Halil Demir of Zakat Foundation of America on 9 Myths about Muslim Charities

Episode 14

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Hosted by
Maruf Yusupov

I help people discover their purpose in life and follow their passion to live in prosperity.

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Halil Demir started a local Muslim charity just months before 9/11. 

Now it is a multimillion-dollar international relief organization: www.zakat.org.

Often we only see what is in front of our eyes and tend to forget how things are always in the years in the making. 

What you might not know that he is originally from a farmer’s family where he started taking care of the animals at the age of 6-7.

In this episode, we go back, way back when he started volunteering and helping those in need first in his home country in Turkey. 

Later he continued his volunteer work while studying in Europe. 

Today Zakat Foundation of America is one of the leading Muslim charities in the world helping the needy. 

We also discussed his book “9 Myths About Muslim Charities” and some funny stories Mr. Halil deals with as a Muslim charity in the US.

“Sincere Intention. Hard Work.  Determination.
Recipe For Success.

–Halil Demir

Show Notes

Zakat Foundation of America

Interview transcript

Maruf: Hey, Assalamu alaikum! Welcome to the show Muslims On Fire. And I’m your host,Maruf. Today, I have a brother from the US. He’s the founder of Zakat org and one of the largest organizations when it comes to, you know, collecting zakat and distributing in those places in need without further. I want to welcome my brother, Halil. Assalamu alaikum, brother! Welcome to the show. 

Halil: Well, thank you. Thank you for having me. 

Maruf: It’s a pleasure. As we were discussing before one of the things we have common accessories. You were originally Turk, right? 

I am usually from Uzbekistan. 

And so we have a closer Bond there. So tell us your story rather highly you were you born in the US Or you want turkey? How did it happen?

Halil: In Turkey, actually. I graduated from high school Eternal Father Southeastern Turkey at the Syrian border which has the largest refugees in the world. Probably we have around 600 thousands refugees now in Urfa. I know this because of the work that we do so I was born there after graduating from high school. 

I moved to Switzerland. So I graduated from the University of Basel Switzerland. 

Maruf: I see. So, yeah, if you don’t asking like, you know, sometimes when we look back at history, especially your childhood, there are sometimes we see the connecting dots like when you look back today to a childhood, you know, it could be school time, even before one of the memories what that comes to your mind. 

What do you think that shaped you who you are as of today? If you look back to those all those years back, what would you say? 

Halil: Well, I think we grow up in a very harsh life. So as the farmer we start working when you are a small kid. 

So seven eight years old wound up working less and the whole life life, you know, it’s also not very easy. You have to help the family and we were you know, the farmer family helping  you know, my parents take care of the goats. 

Taking care of the cow and so on. You grow up in this culture teaches you, you don’t care and share teaches you responsibility when you are young. So take care of something that brings your responsibility. So you’re responsible for when you’re six, seven years old feeding the chickens. 

So evening before you take the chips, they’re bad or serving the tree to sleep. You have to feed them, right? And morning early you have to feed them and yeah that culture of giving and caring, you know, start some start with the small age. 

And while you grow up, you learn also, you know, you have to be grateful because there is always people have less than you and the numbering even when you are farmer when you do, you know, when you see poor people beggar coming and so you have to give them tomatoes, you have to give them cucumbers, whatever you have farm, right? 

And teaches you that sharing culture and I think you know, these memories built who I am. So giving, sharing and caring was part of my upbringing in that culture. 

Maruf: Okay, that’s very interesting. So, you came from a farmer family. How many kids were in your family?Were you the eldest or middle?

Halil: We are six kids and I was in the middle. 

Maruf: Okay. So tell me this, brother Halil. So you came, you know from a farmer family, Urfa. I have not been there. I’ve been to another place, Turkey. 

But all I know about Urfa is great. So, I just want to understand. So from this family comes the good ethics, the working hard. But you mentioned that later in your life, you moved to sudex. It doesn’t happen overnight. So what was going behind if you go deep down a little bit?

Halil: You know, ninety nineteen seventies when we grow up it was turmoil in the world of political turmoil all around the world. You have these are liberation movements that you know, and the Socialist movement were very powerful in that time.

And you know, the political debate league in our societies all the questions that we were asking ourselves bring in, you know,when we were students in school. We grew up, started reading books and questioning our environment and always seeking for better. 

What is it that we can do and the poverty, what is that we can bring joy and justice to the society see, what is it that we can do and all these humans are very interesting, you know start to questions. While you start questioning which is part of his Islam. It’s always questioning, right? 

Maruf: Absolutely.

Halil: Islam teaches critical thinking. Islam is probably a religion that only religion in fact start with Accra read. So encourage his followers to read even though Muslims were barely reading anything but, you know across start with reading and that reading and questioning.

And the question is what’s going on and brought me inside a moment where I used to read a lot of books. So whatever comes I start reading and that reading eventually I could find my way to understand my environment better. 

And try to be a responsible human being pressing contribute whatever I can.

Maruf: You know, I really like you but your family even from the beginning you mentioned this hard work ethics and being grateful with what you have and sharing with the community.

Throughout the core lessons a human being, I just like to know that so like during those times like what happens around meet teen ages like 15, 16 of the 19. So as human beings will begin to ask questions like, purpose of life, Meaning of like, why are we here?

Was it going on with you as well? If so, how do you cope with that? 

Halil: Yeah. Well, you know, my older brother may Allah be pleased with him. He passed away. He was a diploma in Pakistan. 

He used to talk to me about invitation with touch candid and open stuff. So he has a group of friends. They were intending to open our organization Our Youth Organization and the Turkish nationalist organization. So they didn’t play one of the things they do.

You know, they all opened the organization. You start getting the books creating a library. So he was intending or they were intending to create a library since they didn’t have places to take.

So they brought all these books in our house. So because these books were in our house, I was fascinated. I will read this book and my mom and remember most of the time we didn’t have electricity and I have to get these specialized one room. 

I had to actually buy kendall always to read, you know, because we all sleep in one room, so, you know, they say, you know, turn off the light and you know.

Maruf: Disturbing us to sleep. 

Halil: I will buy these candles and read these books so hundreds of books that they brought in our house. So I read all these books whatever they were. And then I read. I falsely you know, I fell in love with the history books. 

Some of these books that I read. I still remember in a fascinating by once when you start reading and then reading becomes easy, then you start reading very heavy books and philosophy and so forth on. 

So I think that library, I don’t know. By the room that library built in my house also, you know encouraged me to read and eventually become who I am actually myself hooked up with. 

Maruf: These books open a portal to the different worlds of the other people, right? I guess it will take you to places the faster-than-light. I guess that’s amazing. Okay sounds good. 

So I think you said, you mentioned that you later came to Zurich and somehow today you live in Chicago U.S. So what happened in between? I would like to get your story on that as well. How do you end up in the US? And when did you come to the US? And what terms and how it was?

Halil: You know, I lived in North Zurich in Basel. So we end up in Basel and that’s about Basel, you know, I study at the Basel University. So as you know, there are a lot of Turks, Turkish Community District. 

So at that time, we didn’t have a lot of intellectuals. We didn’t have a lot of people that you know, even speak German well. So, we’re very limited and mostly, you know, these uncles were coming from villages and towns to Europe, you know looking for jobs of better life. 

And the imitation of the German government. And so we try to mobilize you know our community by opening the Turkish culture centers by opening, you know Islamic centers so that we don’t lose our youth. 

We keep them in station and teach them the language association & goodness of our culture and I activists and also at same time looking for social justice for students. You have enough time. 

So enough time brings you with, you know in contact with a lot of people who are thinking like you. So I get to know a lot of students around the world from Latin America to Africa and you know from the Middle East.

I get to know a lot of people later on become very famous in the world, you know the become the leader of the Liberation movement and so forth on some of the presidents in Europe and the student environment. 

So when you know when we were doing all these works, obviously, you know mobilize that we were able to mobilize our community. There were no communities in Europe. Probably either I didn’t visit.

I was invited to speak or I didn’t you know, I have a class of you know, I try to keep just make sure I spend my time developing our community and I think you know most of the our communities appreciate, you know, young people that in Europe tending their time building future for them and for their children. 

So many communities you visit today, you know all the way from bremerhaven Germany to Swiss border. Probably I visited most of the communities and helped them, you know, to at least have a bleak and schools. 

For example, one. When we were active we were making sure and each Center had a library, a small prayer hall. So they could you know keep. But each center also has a weekend school and to keep your own teaching them the values that we live by. 

I think, you know, the contribution of our generation to the Turkish community in Europe. Most people probably don’t know but do appreciate what we did for the community.

Maruf: Yeah, you’re right. 

Halil: Well, that was life in Europe. 

Maruf: Even today in Denmark. I see the smooth muscle. I mean, I just want to ask you so how old were you? What age were you? I’d like to know. 

Halil: So, I was 22, probably.

Maruf: the same. Doing this age most of the guys they just worried about themselves. I don’t know, doing what they like doing and getting married. I don’t know whatever but you are thinking about the community. 

So I just want to understand why? What makes you, take you less time to understand and share with the listeners tell me. What is the secret behind it? 

Halil: Well, very simple. Actually, we intend to change our communities and societies over better. So to address we came as I say that beginning young idealists, so we would young idealists try to bring and how can we make the community better keep them underneath.

Our dream was the Turkish community will go back home. I see calculated have we not been calculated and I owe that Turkish Community those listeners will understand, you know in 80s and so the work that we were doing always hoping that Turkey will you know will go back home when they’re going back home. 

That’s why the German used to call us, you know, Germans used to call us the gastarbeiter. So the gas workers live. So guess they were one day I was at the sociology institute in Switzerland. 

So, the development minister of Germany was our guest speaker and then he repeatedly says your guests gastarbeiter justice in sir. I eventually stand up and say, you know, mr. Minister. I had a question, a big guest in your house. 

How many days actually I am allowed to be cast like one week, two weeks one month two months one year. These people have been here like 10, 20, 30 years of them. So we started to come in 1955 and the old way, today. 

And we are now 1983 years some of their assembly and you are considering some gasps. I mean, it does make sense because we were you know thinking also.

We are gastarbeiter turning back to Turkey, you know, the turkey will develop and so forth all we did not think developing, you know, our community and preparing to become a part of Europe actually part of Europe education. 

And so even though we all wear students at the universities that’s why you know, they needed us whenever they needed, you know a translator there whenever they need to go to doctor. 

Whenever there is an issue you need that transmitter. So half of my day will go just translating 40 took the paper. And so even though I go to people free with the Yo-Yo Ma bu I’m glad you are here. So yeah, that was the one, you know, we were very active to build our community. 

So this is the us as we didn’t see ourselves that young lost, you know aimless people we don’t have time.

Maruf: Because you were busy serving the community.

Halil: Yeah, we better wait or very idea of this so weak. My weekends are very busy. Many times they catch me sleeping. Because I left Friday afternoon to visit the cities mobilizing, working, Kung-Fu school, you know the sports centers. 

And so come back Monday morning and go to school and what did you are tired, you drive all night. So we were very ideal people to make a better world, a better place. So, we didn’t have time.

Maruf: That’s an amazing lesson for all of us, I guess so you have to get your okay. So in surrogates your 20s you finish your school. I mean education. So you stayed in Zurich or you moved to another country what happened there? 

Halil: No. I was in Basel. I thought about in Basel actually I talked for adult’s classes Ibn Khaldun Sociology. I told you so You know, he’s the founder of Sociology, was the creator of it. 

He’s a brilliant mind the world knows about him.  Muslim world knows about him very little. Thanks to Western philosophers. We learn about him. He’s book Muqaddimah. I mean, he’s the founder of sociology. 

So I taught his classes. I mean classes of even how to circle. You know, my wife, she told me that you know, let’s go to the United States and your English will be better. And then we stay and you will finish your masters, since you are enterny to complete your PHA in that way, you know, your time will not be wasted. 

And also you will learn how the United States opportunities because United was, you know has been a super power for a very long time and to learn about the cultures and also very very interesting play press for the sociologist. 

So you have the history of these my minorities that came here and built an empire. So the only country in the world where the Immigrant built a superpower, right? Yeah, only country. We all are immigrants actually nothing behind each other except being in this country.

And you know, living in the same land and this is fascinating for a sociologist. So I thought you know, probably planning some time. So that’s why I follow my wife, I came here. 

Maruf: Okay. When was it? 2000 or 1990s?

Halil: I was almost talking about 1997.

Maruf: I see. Okay, so haven’t directly gone to Chicago and start working this you to continue your studies? I guess. 

Halil: Right. So I started studying at University. I complete my method we are have the like on complete my master that’s before the PhD I start then actually while we were intending to turn back and then September 11th happened and the Muslim Community here was you know, what? 

Under very pressure, a lot of pressure and I talked to myself, you know, I have a lot of experience with the Interfaith to mobilizing community. So I better stay here a little longer. It’s about community to go through that.

Maruf: So you were saying to you plan to go back to Turkey or Besel? 

Halil: No.

Maruf: Okay. So this is what happened and that’s why the so there’s a cut foundation was founded 2001. I see. So tell us this looked a lot of there are I mean, you know what we see is that trend as there are the ladder more and more Muslim young generation. 

They want to be entrepreneurs. Do you want to see something meaningful with your life? And I think one of these interviews will be, like also inspiration. I just want to understand building a company is already hard enough building a charity. 

It’s on the first level, you know, the headaches better than anyone I guess and I just wanted to understand how to start a charity? Where do you start?

Halil: You know in charity or gour businesses is the same view part of it that essential that you have to have. One is your determination. Do your hard work and your energy and three your pure intention. Yeah, so these three really are necessary for any success. 

So there is no other way if you want to build Google, that’s what the people go and read any business people. Read the Chobani yogurt is the most famous. Read Hamdi’s life story. You can find out that two years literally he slept in the company that he tried to build.

So eventually affected his life, you know, you get divorce and so forth. So why because it will need a lot of work. So there is no other building charity is the same things like, you know, the our community he will live in a one of the largest Muslim Community United States. 

And Chicago is very active the Muslim Community. We have around 400 thousand Muslims. We have one hundred sixty or more centers and so very Dynamic. We have a lot of schools and communities witnesses.

How you know, how we work hard. I mean, you know every single day and ongoing sometime 10-15 hours. You’re right, wherever we needed we show up, wherever we have to participate we show up and the community realized that recognized your strength.

And that is where the organization grew 50 everything. We are looking, we believe and also I think Park Christian brothers and sisters and you should rather processes will verify the same things. 

You do believe that, you know, the merciful hand of the God almighty and of help you to build so your intention is good. What did I do? I’m a founder. I go to Mosque. I tell people about the program that we do that is my effort. 

But then somebody that I never heard of it and he never heard of that. He talked to listen to Raju drive you to another side of the world. He lives there. And he said wow, this is a great job. 

And then he decided to pick one of our projects and support that project and that is mercy of God. I didn’t put any effort in that is, you know, a reward of the father had a good action your good behavior during brought that barricade that blessings that the person heard about it and come. 

And that blessing is very important also how that comes with your good intention with your Ekhlass. You during tension that you do indeed even businesses when you do businesses. Ekhlass in businesses that you know. 

You promised yourself, you will never cheat you promised yourself, you will never like you promised yourself. You will never sell any ROM product that you don’t. Even though as you know, the United States we deal with this every single day. 

So you have this business, there is no moral attic values literally based on the corruption from A to Z. So That plays very serious roles in your intentions, very important. 

Maruf: Absolutely, intention is like, no doubt the hard work. You said I agree So when you say determination as it has what I want like to deep dive livable because you see, you mentioned the business and charity the building a legacy a complicated goes beyond all those years is not easy. 

It requires a lot of hard work. The question is what keeps you going? What’s the motivation? What is the look when you wake up in the morning? What makes you go forward to wake up in the morning, go to jobs? That’s the question for many listeners.

And you want to start something great. It makes it really really hard to in the beings everything seems hard, right we have to start. So what keeps you going? 

Halil: You know, the important thing, I think is that you look for the purpose of life. Why are you here? Why are you in this world? What is  your place in this universe? Look at them. Look at the Moon. Look at the Milky Way. Look at the billions of the stars that go on right the black holes. 

And so what is your role in these oceans of the creations? So when you take your role and what you intend to live, what you intend to spend your time with time is life. So, how are you intending to spend your life? 

So you make for example, you make sure that I have a habit every morning after the project. I will read all start to the end, you know my wife and my family knows so I have one hour to read every day. 

So after such a special right always well, you know, I read obviously, the things that are relevant and important. Okay we but I read almost all kinds of books. I have, you know Harvard Business. I have to read articles about the virtual world. 

So, you know, we have moved everything progress, right? So I do read this but also I read the Quran. And determination means you will make time to achieve that so you don’t want to give that get you put it up and that’s what when I talk about the determination.

That determination required you intending to build a business. So you cannot build a business without some great business school producing books. So from Harvard Business School or any other school that were written very good business. 

Books that will guide you help you to understand to get experience of others. I just mentioned you don’t have this life. Obviously, you can ask me. I can tell you a bunch of other people’s life, that I study to learn about it. 

Well, I’m not doing this business money doesn’t attract me. I’m not because my life is so simple. If I have 1 billion, I’ll eat the same food. I dressed the same way. I drove the same car or if I have only a salary the said why because that is not my motivation.

And for you know, whatever you are intending to do, tou have to make sure that you learn remember at the beginning was we said they you know, if you are Muslim, obviously you supposed to read.

Because book orders you know, God will make you orders you to read and said across I read and have to read whatever you are dealing with and I think motivation comes from there. 

You want to play a role in this universe that you want to be a positive you want to be able to be a role model for you. So each time I speak in a community my girls come and say, you know all baba that was the best speech ever. 

So I know that I did my job. So all other people, you know, they don’t know me. They don’t know my private life. They don’t know how you know what I do in-house but my kids do. So if I inspire my own children then I’ll know that I did something good or I’m able to really bring some changes in life.

Because these are my own kids. They are my future. This is my floor. I am a human being and they are part of that and that is very important. So, you know, that’s very important your life consistency in your life and principled life is very important to see your role in this universe. 

Maruf: I see. I mean amazing. Absolutely. So it makes a lot of sense. So this is where, this is with a specialist is a Zakat foundation started from. As of today you guys are closing in 19 years almost 20 years, isn’t it? 

It’s been a long ride. they’re long right? It’s been a long ride. I mean recently. I also discovered that you publish the book. I think it’s called. Why don’t you tell you I’ll tell us a little bit more but I think I just need knowledge about charities something like that. Just tell us a bit more about it.

Halil: Yeah, Maruf. I’m hoping I didn’t confuse the reader starting with the humanitarian. In work and stuff Global fee, right? 

Maruf: No. It’s human rights because of philosophy, right? Have you lived a little active because you want to know why you do things right? We want to understand why you do what you do and that’s always comes back to you know, the purpose of life. That’s okay. That’s perfect. 

Halil: Not this book the Muslim in United States, as you know, these phobia. I call them Islam phobia cartel because of the cartel that make money. Okay, it’s like yeah, I like mafias and so needy people make money out of the misery of Muslims. 

They sell trash for cash, right and especially Muslim charitable sector so they talked so much about and especially in the United States. So I talked at 11, September. They were you know, almost 31 from charitable organizations were shut down. 

Their money was confiscated and their own government. They are we are sorry we make a mistake by the time, you say, you are sorry, you make mistakes. Well, this wasn’t a human destroyed all the money gone. 

Millions of people who were giving support and getting Aid these orphans and poor people than all their services are stopped and go.

So I taught myself for American people to learn what the Muslim organization do I said, okay. 

I don’t want other people and my story. I would like to tell our story by ourselves. So people are usually enemies. Of Kings, they don’t know. So always we talk as you know, like in our culture to just bring your attention.

We talked about it so much about Jin, right? That sometimes I tell my kids, you know, well, I’ve been living in this world 50 years. No Jin ever bothered me, but I know a lot of human beings make a lot of crap in this world.

But a story of the unknown is always creating a demon very easily, when people don’t know you. So I thought this book will remove that you know that curtain on the Muslims. I tell the American people the Muslim charitable organization. 

Only International humanitarian Aid around 450 million dollars that small Muslim Community United States give this money. Okay. We are three to five million some Muslim love to exaggerate numbers as 8 million. 

But you know approximately doesn’t matter between 8 and 5 million and very small community in 350 million people right to the very small community, but it’s more Community gives 450 close to four hundred fifty million dollars for eight and not open but our most son our schools and I were.

Maruf: Nust talking about charities,right? 

Halil: Most of the American people when I say that, you know to the people in the church sense. It’s not going on so or universities people get. And that number is that high from a dismal community.

But that’s the reality. So our community is very generous, not to everybody. Well, he is not everybody, you know, like Humdi running Chobani yogurt, right? And I’m not counting even the contribution of the companies like from by Muslims. 

I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about regular people by percent all ordinary people like you and I settle in people write a small business. That’s all right. So I would like to talk. I would tell that story to American people and American people we represent American values every single day in the world. 

And our it goes doesn’t go only to Muslims because everyone that’s needy and poor and whenever they are sure we don’t ask people’s religion. We don’t ask people to read. We don’t have from Africa to Asia from the United States to Latin America. 

All services go to everyone and that is where the book is very relevant and important since they are the myth a lot of stories about to put in charity. So these nine meetings and stirring 9 through the nine stories to American people what we read and what reality is about 2,000 charities. 

Maruf: I see. I mean, of course. I expected the whole book. So people get, you know, what you want to learn more and we of course monsieur in the book notes. They really can get more. What would you say that’s one of the most vary top myths about Muslim Charities? You would say. 

Oh, maybe I can ask a question like,you know, as a part of business we get a lot of questions that will be. Go ahead.

Halil: Do I have like one minute extra? 

Maruf: Absolutely. 

Halil: I would like to read one page from the book to tell absurdity of the situation to use the services right. We have to transfer money to countries. So when we deal with banking, you know, I wrote a story here is a true story. 

And that is how Banks actually treat them with Muslim charitable organizations. So themselves know we struggle hard to bring these services to Muslims. So, the story goes on my brother, it said. 

It is early Friday morning, September 22nd 2006. I got a phone call from our bank saying I must come immediately. The bank has said he cannot execute a greaser wire transfer. I have sent to help Afghan refugees in Pakistan. I’m hoping to clear this up quickly. 

Local suppliers need to get paid before our people can escape and provisions among the desperate population because it is Friday and I need to go to prayer 1 p.m. I’m at the bank by 9:15 a.m. A bank officer who knows me. 

At the bank officer who knows me, usher’s me into her office and sitted me down I asked her about the transfer problem. Well, the system is our bank may transfer cannot make the transfers because Pakistan is not a country. 

I am momentarily stunned into silence. Is she giving me an early morning grouping to lighten things up. First take this shows no trace even of a spy Miss. I said, well you see Pakistan really a country. No, Pakistan is not a country. 

We can only send wire transfer to recognize countries the mirror. I’m dumbstruck. Is there anything happening today with Pakistan? Did it run on its National nationhood change its name? Was the entire country’s rapture disappeared like a evangelical were right after all this is just vanish? 

Is this one of the dreams? Dreams were next thing, you know, I look down and I’m still in my pajamas or what, you know, ma’am really Pakistan, you know, is a country. It is right over there. By those others 10 countries like Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan. 

Right above India on the map next to run a little bit of China when it doesn’t want to touch expand really that is a little strip. I’m sorry, mr. Them in Pakistan is not a country. We can send money to places that do not have proper National channels. You understand, right? 

No, ma’am. Honestly, we actually have done so much good relief work in Pakistan. It is a country. No, it does not appear on our list of countries. The one we recognize we can only transfer to recognize can this, right? 

No, ma’am. Really Pakistan is part of the United Nations. It is actually a big country with a lot of people. I swear this is the truth. She had the television and television coin high up on the wall and who comes on it here works are President George W. Bush. 

On screen in press conference and who’s right up next to him Pervez Musharraf, then president of Pakistan. Does he know his country has gone missing? It’s a miracle as sign problem is solved there. You see that the man on the left next to President Bush is President of Pakistan, the country.

I’m very sorry. Mrs. Then if I know what you’re trying to say, but I don’t make this list. Okay just Pakistan isn’t a recognized country. So we cannot send you a wire. I’m very  sorry, really. No way. You see the green flag next to the American flag has a light of a crescent moon on it. 

That’s Pakistan flag the country flag. They took presidents who are making the country, but she’s bushes talking.She makes the call of all I see and she hangs up my last saw him system.   And she laughs. Pakistan is a country. That’s the name.

That wire is fine. It is Palestine and the problem and I’m looking I didn’t know what to say. I say well it is going to be a long day. 

Maruf: Well, that’s a very interesting story. So this is something you guys have to live with don’t you? Everyday I guess. 

Halil: Read a story and then actually the longer. Obviously, we explain our relation with the bank and how bank treats for Muslim charitable organization what we have got through and so on. 

Yeah, right, but this is the book that tells American Muslims story and we hope that the world will recognize oftentimes, also the Muslims in the world wouldn’t know that American Muslims are contributing that much and giving that much for bringing the change to our communities around the world all responsibilities.

We try to make sure that we are there for our communities and personal world. So we make work better praise every single day.

Maruf: Absolutely. So even though it is a catfish of USA America it is like anyone. I just want to make sure anyone can help them help you like came from Denmark or Europe or any parts of the world can donate and help you guys move forward, right? So I said only for The US Muslim. So, it’s often for everybody. That’s good. 

Halil: 90% of our donors are American Muslims or 95% and we have a small percentage of Muslims around the world. It’s very easy to support our programs and also very easy to visit our programs, our projects. You are welcome to be part of it. 

You don’t need to donate to use our services. We provide for example comprehensive Zakat related questions about websites at the free services. We published a book, the handbook for the Muslims in the west just making sure the Muslims give their Zakat.

And you don’t need to give to the Zakat Foundation. But please give your Zakat and have some make sure that you know, you contribute to make this world a better place. All websites are the cutout work very easy to remember the Zakat dot org. And you can make a contribution or you can gather more information about us. 

Maruf: So as a last question, I would say something I would like to see what would you like to I mean I’ve been so far what you have done, your team has done an amazing job and may Allah make except this. I have this as everlong long-standing legacy for you and your team for many many years to come out. 

And may Allah be a lot, you know increasingly or grown faster. I just like to know what would you like to see the guide our nation and in 5 to 10 years? What would you like to see? What’s upcoming fourth from Zakat Foundation? If you can share of course.

Halil: Yeah, of course. Our hope and prays that whatever we did we would be accepted by Lord of Heaven and Earth that we pray that he will accept our deeds and beautify off and we hope that our deeds will bring good news to the world.

The future of the Zakat on the these, we are hoping the second foundation will become one of the leading American Muslim organization. We are hoping that the American people that are 350 million people every year American people donate a hundred times 450 or 500 billion dollar to the charitable organization. 

Different forms we are hoping that the Zakat Foundation becomes for American people one of the most trusted organizations that they can trust us. You know, they can send their aid through us because we believe our organization does stand for the average American that intensity the world a better place. 

It’s an organization that does exactly the values of American people because I walked in the streets of America every single day. Yesterday, I was in a meeting as supposed to have this conference. Today we have a thousand leaders. 

I was among these thousand leaders from the churches from the synagogue’s even our governor of Illinois. Mr. Prescott was there in that meeting and these thousand people were there. We were talking about the rights workers strike. 

We were talking about poverty. We were talking about, you know, affordable housing in Chicago were talking about homelessness in cargo and the noise so we are hoping that You know America would feed the Zakat Foundation one of the organizations that play a role here in Chicago in the United States and around the world.

When they donate to us, when they support, when they visit our projects they see before they see us the Muslim they see as a human being as a humanitarian and the work we do and support all to make this world better place and I’m hoping and I’m thinking each other’s the catfish will reach that level.

Maruf: We haven’t really mentioned those things, but I think for listeners, I really encourage you to go and check it out as Zakat org. And when you scroll down, I know this for a fact is check out what because but he’s being very humble check out what he stands for check out the other like third-party credit ratings. 

They are one of the top-rated charities all of this year. So even though he’s speaking his admission that but I know for sure for a fact that you should go. I think you’re already on your way. It is already one of the most trusted charities. may Allah accept and you’re right. 

I think this is the best form of dawah, right? We go and help people. People begin to care why they are helping us and they try to find out Islam and hopefully it will be the it will heavily, you know will be heavy on your skills.

And the day of its coming for sure. So I am grateful for sharing your life lessons. I’m grateful for watching your, you know, valuable lessons with us. So hopefully we will learn from this and you know we will get into good competition in most of our younger generation. We’ll call when Kate Marsh it is crippled companies to help more people in need around the world.

Halil: Maruf, maybe I add something please, our headquarters in Chicago, but our offices all around the US. Most states we have our so European Muslims when you are visiting  the United States, please be our guest.

Sp we have always strong Turkish coffee obviously, but also you can witness our work in inner-city, Chicago. And the United States the role that we play at handling our community. So please be our guest, you are welcome to come. 

Maruf: Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Assalamuwalaikum!

Halil: Walaikumassalam!

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Episode 14
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