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Iranian Gov’t Front Group Funded Over 60 Islamic Sites in U.S.

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Last week, the Clarion Project documented how an Iranian regime “propaganda” front donated to over 30 universities in North America. Published financial reports from that same front reveal that it also funded over 60 Islamic organizations, mosques, and Persian schools around the country.

The New York-based Alavi Foundation is accused of funneling money to an Iranian bank linked to the nuclear program. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office investigations chief, Adam Kaufmann, said “We found evidence that the government of Iran really controlled everything about the foundation.”

The Foundation’s president, Farshid Jahedi, pled guilty to destroying evidence before it could be submitted to the grand jury. The case has yet to be resolved.

The alleged regime front’s purpose wasn’t limited to Iran’s nuclear program. U.S. officials told the Washington Post that the Foundation “promotes Tehran’s views on world affairs.” An Iranian opposition figure in California similarly describes it as part of the regime’s “propaganda machine.”

Iran has made a major investment in influencing American opinion that has gone mostly unnoticed. In addition to North American academia, the Foundation’s website boasts of having funded over 36 Islamic centers and 30 Persian schools.

One of the Foundation’s initiatives is its book distribution program that it began in 1981. Over 15,000 free texts are distributed each year using four distribution centers at Islamic sites in New York, Texas, California and Maryland.

According to its website, recipients include “individuals, academic institutions, public libraries, Islamic centers, and the penitentiaries within the United States.” Yes, you read that correctly—an accused Iranian government front openly boasts that it provides texts for American prisons.

The Clarion Project has gone through the Foundation’s published financial reports from 2004 to 2010 and has put together a chart of documented donations, organized by state. The amounts include all financial and book donations to the organization, including any affiliated Persian weekend school.

Look at the chart below to find out what the Iranian “propaganda machine” has been up to near you:

STATEISLAMIC ORG.DETAILS
AZAl-Mahdi Benevolent OrganizationIdentified as a recipient on the Alavi website.
CABabul Ilm Islamic Center2005: $150,000 loan converted to donation
Center of Persian Language Preservation Corporation / Alborz Farsi SchoolAlavi website declares April 2013 donation

12/16/2011: $10,000

1/4/2011: Unspecified donation.

2010: $16,000

2009: $12,500

2008: $12,500

City of Knowledge School2006: $50,000

2005: $30,000

2004: $20,000

Hejrat Educational Center2005: $270,000
IABA Persian SchoolIdentified as a recipient on the Alavi website.
Islamic Education Center of San DiegoIdentified as a recipient on the Alavi website.
Persian Cultural Club / Dekhoda Persian SchoolAlavi website declares April 2013 donation

11/8/2012: $25,000

12/16/2011: $20,000

1/4/2011: $30,000

2009: $28,000

2008: $27,500

2007: $90,000

2006: $71,800

2005: $80,000

2004: $34,800

Qoba Foundation2009: $30,000
Resalat Islamic CenterIdentified as a recipient on the Alavi website.
Shia Association of Bay AreaIdentified as an Alavi book distribution center.

2008: $21,500

2007: $14,000 for books

2005: $500,000

CTIslamic Institute of Ahl’ Albait2011: Over $200,000 according to a thank-you letter on Alavi’s website.

2005: $16,500 loan converted to donation

Jafaria Association of Connecticut2009: $18,000

2004: $20,000 loan converted to donation

Pakistani American Association2010: $12,000
DCMasjid al-Islam / As-SabiqunIdentified as a recipient on the Alavi website.
GASahebozzaman Islamic Center of Atlanta2009: $6,500

2008: $6,500

2007: $13,650

2006: $13,250

2005: $13,400

2004: $13,170

Zainabia Nonprofit, Inc.2005: $45,000

2005: $15,000 loan converted to donation

ILIrshad Learning Center2007: $450,000

2004: $8,000

KSAz-Zahra Center2008: $5,000

2007: $25,000

2006: $68,200

2005: $9,050

2004: $8,750

Imam Ali Center of Kansas CityAlavi website declares April 2013 donation

11/8/2012: $8,000

2010: $10,000

2008: $5,500

2007: $11,400

Payame Noor Institute11/8/2012: $6,000

12/16/2011: $5,000

2010: $7,000

2009: $8,000

2004: $8,000

KYAl-Zahrah Islamic CenterIdentified as a recipient on the Alavi website.
MAPersian Language SchoolIdentified as a recipient on the Alavi website.
MDIdara-e-Jafferia2004: $200,000
Islamic Education Center of MDAlavi website declares April 2013 donation

Identified as an Alavi book distribution center.

Muslim Community School / Alim AcademyAlavi website declares April 2013 donation

9/30/2011: $500,000

9/12/2012: $400,000

2010: $418,000

2009: $292,000

2008: $130,000

2007: $176,000

2006: $270,000

2005: $203,000

2004: $224,000

Persian Language Institute of MD2008: $6,000

2007: $5,000

Quran Account, Inc.2005: $20,000

2004: $20,000

Universal Muslim Association of America3/24/2012: $10,000

2010: $10,000

2009: $4,000

2008: $5,000

2007: $6,000

2006: $3,000

2005: $100,000

MIIslamic House of Wisdom2009: $4,000

2008: $4,000

2007: $6,700

2006: $6,000

2005: $8,000

2004: $15,000

MNResalat Farsi SchoolIdentified as a recipient on the Alavi website.
MODar al-Zahra Mosque and Education Center / Shia Islamic Education Center2011: Thank-you letter on Alavi’s website states that it has received a total of $600,000.

2006: $135,000

2005: $300,000

NJMuslim Foundation / Masjid-e Ali2011: $250,000, as stated in a thank-you letter on the website.

2010: $250,000

2007: $150,000

2005: $230,000

New Jersey Islamic Center10/16/2009: Unspecified donation to construction.
Noor Center Corporation2005: $67,000

2004: $30,800

Persian Language Institute of NJ2008: $4,100

2007: $20,000

NYAhlul Bayt Mosque11/20/2011: $50,000

Nov 2011: $10,000, according to a thank-you letter posted on the Alavi website.

2010: $50,000

2009: $10,000

2008: $10,000

2007: $65,000

2006: $54,000

2005: $95,000

2004: $23,000

Al-Khoei Benevolent Foundation11/6/2012: $25,000

2009: $5,000

Ark Institute1/31/2011: $10,000

2010: $10,000

Iranian-Armenian Society11/25/2011: Unspecified donation.

2009: $3,000

2007: $6,000

2006: $6,000

2005: $3,000

2004: $2,000

Islamic Institute of New York3/20/2013: $120,000

11/15/2011: $240,000

2010: $50,000

2009: $240,000

2008: $180,400

2007: $250,000

2006: $155,000

2005: $162,000

2004: $98,191.86

Islamic Learning Center of Orange County / Masjid al-Ikhlas2011: Unspecified donation according to a thank-you letter on Alavi’s website.
Islamic Seminary Inc. N.J. (based in NY)Identified as an Alavi book distribution center.

2010: $26,480

2009: $10,000

Jafaria Association of North AmericaAlavi website declares April 2013 donation

12/16/2011: $15,000

2010: $20,000

10/16/2009: Unspecified donation for “scholarly research”

2008: $19,500

2007: $30,000

2006: $55,000

2005: $14,400

2005: $100,000 loan converted to donation

Masoomeen School of Islamic Education3/2/2012: $10,000

2010: $10,000

2009: $3,000

2008: $5,000

2007: $6,000

2006: $3,000

2005: $3,000

2004: $15,600

Nurudeen Islamic Charity Org. of NY2011: Unspecified donation according to a thank-you letter on Alavi’s website.
Razi SchoolAlavi website declares April 2013 donation

11/13/2011: $450,000

11/9/2012: $8,000

7/13/2012: $400,000

2010: $420,500

2009: $345,000

2008: $279,000

2007: $368,000

2006: $237,420

2005: $318,200

2004: $154,200

OHPayam Farsi SchoolIdentified as a recipient on the Alavi website.
OKOklahoma Farsi School FoundationAlavi website declares April 2013 donation

12/16/2011: $8,000

1/4/2011: $8,000

2010: $8,000

2009: $8,000

2008: $8,000

2007: $11,500

2006: $11,300

2005: $11,900

2004: $8,000

ORIslamic Center of Portland2005: $400,000
PAAramgah Memorial Garden Foundation2011: $100,000 interest-free loan, according to a thank-you letter on the Alavi website.
Parvin Etesami Persian School (affiliated with Noor Center Corp. of NJ)Identified as a recipient on the Alavi website.
Khoja Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat of Pennsylvania8/15/2011: $5,000

2004: $20,000

TNAl-Zahra Islamic CenterIdentified as a recipient on the Alavi website.
Al-Mahdi Islamic CenterIdentified as a recipient on the Alavi website.
Islamic Message Group2005: $210,000

2004: $30,000

TXAnjuman-E-Haideri / Persian School of Houston12/13/2011: Unspecified donation.

2008: $42,000

2007: $3,000

2006: $43,800

2005: $22,000

2004: $52,000

Ferdowsi Persian SchoolIdentified as a recipient on the Alavi website.
Islamic Education Center of TexasIdentified as an Alavi book distribution center.
Pars AcademyAlavi website declares April 2013 donation

2010: $8,000

2008: $4,000

2007: $16,400

2006: $10,000

2005: $14,600

2004: $26,700

Texas Persian School1/4/2011: Unspecified donation.
UTAlrasool Islamic Center2009: $10,000
VAImam Reza Foundation2005: $6,000
VAManassas Mosque2005: $53,000

2004: $140,000

WAAmerican Moslem Foundation2005: $55,000 loan converted to donation
CANADAToronto Farsi SchoolAlavi website declares April 2013 donation

November 2011: Letter acknowledges unspecified donation.

2010: $30,000

2009: $26,000

2008: $27,500

2007: $35,000

2006: $44,626

2005: $50,000

2004: $30,000

It is quite possible that a recipient was unaware that the Alavi Foundation was part of Iran’s “propaganda machine,” but the Foundation didn’t donate to just anybone.  Funds are limited and are distributed with the intent of having the maximum effect. It is suspicious when the Alavi Foundation/Iranian government decides that a specific U.S. organization deserves its money.

Every dollar spent on these organizations is a dollar that could have gone into the regime’s rapidly-thinning wallet. If an Iranian government front decides that a recipient is a more worthy investment than the regime itself, then the regime must be getting a lot for its dollar.  

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org