Since its inception in 2004 the Friends of Charities Association (FOCA) has made great progress in advancing the interests of Islamic charities; educating lawmakers, opinion leaders and the public about Muslim charities; and promoting policies that advance its member charities’ rights. Six years after FOCA was born, it is appropriate to examine where we are, what we have accomplished and where we should go next.
The Past Six Years
Since its inception FOCA has:
Opponents of Islamic charities had relied on the widespread lack of information about Muslim charities to spread false and misleading information about them. By the time FOCA was created, these opponents had already succeeded in firmly implanting false assumptions that enjoyed widespread acceptance among Western governments, journalists and the general public. These false assumptions went largely unchallenged. To counter these assumptions, we researched the work of the opponents and investigated the sources of the allegations. Over time, we were faced with a lack of cooperation from the Bush administration and – in the early days – the US Congress. We developed strategies to indirectly educate these policy-makers and engaged in careful planning to execute these strategies.
Thus, at the end of six years, FOCA has emerged as a unique force in the community that advocates for the rights of charities. In particular, we are the only organization in the Western world that has advocated for Islamic charities located in the Middle East.
Building on this strong foundation, we hope to move from our beginnings as an informal association of member charities to a more formal advocacy group with global reach. As we consider change in our organizational structure, we will also evaluate what we have done in the past and what needs to be done in the future. Much of what we have done we will continue to do. In some areas we have accomplished important goals and can move on to other objectives. Surely new challenges will arise and FOCA is ready to embrace new strategies and new alliances to overcome them.
For more information, please contact:
1150 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20036
phone: +1 202 255-3808
fax: +1 202-318-4331
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