Calling on Treasury Dept. to Address Zakat-Giving Challenges Ahead of Ramadan

July 15, 2009

Obama addresses zakat in Cairo speech
Obama addresses zakat in Cairo speech

During his historic Cairo speech, President Obama highlighted the need to secure the rights of charitable giving for Muslim Americans as they fulfill the obligations of Zakat. With the start of Ramadan just over a month away, MPAC and the Islamic Society of North American sent a letter to Obama asking the administration to re-engage Muslim organizations with a renewed sense of urgency.

The letter reads in part:

Muslim charities serve a dual purpose of helping Muslims serve their faith and serve their country.  Muslim charities working internationally help improve the image of America to the world by redressing the problems of refugees, the poor, and those seeking assistance in volatile regions of the world.  Muslim charities serve a vital interest to the United States of America.  Here at home, Muslim charities support poor families, students, new immigrants, refugees and other needy individuals who are prevented from reaching their full potential as human beings and as citizens because of their circumstances.

While there are reports of some charities violating U.S. law, we want to maintain the good reputation of the vast majority of Muslim charities who need to enhance their work in urban America and in the Muslim world to deal with root causes of hopelessness and violent extremism:  poverty, illiteracy and injustice.  Hence, our dialogue with your administration at this time is critical for the partnership between the U.S. government and Muslim charities to succeed.

Along with this letter, we've been addressing this issue along with our partners in the Charities and Security Network, which also sent a letter to the administration recently (link to letter). Delegates from our National Muslim American Young Leaders Summit also raised this issue with representatives from the Treasury Department last week.

Read the letter in it's entirety.

-- Haris Tarin (
Community Development Director

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