Alexandria, Va. – On average, Muslim-Americans contribute more of their wealth/income toward charitable causes than the general population, making them one of the largest and most generous religious groups in the United States, according to recent research.
The study by the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy was funded by Islamic Relief USA, a nonprofit humanitarian and advocacy organization. The survey was conducted from March 17 through April 7 and surveyed a total of 2,005 people (1,003 Muslims, 1,002 non-Muslims).
The report, titled “Muslim American Giving 2021,” shows that despite making up just 1.1 percent of the U.S. population, Muslim-Americans’ contributions toward various noteworthy causes and campaigns comprise 1.4 percent of all donations, totaling $4.3 billion. Muslim Americans gave more money on average ($3,241) compared to the general population ($1,905).
“We have always known that American-Muslims are exceedingly generous and philanthropic. Charity is a central pillar in the Islamic faith and deeply entrenched into our way of life,” said Sharif Aly, chief executive officer of Islamic Relief USA. “The recent study from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy only confirms our experience with a dedicated community of generous donors and further highlights the significant contributions that Muslims have made towards bettering society, both at home and abroad.”
“Muslim Americans are stepping up to play an important role in making our world and nation better despite facing prejudice, greater scrutiny and having fewer resources. Yet there is a lack of data-driven research about Muslim giving in the U.S. Given the centrality of giving in Muslim communities and the vital role religious giving plays in philanthropy more broadly, it is important to better understand how and why American Muslims give,” said Shariq Siddiqui, assistant professor of philanthropic studies and director of the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
The study found that much of the donations from Muslim-Americans are for domestic causes. Only 15 percent of their contributions go toward international campaigns, while 85 percent go toward American charitable causes. Muslims in America contribute 27.45 percent of their faith-based giving funds to houses of worship.
In addition to donations, Muslim-Americans volunteer at a much higher rate than non-Muslims, with 66.61 hours devoted toward faith-based campaigns and 45.93 hours for non-faith-based campaigns. Among the general population in the survey, 11.8 hours went toward faith-based campaigns and 13.72 hours toward non-faith volunteering.
Among the reasons American-Muslims contribute and volunteer so frequently, according to the study, is because of a high sense of compassion. Among the least popular reasons for giving, the survey found, was to receive a tax credit or recognition.
Numerous scholars and the Holy Quran mention the importance of looking out and aiding vulnerable populations, such as orphans, widows, neighbors in distress, among others.
Syed M. Hassan
(571) 421-7032 (CELL)
Islamic Relief USA, based in Alexandria, Va., is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization. Its mission is to provide relief and development in a dignified manner regardless of gender, race, or religion, and works to empower individuals in their communities and give them a voice in the world. Its programs benefit millions of people each year in more than 40 countries around the world, including in the United States.
Islamic Relief USA meets all of the Standards for Charity Accountability of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a national charity monitoring group affiliated with the Better Business Bureau system. Islamic Relief USA is on the U.S. government’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) charity list, and it is also a signatory to the code of conduct of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The Muslim Philanthropy Initiative at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI focuses on understanding and helping further enhance contemporary and traditional aspects of Muslim philanthropy in all its facets. A project of the Dean and Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, it convenes scholars and philanthropy professionals to explore issues and research in the field, hosts symposiums and seminars, and provides education and training. By seeking to further research in this under-studied area, helping to develop thought leadership and inform conversations, and training philanthropic and nonprofit leaders within Muslim philanthropy, the initiative helps build capacity in the Muslim philanthropy sector while adding to the body of knowledge about the rich tradition and practice of philanthropy in Islam.