Non-profit

Arab American Association of New York (AAANY)

Website:

www.arabamericanny.org

Location:

BROOKLYN, NY

Tax ID:

11-3604756

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $1,596,855
Expenses: $1,437,840
Assets: $851,001

Formation:

2001

Type:

Immigration Group

Executive Director:

Marwa Janini

The Arab American Association of New York (AAANY) is a left-of-center nonprofit organization which focuses on immigration policy, criminal justice policy, and other issues impacting the Arab American community in New York City. The organization also provides social service programs for Arab American New Yorkers, including immigration services and adult-education programs. [1] [2]

AAANY has been affiliated with several controversial figures and organizations, most notably left-wing activist Linda Sarsour, who has been accused of anti-Semitism. Sarsour worked as executive director of AAANY for over 11 years between 2005 and 2017. During her time as executive director of AAANY, critics called for an end of all taxpayer funding to the group, given her controversial statements against Israel. [3] AAANY also lists the controversial Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), which has faced allegations of anti-Semitism and alignment with the Muslim Brotherhood, as its partner. [4] [5]

AAANY supports the left-wing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, which calls for a boycott of all companies doing business in the country and the imposition of economic sanctions to weaken the nation in the name of “social justice.” AAANY has been criticized for distorting facts about pro-Israel figures, including Martin Luther King, Jr., to suit its left-wing policy proposals. [6]

AANY has received funding from prominent left-of-center organizations, including the Proteus Fund, the Brooklyn Community Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations (OSF). [7] [8] [9]

History

The Arab American Association of New York was founded in 2001 after its founders claimed to have witnessed “acts of blatant discrimination” against Arab Americans in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The organization officially opened in December 2001 to provide services to Arab Americans in New York City, with the goal of promoting an understanding of Arab culture, immigration issues, and discrimination. [10]

Activity

Since its founding, the Arab American Association of New York has become involved in political advocacy. While it focuses its efforts on immigration and criminal justice policy, it has also taken positions on electoral and foreign policy issues. Aside from its political advocacy work, AAANY also provides social services to the Arab American community in Brooklyn, New York.

Criminal Justice

Following reports that the New York Police Department (NYPD) was surveilling Muslims in the Northeast in an attempt to prevent Islamist terrorism in 2011, AAANY claimed that it had been the subject of such investigations, claiming that confidential informants attempted to “infiltrate the board of directors.” [11]

AAANY has since been involved in promoting left-of-center criminal justice policy. In 2013, AAANY claimed that it played a “critical role” in passing the Community Safety Act, a bill which required the New York Inspector General to oversee the NYPD and placed a ban on alleged racial profiling. [12] In 2015, then-AAANY executive director Linda Sarsour participated in and was arrested at an anti-police protest. [13] The following year, AAANY supported a protest to close the Rikers Island detention facility in New York. [14]

In June 2020, following the death of George Floyd, AAANY signed onto a statement with other left-of-center organizations supporting protestors across the country and making a list of demands for new criminal justice policies in the city. AAANY called for changes to police training and surveillance practices, but also endorsed a host of far-left policies ostensibly unrelated to criminal justice policy, including providing more government contracts to businesses led by minority groups, funding “worker-owned cooperatives,” expanding government job programs, and limiting tax benefits for developers in low-income areas. [15]

AAANY is affiliated with other left-of-center criminal justice organizations, including the Muslim American Civil Liberties Center (MACLC) and Communities United for Police Reform. [16]

Immigration Advocacy

AAANY supports left-of-center immigration policy, including a pathway to legal citizenship for all illegal immigrants currently living in the United States. AAANY has claimed that current immigration policies “use racial and religious profiling as a tactic” and has called for an end to most deportations. [17]

The organization is a member of New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform, since renamed Our City, Our Vote. [18] Our City, Our Vote is a left-of-center coalition of organizations led by the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) and United Neighborhood Houses that advocates for anyone with work authorization in the United States to be able to vote in local elections, regardless of citizenship status. [19]

In line with its immigration advocacy, AAANY offers caseworker and legal services to immigrants. AAANY also provides healthcare plans for illegal immigrants, assists immigrants in accessing government entitlement programs, and offers immigration application assistance. [20]

Electoral Work

In August 2021, an AAANY organizer testified before the New York Independent Redistricting Commission, claiming that alleged gerrymandering in Brooklyn resulted in the Arab American community “being unable to elect candidates who share their experience and who will prioritize their needs.” [21]

Social Services

Aside from its political advocacy work, AAANY organizes social service programs for Arab Americans living in New York City. The organization offers adult education courses in English and courses designed to prepare immigrants for the United States Citizenship Exam. [22]

AAANY also hosts youth programs for young Arab Americans living in New York City. The organization leads college preparatory courses and women’s leadership programs, in addition to its flagship Brooklyn Arab Youth (BAY) program. The BAY program is a community organizing program led by AAANY staff members which trains high school students to become left-of-center activists on issues including the environment, racial justice, and gender issues. [23]

AAANY also offers free mental health services in partnership with local hospitals. The program is funded by ThriveNYC and the controversial philanthropic organization Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA). [24]

Controversies

Linda Sarsour and IRUSA Connections

From 2005 until 2017, controversial left-wing activist Linda Sarsour worked as executive director of the Arab American Association of New York; in 2017 and afterward, she achieved national recognition through the far-left Women’s March. When she departed AAANY, Sarsour claimed that she was stepping down because she felt “compelled to focus [her] energy on the national level and building the capacity of the progressive movement,” while claiming credit for AAANY’s growth in her resignation letter. [25]

Sarsour is one of the most controversial activists in the United States. She is an outspoken anti-Israel advocate who has been accused of anti-Semitism by the left-of-center Anti-Defamation League (ADL), making several controversial statements during her time as AAANY director. [26] While leading the Women’s March, Sarsour banned any women who opposed abortion from participating and argued that no one who supports Israel can be a feminist. [27] [28] Sarsour has suggested that support of Israel is racist, claimed that “nothing is creepier than Zionism,” and proclaimed herself a “staunch supporter” of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. [29] [30] Sarsour has also associated with Louis Farrakhan, leader of the radical Nation of Islam (NOI), and refused to condemn his extreme anti-Semitism. [31]

During her time as AAANY director, Sarsour made several statements expressing support for Sharia Law and authoritarian Islam. In 2011, she tweeted that “shariah (sic) law is reasonable and once u read into the details it makes a lot of sense.” [32] Sarsour has also tweeted that Sharia Law “sounds nice” and praised the Saudi Arabian regime for its maternity leave policies, despite its not allowing women to drive, claiming that the country “puts us to shame.” [33] [34] Sarsour also refused to condemn the increased murders of young women in so-called “honor killings” in Palestinian territories in 2015. [35]

Critics called on all government agencies, especially the city of New York, to deny funding to AAANY while Sarsour was director following her comments that America was built on “genocide & slavery” and equating the practices to Judeo-Christian values. Following a confrontation with a New York City Council member in 2015, Sarsour claimed the “Zionist trolls are out to play,” prompting further calls for the city to end its support of AAANY. [36]

Aside from its connection to Sarsour, AAANY has further ties to organizations which have been charged with anti-Semitism. AAANY lists its only partner as Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), a controversial charitable organization that has faced allegations of anti-Semitism, fraudulent financial management, and alignment with the Muslim Brotherhood. [37] [38]

Former IRUSA east coast operations manager Yousef Abdallah published a Facebook story in 2014 praising “martyrs” who set off to “kill more than 20 Jews” in Gaza and called on God to take “revenge on the damned rapists Zionists.” [39] [40]

Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement

AAANY has affiliated with BDS supporters and hosted anti-Israel events. [41] In May 2021, an AAANY staff member signed onto a “statement of solidarity” published by members of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, using her AAANY title. The statement pledged support for BDS, and members committed themselves to “stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine resisting the violence and oppression of Israeli settler colonial and apartheid rule.” The statement also asserted that the situation in Israel is not complex, claiming that “Israel has used violent force, punitive bureaucracy, and its legal system….to remove Palestinian people from their land” since its founding. [42]

AAANY itself has organized anti-Israel events. In 2018, AAANY joined with other left-of-center organizations to protest an alleged “70 years of colonialism” by Israel at a march in front of New York City following the movement of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Other event sponsors included radical anti-Israel organizations, such as the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), Labor for Palestine, and Within Our Lifetime. [43]

In 2019, AAANY organized a similar demonstration on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, hosting the “MLK Jr. March Against Racism: Solidarity, Not Borders.” The event claimed to be celebrating King’s “struggle against oppressive borders” and “radical legacy,” despite historians noting no evidence of anti-border positions by King. AAANY claimed to be marching to oppose “artificial borders” from “Palestine to Mexico,” claiming that they have “enforced poverty.” AAANY also claimed in promoting the event that King’s legacy guided it in its “struggle against Zionism and racism everywhere,” despite King’s support for what he called Israel’s “right to exist” during his life. [44] [45]

AAANY has also counter-protested against right-wing demonstrations opposing a claimed left-wing agenda to import Islamic religious law (Sharia) into American culture and practice, claiming that the demonstrations were just veiled islamophobia. In June 2017, AAANY joined the far-left International Socialist Organization (ISO) in staging a counter-demonstration. [46]

Funding

In 2019, the Arab American Association of New York reported nearly $1.6 million in revenue, $1.4 million in expenses, and just under $775,000 in net assets. The organization has received funding from both government and private sources. [47]

Private Funding

AAANY has received funding from several prominent left-of-center organizations in recent years. These include the Proteus Fund, the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the Center for Arab American Philanthropy, the New York Foundation, the Prospect Hill Foundation, and George Soros’s Open Society Foundations. [48] [49] [50] [51] [52] [53]

Taxpayer Funding

In September 2020, AAANY was selected as one of 21 organizations which received taxpayer funding to provide free immigration services to low-income immigrants. The fund, led by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), granted $16 million among the recipients to be disbursed over 2.5 years, though the exact amount AAANY received is unclear. [54] The fund was later criticized for its lack of visibility and transparency. [55]

In May 2021, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced the Partners Against the Hate (PATH) Forward initiative, a project of the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes (OPHC) designed to combat bias-motivated illicit activity in New York City. [56] The initiative sought to fund “community-based” approaches to hate crime prevention, distributing $3 million in funding to 6 community organizations, including AAANY. Other recipients included left-of-center organizations such as the Hispanic Federation, the Asian American Federation, and the Jewish Community Relations Council. [57]

The grant also allowed AAANY, along with the other grant recipients, to select recipients for the OPHC Hate Crime Prevention Innovation Grants, giving individuals and institutions between $5,000 and $20,000 in funding for projects to promote tolerance. [58]

Leadership

Aside from Linda Sarsour, AAANY has been affiliated with former New York City Council candidate Khader El-Yateem, who was previously a board member with AAANY. El-Yateem ran in the 2017 Democratic primary election on a left-wing platform with support from the far-left Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which endorsed his candidacy and supplied “nearly 300” volunteers for his campaign. El-Yateem lost in the primary election. [59]

Marwa Janini is the current executive director of AAANY, a position she has held since 2019. Janini has worked with AAANY since 2017. [60] While in school, Janini worked with the left-wing Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), an anti-Israel group which supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. [61]

References

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  2. “Adult Education.” Arab American Association Of New York. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://www.arabamericanny.org/adult-education. ^
  3. Peyser, Andrea. “Taxpayers Should Not Be Funding This Anti-American Hate-Spewer.” New York Post. New York Post, October 23, 2015. https://nypost.com/2015/10/23/taxpayers-should-not-be-funding-this-anti-american-hate-spewer/. ^
  4. “Our Partners.” Arab American Association Of New York. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://www.arabamericanny.org/our-partners-1. ^
  5. Westrop, Sam. “Islamic Relief Chairman Seems to Hate Jews and Love Jihad.” Middle East Forum. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://www.meforum.org/6870/islamic-relief-chairman-hates-jews-and-loves-jihad. ^
  6. Admin. “Brighton, Bay Ridge Politicians March under Palestinian Flags against US, Israeli Walls.” Shorefront News, January 24, 2019. https://shorefrontnews.com/2019/01/24/brighton-bay-ridge-politicians-march-under-palestinian-flag-against-us-israeli-walls/. ^
  7. “Arab American Association of New York.” Proteus Fund. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://www.proteusfund.org/grant/arabamericanassociationofnewyork-8/. ^
  8. “Grantee Spotlight: Arab American Association of New York.” Brooklyn Community Foundation, March 28, 2017. https://www.brooklyncommunityfoundation.org/blog/2017/03/grantee-spotlight-arab-american-association-new-york. ^
  9. “New Executives Fund.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/grants/new-executives-fund?past=1&page=2&filter_past_year=2017%2C2013&filter_year=2018¤t=1. ^
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  13. Katinas, Paula. “Capano Calls on Sarsour to Resign from Community Board 10.” Brooklyn Eagle, December 7, 2015. https://brooklyneagle.com/articles/2015/12/07/capano-calls-on-sarsour-to-resign-from-community-board-10/. ^
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  19. “Our City, Our Vote – NYC, Long Island, New York State.” New York Immigration Coalition, July 21, 2021. https://www.nyic.org/our-work/campaigns/our-city-our-vot. ^
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  21. Verde, Ben. “Gerrymandering in Brooklyn Is out of Control. Here’s How Reform Could Affect Neighborhoods.” Brownstoner, August 3, 2021. https://www.brownstoner.com/brooklyn-life/brooklyn-gerrymandering-redistrict-census-sunset-park-bay-ridge-maps-reform-neighborhoods-2021/. ^
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  23. “Youth Development.” Arab American Association Of New York. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://www.arabamericanny.org/youth-development. ^
  24. “Mental Health Services.” Arab American Association Of New York. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://www.arabamericanny.org/mental-health-services. ^
  25. Katinas, Paula. “Sarsour Leaving Post at Arab-American Association of NY.” Brooklyn Eagle, February 21, 2017. https://brooklyneagle.com/articles/2017/02/21/sarsour-leaving-post-at-arab-american-association-of-ny/. ^
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    Washington.” January 18, 2017. Accessed March 27, 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20170503202322/https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/18/us/womens-march-abortion.html ^ ^

  27. Meyerson, Collier. “Can You Be a Zionist Feminist? Linda Sarsour Says No.” The Nation. Mach 13, 2017. Accessed March 27, 2018. https://www.thenation.com/article/can-you-be-a-zionist-feminist-linda-sarsour-says-no/ ^ ^
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  30. Roth, Daniel. “Women’s March Leaders Refuse To Condemn Farrakhan After Antisemitic

    Speech.” Jerusalem Post. March 3, 2018. Accessed March 27, 2018. http://www.jpost.com/American-Politics/Womens-March-leaders-refuse-to-condemn-Farrakhan-after-antisemitic-speech-544074 ^

  31. [1] Linda Sarsour Twitter Post. Twitter. Accessed March 27,

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    5. Muthali, Aki. “Let’s talk about racism and sexism from world’s majority – people of

    colour.” The Nation. May 31, 2015. Accessed March 27, 2018. https://nation.com.pk/31-May-2015/it-s-time-we-talked-about-racism-and-sexism-from-world-s-majority-people-of-colour ^

  32. Peyser, Andrea. “Taxpayers Should Not Be Funding This Anti-American Hate-Spewer.” New York Post. New York Post, October 23, 2015. https://nypost.com/2015/10/23/taxpayers-should-not-be-funding-this-anti-american-hate-spewer/. ^
  33. “Our Partners.” Arab American Association Of New York. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://www.arabamericanny.org/our-partners-1. ^
  34. Westrop, Sam. “Islamic Relief Chairman Seems to Hate Jews and Love Jihad.” Middle East Forum. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://www.meforum.org/6870/islamic-relief-chairman-hates-jews-and-loves-jihad. ^
  35. Abdallah, Yousef. “Yousef Abdallah shared Maali Turk’s post.” Facebook. September 1,2014. Screenshot published by Middle East Forum. https://www.meforum.org/islamist/pics/355.jpg ^ ^
  36. Westrop, Sam. “Islamic Relief Chairman Seems to Hate Jews and Love Jihad.” Middle EastForum. August 11, 2017. Accessed June 20, 2020. https://www.meforum.org/6870/islamic-relief-chairman-hates-jews-and-loves-jihad^ ^
  37. “500+ Sign CUNY Community Statement of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.” Mondoweiss, May 25, 2021. https://mondoweiss.net/2021/05/500-sign-cuny-community-statement-of-solidarity-with-the-palestinian-people/. ^
  38. “500+ Sign CUNY Community Statement of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.” Mondoweiss, May 25, 2021. https://mondoweiss.net/2021/05/500-sign-cuny-community-statement-of-solidarity-with-the-palestinian-people/ ^
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  40. Admin. “Brighton, Bay Ridge Politicians March under Palestinian Flags against US, Israeli Walls.” Shorefront News, January 24, 2019. https://shorefrontnews.com/2019/01/24/brighton-bay-ridge-politicians-march-under-palestinian-flag-against-us-israeli-walls/. ^
  41. Stuart Appelbaum, and Stuart Appelbaum. “A Special Bond: Martin Luther King, Jr., Israel, and American Jewry.” Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://rac.org/special-bond-martin-luther-king-jr-israel-and-american-jewry. ^
  42. Colson, Nicole. “The Bigots behind the ‘Anti-Sharia’ Marches.” SocialistWorker.org. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://socialistworker.org/2017/06/08/the-bigots-behind-the-anti-sharia-marches. ^
  43. “Arab American Coalition of NY.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, Form 990, 2019, Part I. ^
  44. “Arab American Association of New York.” Proteus Fund. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://www.proteusfund.org/grant/arabamericanassociationofnewyork-8/. ^
  45. “Grantee Spotlight: Arab American Association of New York.” Brooklyn Community Foundation, March 28, 2017. https://www.brooklyncommunityfoundation.org/blog/2017/03/grantee-spotlight-arab-american-association-new-york. ^
  46. “CAAP Grants $80k to 19 Arab American Organizations.” Center for Arab American Philanthropy, May 21, 2020. https://www.centeraap.org/blog/2020grants/. ^
  47. “Grants Awarded 2021.” New York Foundation, July 26, 2021. https://nyf.org/grants-awarded-2021/. ^
  48. “Social Services/Social Change.” The Prospect Hill Foundation. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://prospect-hill.org/grants/social-services-social-change/. ^
  49. ““New Executives Fund.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/grants/new-executives-fund ^
  50. Bojarski, Sam. “HAUP among 21 Groups given Funding for Free Legal Services.” The Haitian Times, October 1, 2020. https://haitiantimes.com/2020/10/01/haup-among-21-groups-given-16-million-to-provide-free-legal-services/. ^
  51. Parra, Daniel. “Visibility Was an Issue for City’s Immigrant Relief Fund.” City Limits, August 14, 2020. https://citylimits.org/2020/07/14/visibility-was-an-issue-for-citys-immigrant-relief-fund/. ^
  52. “Mayor De Blasio Announces Partners against the Hate (P.a.t.h.) Forward.” The official website of the City of New York, May 27, 2021. https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/393-21/mayor-de-blasio-partners-against-hate-p-a-t-h-forward-providing-3m-combat. ^
  53. “Mayor De Blasio Announces Partners against the Hate (P.a.t.h.) Forward.” The official website of the City of New York, May 27, 2021. https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/393-21/mayor-de-blasio-partners-against-hate-p-a-t-h-forward-providing-3m-combat. ^
  54. “Mayor De Blasio Announces Partners against the Hate (P.a.t.h.) Forward.” The official website of the City of New York, May 27, 2021. https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/393-21/mayor-de-blasio-partners-against-hate-p-a-t-h-forward-providing-3m-combat. ^
  55. Aziza, Sarah. “Meet the Socialist Who Hopes to Become New York’s First Arab-American Elected Official.” The Nation, October 4, 2017. https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/meet-the-socialist-who-hopes-to-become-new-yorks-first-arab-american-elected-official/. ^
  56. “Our Board & Founders.” Arab American Association Of New York. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://www.arabamericanny.org/our-board-founders. ^
  57. “Post by Students for Justice in Palestine at College of Staten Island.” Facebook, March 14, 2014. https://www.facebook.com/CSISJP/photos/a.127411727454062.1073741827.127408460787722/216310318564202/?type=3&theater. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Linda Sarsour
    Former Executive Director
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 2003

  • 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
    2019 Dec Form 990 $1,596,855 $1,437,840 $851,001 $76,750 N $1,603,952 $0 $0 $132,395 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $1,316,229 $1,059,172 $679,311 $64,075 N $1,329,650 $0 $0 $74,029 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $1,094,688 $1,078,727 $411,990 $53,811 N $1,106,430 $0 $0 $65,022 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $1,117,490 $947,055 $407,622 $65,404 N $1,110,116 $0 $107 $54,000 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $523,535 $586,855 $234,077 $62,294 N $531,696 $0 $75 $54,000 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $485,659 $502,169 $265,337 $30,234 N $473,788 $7,899 $47 $21,464 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $581,412 $478,280 $275,629 $27,683 N $544,197 $17,373 $0 $19,000 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $317,304 $336,029 $172,347 $27,533 N $317,051 $0 $253 $2,538 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $342,813 $243,847 $198,051 $34,512 N $297,532 $0 $95 $36,453 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Arab American Association of New York (AAANY)

    7111 5TH AVE
    BROOKLYN, NY 11209-1608