Muslim charity (Kinder USA) suspends activity
over government actions
The following is an open letter to members of the community regarding the suspension KinderUSA's activities.
Dear Respected Donors,
In early 2002, KinderUSA was formed in response to dual challenges posed by the state of Muslim charities in America and the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian picture in Palestine. Through the generosity of our donors, we have successfully raised and disbursed more than four million dollars on needy children and their families in slightly under three years of existence.
At KinderUSA, our central concerns remain that your charitable contributions are utilized in the manner intended and that those in need continue to receive the humanitarian assistance they deserve. Since our inception, KinderUSA has been committed to transparency and due diligence on all levels.
As a standard business practice, we have conducted annual audits, issued annual reports, and had an independent expert evaluate our programs and operations in Gaza in terms of effectiveness, transparency and accountability. In accordance with rules governing non-profit organizations, we have filed returns with appropriate state and federal agencies, extending every effort to comply with all federal laws regulating the operation of charities, including the 2002 Treasury Department's "Anti-Terrorist Financing Guidelines: Voluntary Best Practices for US-Based Charities." We have engaged directly with the Treasury Dept. on a regular basis to ensure that the interests of American Muslim donors are respected and that American Muslim charities receive fair treatment under the law.
Despite all of our efforts, in recent weeks we have discovered that the federal government has targeted KinderUSA for investigation. This has taken the form of unwarranted and obtrusive surveillance by the FBI, wiretapping, attempts to bribe and subvert our employees (which has caused them to resign in fear), spreading of malicious disinformation about the organization, and the possible invasion of our office space.
In the current environment, we cannot in good faith continue to solicit donations when there are no safeguards in place to guarantee that the federal government will not seize these funds and divert them from their intended, legitimate destination. We have approached the government seeking an explanation to help us understand the basis of this investigation and are currently awaiting a response.
Rest assured that your recent donations have made it to their intended destination with the Ramadan project feeding needy children while helping farmers in cooperation with Agricultural Relief Committee; our ongoing psychosocial support center for the severely traumatized implemented by Terre des hommes; and distributing milk to needy pre-schoolers with ANERA. Our forthcoming newsletter will provide full details regarding our activities during the last quarter.
We feel it is in the best interests of the beneficiaries, donors and the foundation to enter into a period of evaluation and review of our options during the calendar year of 2005. Once we conclude this period of review, we will inform you of any further developments. With the necessary assurances from the US government, we will be able to continue our important work, God-willing.
May God bless you for all of your efforts on behalf of those in greatest need.
For the children,
The Board of Directors