American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2016):

Revenue: $364,575
Expenses: $754,315
Assets: $288,783




Left-Wing Issue Advocacy Group


Samer E. Khalaf

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is an organization that works to advance the interests of Arab-Americans. The organization was co-founded by former U.S. Senator James Abourek (D-SD) and left-wing activist James Zogby, who currently heads the Sanders Institute, a think tank created in the wake of the presidential campaign of self-described socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Despite its claims to be a civil rights organization interested in peace, it has been accused of supporting terrorism. It has also given awards to well-known anti-Semites.

As of January 2019, the ADC and other organizations (including its 501(c)(3) affiliate ADC Research Institute) were involved in a lawsuit against the U.S. government related to a proposed citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. census.


Hate Crime Monitoring

As of 2018, the ADC has partnered with the FBI and left-of-center groups, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Human Rights Campaign, the NAACP, and the National Organization for Women, to monitor hate crimes.1

Voter Registration

In 2012, the ADC announced that it formed a partnership with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a controversial anti-Israel group. The two organizations worked together on voter outreach and voter registration in key states such as Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.2

2020 Census Citizenship Question

In January 2019, a federal judge ruled that the Trump administration could not ask a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. census. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman found that a set of “NGO plaintiffs,” which included the ADC, its sister organization ADC Research Institute, New York Immigration Coalition, CASA de Maryland, and Make The Road New York, had legal standing to challenge the adoption of the question.3


Award for Helen Thomas

In 2010, the ADC gave former Hearst Newspapers White House correspondent Helen Thomas its Mehdi Courage in Journalism award. Thomas resigned after she told a rabbi Jews need to “get the hell out of Palestine” and go to “Poland, Germany . . . and America, and anywhere else.”4

At the time, the award brought condemnation from Jewish groups. Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League said: 5

“It is very sad. Certainly she doesn’t deserve courage in journalism, she may deserve courage in bigotry, and what is even sadder is that it is named after an anti-Semite and a bigot, Mohammad Mehdi. It is ironically sad that one bigot receives an award in memory of another bigot.”

The award is named for Mohammad T. Mehdi, an anti-Israeli activist who wrote a book defending the actions of the assassin of Senator Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.), Sirhan Sirhan, and who made numerous anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic comments throughout his career.6

Alleged Alignment with Assad Regime

In 2011, the ADC banned Syrian-American composer and pianist Malek Jandali from performing at their convention over a song choice. Jandali wanted to perform a song called “Watana Ana: I am my Homeland”; the song features themes of freedom and liberty, but did not specifically mention the Arab Spring or the Syrian Civil War. Jandali was asked by the group to change his song choice, but he refused; Jandali told Politico that ADC official Nabil Mohamad did not give an explanation for why the group rejected the song.7

Amid the controversy, Politico reported that ADC chair Safa Rifka appeared to align with the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad: Syrian ambassador to the U.S. Imad Moustapha had written that Rifka was one of his three “best friends” in Washington, D.C.8

Sexual Harassment Allegations

In 2013, all women working for the ADC national office resigned over the handling of sexual harassment complaints by the organization. The ADC fired its then communications director, Raed Jarrar, who was critical of how the group dealt with sexual harassment allegations against its then-Michigan director Imad Hamad.9

Jarrar claimed he was fired in retaliation for his criticism; he and four female employees had written letters criticizing ADC leadership. Chair Safa Rifka allegedly called upon then-president Warren David to fire the employees, but David refused.10 Eventually, David was removed from his post.


Samer E. Khalaf is the president of the organization.11 He is an attorney who also serves on New Jersey’s Advisory Committee on Police Standards.12

Nabil Mohamad serves as the group’s vice president.13 Mohamad has worked for ADC since 1998 and worked for a Palestinian-American advocacy group before joining ADC.14

Abed A. Ayoub serves as the national legal & policy director. 15

Safa Rifka serves as board chair.16 He is a gynecologist in the Washington, D.C. area.17


According to the 2015 tax filing, the ADC raised $492,830 and made $146,261 from program revenue. It raised a total of $703,287. It spent $901,209. 18 Its largest expense in 2015 was $361,002 on regional and local activities to promote its mission. Its second largest expense was $235,108 on its annual convention. 19

Samer Khalaf earned $72,250 and Nabil Mohamad earned $47,501 from the group in 2015. 20

The ADC has received funding from the Agape Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, and the Public Welfare Foundation. Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal provided funding for ADC’s headquarters building.21


  1. Nal, Renee. 2018. “Weaponizing “Hate”: Understanding Criminal Motives”. Capitalresearch.Org. .
  2. “American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Partners With CAIR In Voter Registration Project”. 2012. The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch.
  3. Wang, Hansi Lo. “Judge Orders Trump Administration To Remove 2020 Census Citizenship Question.” NPR. January 15, 2019. Accessed January 18, 2019.
  4. Kennedy, Dan. “Helen Thomas: Good Riddance to a Garden-variety Antisemite | Dan Kennedy.” The Guardian. June 08, 2010. Accessed January 18, 2019.
  5. May, Caroline. 2010. “Jews Speak Out Against American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Decision To Honor Helen Thomas”. Daily Caller.
  6. Pace, Eric. “M. T. Mehdi, 70, Arab-American Leader.” The New York Times. February 25, 1998. Accessed January 18, 2019.
  7. Smith, Ben. “Arab-American Group Blocks Musician over ‘freedom’ Song.” POLITICO. June 08, 2011. Accessed January 18, 2019.
  8. Smith, Ben. “Arab-American Group Blocks Musician over ‘freedom’ Song.” POLITICO. June 08, 2011. Accessed January 18, 2019.
  9. Warikoo, Niraj. 2013. “Female Staff Quit Arab Rights Group In Protest”. Usatoday.Com.
  10. Warikoo, Niraj. 2013. “Female Staff Quit Arab Rights Group In Protest”. Usatoday.Com.
  11. “ADC | Directors And Staff”. 2019. Adc.Org. Accessed January 18.
  12. “Advisory Committee On Police Standards | Samer E. Khalaf”. 2019. State.Nj.Us. Accessed January 18.
  13. “ADC | Directors And Staff”. 2019. Adc.Org. Accessed January 18.
  14. “Nabil Mohamad.” LinkedIn. Accessed January 18, 2019.
  15. “ADC | Directors And Staff”. 2019. Adc.Org. Accessed January 18.
  16. “ADC | Directors And Staff”. 2019. Adc.Org. Accessed January 18.
  17. Goldberg, Jeffrey. 2011. “American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Bans Pro-Freedom Singer”. The Atlantic.
  18. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (2015). Accessed January 21, 2019.
  19. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (2015). Accessed January 21, 2019.
  20. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (2015). Accessed January 21, 2019.
  21. “Discover The Networks | American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)”. 2019. Discoverthenetworks.Org. Accessed January 18.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. James Zogby
    Co-Founder and Former Executive Director
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: December 1, 1992

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Dec Form 990 $364,575 $754,315 $288,783 $420,739 N $204,181 $45,477 $5,036 $117,500
    2015 Dec Form 990 $703,287 $901,209 $462,475 $203,742 N $492,830 $146,261 $8,889 $119,751 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $586,169 $1,031,561 $555,541 $88,005 N $500,312 $108,048 $13,171 $135,344
    2013 Dec Form 990 $1,094,509 $1,125,048 $954,222 $51,701 N $758,953 $279,491 $9,130 $121,575 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $1,704,895 $1,060,762 $1,001,290 $53,534 N $876,394 $306,973 $0 $164,700 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $976,631 $1,087,730 $3,146,637 $2,843,014 N $763,036 $213,593 $2 $89,750 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)

    1705 DESALES ST NW STE 500
    WASHINGTON, DC 20036-4405