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:
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.
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 spending our funds.
Yaqeen chose not to become a for-profit institute with a subscription fee because 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 potential to reach just as many people—if not more—as they have with an accurate and genuine 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 any type of funding, including CVE grants, from any governmental entity. We also refuse funding from any foundation that espouses ideas that would delegitimize our organization. We are committed to maintaining our independence from any group or type of funding that could potentially compromise Yaqeen’s mission.
Our Commitment to Other Institutions in the Community
We partner with Muslim organizations nationally and globally to provide free, accessible content. Our goal is to equip mosques, Islamic schools, and youth groups with the resources they need to foster a strong Muslim identity. Media and policy organizations can also use Yaqeen’s research articles as a source for the information they need about Islam while having full confidence in our rigor and presentation. Yaqeen is committed to helping all other institutions in the Muslim community become more effective.
We seek to be forward-thinking and relieve the Muslim community in the US and Muslims around the world from much of the pain, doubt, and discrimination they face by correcting the narrative on Islam. In just a few years, Yaqeen has made a significant impact not just by pushing back on suggestions that Islam and the Muslim world should constantly be treated with suspicion but by also 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.
Our mission is not just to defend Islam but to also highlight the beauty 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 the development of a fully-sustained endowment that guarantees our operations’ financial needs are always met. This will give us the ability to continue recruiting the best talent while gaining access to spaces that influence how 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 like Yaqeen to have secured funding that can sustain it through times of uncertainty.
Given the importance of our mission and the demonstrated success of our efforts and programs, long-term sustainability is a necessity. Yaqeen has a documented strategy in place that designates large donations to the waqf/endowment account directly.
Yaqeen’s endowment strategy rests on three pillars:
Provide an annual, predictable source of revenue to support operations.
Preserve the purchasing power of the original gifts.
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 build 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 using the value of a monthly subscription fee or more to change someone’s life with Yaqeen’s free content. To help us continue this work and become a Yaqeen Sustainer, click here.
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. Other important fundraising periods include the blessed first ten days of Dhul Hijjah and an end-of-the-year push in December. Even with the waqf and the support from our Sustainers, we will continue fundraising during these seasons to fill in funding gaps and to harness the excitement and support that is generated in each one of these seasons.
In the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak, 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, furloughs, or layoffs. We promptly applied for the SBA Paycheck Protection Program and were granted approval. With the help of Allah, Most High, the continued generosity of our supporters, and other 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.
To read more about Yaqeen Institute's eligibility to receive zakat and our policy detailing how those funds are managed and spent, please see our zakat policy.