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Muslim Charity Teams Up with U.S. Government

August 20, 2009 (All day)

By Jacqueline L. Salmon

Washington Post Blog

I've written in a previous post about American Muslim charities that are using various vetting processes to reassure Muslims that their donations won't get them into trouble with the U.S. government. Here's another organization: American Charities for Palestine.

It partners with the U.S. government on charitable projects in the Palestinian territories.

Last August, the nonprofit signed an agreement with the Agency for International Development (USAID) aimed at expanding private American donor assistance to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. It's now up and running in time for Ramadan, when Muslims are required to give to the poor and needy. (Ramadan starts this evening.)

The way it works is that American Charities for Palestine picks the project and USAID looks it over. After USAID has given the project a thumb's up, American Charities goes to it. It has three projects so far, including one that sent 1,000 laptops to 13 schools in the West Bank.

So far it has spent about $355,000, and USAID has kicked in $250,000 in matching funds.

Ziad Asali, who sits on the nonprofit's board of directors, said the group hopes to show Muslims that "it is possible to send money to Palestine. It is possible to send it to very worthwhile causes, and it is possible to feel like you're doing something safely and securely with at least one U.S. government department vetting recipients."