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ADC, MPAC, and Muslim Advocates Welcome Ramadan and Provide Guidance on Charitable Giving

Washington, DC | September 12, 2007 | www.adc.org | The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC); the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC); and Muslim Advocates, a charitable initiative of the National Association of Muslim Lawyers (NAML), welcome the start of the Holy Month of Ramadan which begins Thursday, September 13, 2007. 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.
Recently, concerns have been raised by the Arab and Muslim American communities regarding charitable donations in light of the most recent raids on Muslim and Arab-American charities. Since September 11th, these raids and the resulting freezing of assets take place without specific evidence proven in a court of law that the institutions are guilty of supporting terrorism. Yet, the practical effect is that the charities can no longer operate and are viewed as conduits for terrorism. As a result, the raids have had a chilling effect in the Arab and Muslim American communities, as individuals seek to fulfill their religious obligation of zakat, or charitable giving.
Last month, civil rights groups including ADC and Muslim Advocates met with the US Department of Treasury, discussed these concerns, and relayed the fears of individuals who had donated in good faith to charities that were later deemed suspect by the Treasury Department.
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. In a joint effort to alleviate concerns in the Arab and Muslim communities ADC, MPAC and MA/NAML urge potential donors to be diligent in selecting the charitable organizations receiving donations. Muslim Advocates has issued a document which can be used by potential donors in discerning to which charities to contribute. To view the document, please see: http://www.muslimadvocates.org/news_more.php?id=27_0_3_0_M. The document can also be viewed in PDF format by visiting: http://www.muslimadvocates.org/docs/Donor-Guidance101106.pdf
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 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 continued work with MPAC and Muslim Advocates as we ensure everyone‘s rights are protected in our Constitutional traditions of fairness, equality, and justice under the rule of law.”
MPAC Executive Director, Salam Al-Marayati said, “During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslim Americans will be making charitable contributions to various charities and the Muslim Public Affairs Council want to ensure that donors rights are protected as
members of our community support charities domestically and abroad.”
Muslim Advocates Executive Director Farhana Khera said, “We are pleased to be working with MPAC and ADC on this issue of critical importance to the Muslim and Arab American communities. Utilizing our advisory committee of legal experts, Muslim Advocates has developed this guidance to assist donors who want to support well-deserving humanitarian and charitable causes and ensure that their donations reach their intended beneficiaries.” Khera added, “This guidance is the first step in a number of steps that we are taking to strengthen and protect Muslim American charitable institutions and charitable giving.”
For further information about ADC , please visit https://www.adc.org
For further information about Muslim Advocates, please visit http://www.muslimadvocates.org
For further information about MPAC, please visit http://www.mpac.org
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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 combat racial stereotyping and to protect the civil rights of people of Arab descent in the United States. ADC has 38 chapters nationwide, including chapters in every major city in the country, and members in all 50 states.