Islamophobia is a multi-million dollar industry, with funds moving from influential foundations to a combination of institutions, scholars, activists, and journalists. There is thorough research on its negative impact on the Muslim community, both domestically and internationally.
This has resulted in a three-fold effect:
• Policy: Dehumanizing Muslims and demonizing Islam is the root cause of bad policy such as anti-sharia legislation and the war on terror, which includes the surveillance of Muslim communities.
• Media: Non-Muslim allies or those interested in learning about Islam have a difficult time finding accurate information about our faith.
• Identity: Many Muslims having paralyzing doubt, with some consequently distancing themselves from the community and still others even leaving Islam.
Yaqeen was born out of a recognition that Islamophobes have spent a disproportionate amount of time and money in the think-tank world and media, leaving the Muslim community in the United States and abroad constantly held hostage by false narratives about our religion and way of life. The narratives created about Islam and the Muslim world have directly led to the enactment of discriminatory policies towards Muslims, leaving us in a perpetual state of disaster response. These narratives have directly impacted the identity and beliefs of young Muslims, themselves exhausted by false portrayals of Islam and the pressures of being Muslim.
Why We Chose to be a Charity
As an IRS designated 501(c)(3) charitable organization, we are subject to additional regulation and oversight that mandates better governance, transparency, and accountability metrics in our operations and finances. This assures our donors and partners of our commitment to adhering to applicable laws and international best practices in raising and deploying our funds.
Yaqeen could have opted to become a for-profit institute with a subscription fee. Although more difficult, we chose to be a non-profit. We recognize that the Islamophobia industry is well-funded and offers its content for free, a major reason for its far reach and large impact. We believe that we have the same donor potential to reach as many spaces as—and more than—they have reached with a correcting narrative about Islam, and we are committed to keeping all of our content 100% free and accessible.
Our Commitment to Integrity
For the sake of maintaining independence and integrity, we have never accepted funding from any governmental entity, including CVE grants. This also applies to any foundation that espouses ideas that would delegitimize our organization. Our commitment is to maintain independence from any funding that could potentially compromise Yaqeen’s mission.
Our Commitment to Other Institutions in the Community
We have extended our hands to Muslim organizations around the country and world to partner in good without charging for our content. Our goal is to provide mosques, Islamic schools, and youth groups with the resources they need to foster a strong Muslim identity. Media and policy organizations can also access reliable research they need about Islam with confidence in our rigor and representation. Yaqeen is an institution committed to helping all other institutions in the Muslim community be more effective.
We seek to be forward-thinking and spare the Muslim community in the US and Muslims around the world much of the pain and disaster caused by the multi-million dollar Islamophobic think-tank industry by correcting the narrative on Islam. In just a few years, Yaqeen has made a significant impact online and onsite in the most important spaces, not just by pushing back on suggestions that Islam and the Muslim world should constantly be treated with suspicion, but in pushing forward the idea that commitment to Islam in its most orthodox sense directly translates to a commitment to humanity in the most beautiful ways, ushering in a more harmonious global society.
We’re not merely about defending Islam but also about highlighting the beautiful ways that Islam has given to the world before, and what it can do for us today as individuals and societies when understood and practiced properly. We believe we can generate the most relevant research on Islam as well as build a media presence that allows us to reach people through search engine optimization, a robust social media presence, and a healthy working relationship with other institutions.
In order to continue our work in the most efficient way, we need to be as well-funded as the think- tanks that do us so much harm. Our media capacity needs to be elevated both in terms of production quality and presence.
Our Endowment (Waqf) Strategy
At the heart of our funding philosophy is building a fully sustained endowment guaranteeing our operations’ financial needs are always met. This gives us the ability to continue to recruit the best talent while gaining access to the most important spaces that influence the way the story of Islam and the Muslim world is told. The COVID-19 pandemic, which left individuals and institutions vulnerable, has demonstrated why it is so crucial for a non-profit the size of Yaqeen to have secured funding that can sustain us through times of uncertainty.
With the importance of our mission and the continued success of our efforts and programs, long term sustainability is a necessity. Yaqeen also has a documented waqf/endowment strategy in place and has been disciplined in designating large donations to the waqf/endowment account directly.
Yaqeen’s endowment strategy rests on three pillars:
• Sustainable: Provide an annual, predictable source of revenue to support operations.
• Conservative: Preserve the purchasing power of the original gifts.
• Self-Sufficient: Increase independence from funding trends outside of our control.
Our goal is to secure an endowment that covers 70 percent of our operations.
Another important way we rely on a predictable revenue stream to support our operations is through monthly recurring donations. We depend on donors who are consistent in their contributions. As the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “The best good deeds are the ones that are consistent, even if they are very small.” These donors sustain our operations and join our mission by becoming a part of the Yaqeen team and using the value of a monthly subscription fee or more to change someone’s life with this free content. To help us continue this work as a Yaqeen Sustainer, click here to sign up.
Ramadan and Other Seasonal Fundraising
Ramadan, and the last ten nights in particular, is the most important time for us to raise funds that help us get through the rest of the year. It is a time when the ummah is most generous, as is expected because the rewards are multiplied so much by Allah SWT. Other times include the blessed first ten days of Dhul Hijjah and in December as an end-of-the-year push. Even with the goal of the waqf covering 70% of our operating expenses and support from Sustainers, we will always have to continue fundraising during these seasons to fill in the gaps and appreciate the excitement and support that is generated in each one of these seasons.
In the immediate aftermath of the outbreak of COVID-19, we were uncertain as to how our fundraising efforts would be impacted. We took a number of preventative actions to shield our staff from potential salary reductions or furloughs or layoffs. One of those preventative actions was applying for the SBA Paycheck Protection Program. Since we filed the application promptly and correctly, we were swiftly granted approval. However, with the help of Allah Most High and the continued generosity of our supporters and other effective organizational cost savings measures, we were able to maintain all staff and operations. Therefore, we chose to decline the SBA funding in hopes that other non-profits could receive the support instead.