Charities are trying to restore donor confidence in Muslim organizations and encourage giving this Ramadan, which began on Friday.
Muslim Advocates, a nonprofit legal and civic-education group in San Francisco, announced today that three charities had completed an accreditation program it started last year with the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance.
The charities are Islamic Networks Group, a San Francisco charity that promotes cross-cultural understanding; UMMA Community Clinic, started by American-Muslim doctors in Los Angeles; and Inner-City Muslim Action Network, which fights poverty on the South Side of Chicago.
Some donors have been hesitant to give to Muslim charities because of intensified government scrutiny and increased regulations following the 2001 terrorist attacks. A recent report by the American Civil Liberties Union found that some Muslim donors gave less, or none at all, out of fear they could come under government suspicion.
Muslim Advocates hopes the accreditation will provide donors with confidence that their gifts will be well managed and will effectively support humanitarian needs.
In another effort to make it easier for people to give this holiday, Global Giving, a Web site that connects donors with charities, has created an online “Ramadan initiative” that allows people to scroll through and pick projects to support that are run by reputable charities that have met IRS guidelines.
The Web site also provides a “zakat calculator” so donors can determine how much to give. (The religious obligation of zakat requires Muslims to give at least 2.5 percent of their assets to needy people each year).