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Life for Relief and Development: Why Investigated?

August 30, 2007 by  


By Adil James, MMNS

A review of the publicly available Forms 990 filed by Life indicates that the not-for-profit may have attracted attention in part by virtue of its own success.

According to its 2005 IRS Form 990, available on the internet, the non-profit collected $22,034,321 “Total Revenue” (reported on line 12 of its 990) in 2005, about 98% of which was from “direct public support” and the remainder from government grants and contributions. Dr. Jassem, the CEO, received a salary that year of $80,000 (representing an 8% raise over the previous year–perhaps due to the increased success of the NFP) for his services in running the multimillion dollar non-profit; Muthana Alhanooti, the Public Relations director, earned $64,000; other key employees earned less.

2004 numbers were dramatically less. The “Total Revenue” from line 12 of Form 990 for 2004 was listed as $10,632,093.

2003 numbers were comparable to ‘04, with “Total Revenue” from line 12 being $11,083,635.

Previous 990’s were unavailable to TMO.

Life makes financial and annual reports available on its website, but TMO was unable to locate any 990’s on the site.

A review of Islamic Relief’s 990 forms indicates that in fact its receipts are almost exactly comparable to Life’s. In 2005, Islamic Relief (based in Buena Park California) claimed Total Revenue of $20,574,771 on line 12 of its Form 990.

Islamic Relief has seen a similar spike in total revenue. In ‘04 and ‘03, respectively, its total revenue claimed on line 12 were only $9,320,264 and $6,290,488.

The possible lessons of this analysis are that, one, it seems that other Muslim charities are reaping a reward from the closing by the government of some behemoth Muslim charities (including among others Benevolence International, Holy Land, Global Relief, and Kindhearts).

Second, the spike in donations to the remaining charities may make them more prone to government interference–which indicates that possibly troubled times may be ahead for Islamic Relief, which has somehow escaped censure until now despite the calamities that have befallen its fellow charities.

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