligence- ADC encourages all donors to use due diligence before donating to a charity. Plenty of information is available via the internet to assist donors. Helpful information can be found in excellent publications by Muslim Advocates, a sister entity to the National Association of Muslim Lawyers, by visiting www.muslimadvocates.org. The ADC Legal Department is available to assist in any research and answer questions about charitable giving during Ramadan, and can be reached at 202-244-2990 or via e-mail to legal@adc.org.
• Investigate the charity- Investigation of a charity can be done by looking at the website and other publications. Knowledge of where the charity operates and to whom it provides services is essential. All American based 501 (c) (3) organizations must file a Form 990, which can give a donor plenty of information about the organization, including mission statement, name of directors, expenses and other operational costs. Donors are encouraged to review an organization‘s Form 990‘s before donating. Forms 990‘s are made public and can be found on websites such as www.foundationcenter.org and www.guidestar.org.
• Clear intention and record keeping- It is of the utmost importance that the donor make his or her intention clear. If a donor is making an online contribution leave a comment such as “donation for food drive.” If donating by check leave a comment on the “memo line” as this will make clear the intention of the donation. Once the donation is processed a donor should keep all receipts and correspondences, including returned checks, in an organized manner.
• Assistance to foreign individuals- If the donor‘s intent is to assist those overseas, the best option is to donate to a charity which assists individuals overseas by finding an American based 501 (c) (3) that is involved in philanthropic efforts in foreign nations. The U.S. Agencies for International Development (USAID) works with a number of organizations to ensure delivery of donations to high risk areas, such as Gaza. Information about USAID can be found at www.usaid.gov.
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NOTE TO EDITORS: The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which is non sectarian and non partisan, is the largest Arab-American civil rights organization in the United States. It was founded in 1980, by former Senator James Abourezk to protect the civil rights of people of Arab descent in the United States and to promote the cultural heritage of the Arabs. ADC has 38 chapters nationwide, including chapters in every major city in the country, and members in all 50 states.
The ADC Research Institute (ADC-RI), which was founded in 1981, is a Section 501(c)(3) educational organization that sponsors a wide range of programs on behalf of Arab Americans and of importance to all Americans. ADC-RI programs include research studies, seminars, conferences and publications that document and analyze the discrimination faced by Arab Americans in the workplace, schools, media, and governmental agencies and institutions. ADC-RI also celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the Arabs.
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Contact: Yousef Munayyer
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee | www.adc.org
1732 Wisconsin Ave., NW | Washington, DC | 20007
Tel: 202-244-2990 | Fax: 202-244-7968 | E-mail: media@adc.org