In response to concerns from the Arab-American and Muslim-American communities conveyed by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and the Arab American Institute (AAI) in a letter to Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, the Treasury Department has issued a set of voluntary guidelines for US-based charities. (Click here to view letter)
On November 4, ADC and AAI requested guidance on the issue of charitable giving in light of Ramadan and the upcoming Christmas holiday for the fulfillment of safe and lawful zakat (giving alms), tithing and charitable giving during the holiday season.
On November 7, the Treasury Department responded to our request by issuing a comprehensive set of voluntary guidelines for US faith based and secular charities (PDF) to follow so as to avoid any potential blockage of funds and/or investigation. These guidelines focus on financial controls and, most importantly, high levels of disclosure and transparency in the administration and allocation of the charitable funds. Donors contributing to charities adhering to these guidelines should feel confident that religious obligations have been fulfilled without violation of US laws.
ADC President Ziad Asali said, “We are gratified by the genuine efforts and timely response put forth by the Treasury Department in addressing our concerns. The release of the voluntary guidelines by the Treasury Department should be of great comfort to those who wish to make donations during this holiday season.”