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Alavi Foundation responds to Washington Post article

Recently your web site provided your viewers with a link to an article published by the Washington Post which contained several unfounded accusations and untrue statements about Alavi Foundation's activities.

The Foundation has received some unfavorable press coverage and does not respond to or comment on all of the press coverage it gets. We understand that not responding to the unfounded accusations and false reports may create the impression that "maybe some of the accusations are true". However, our practice and policy of not responding to these press coverage are grounded in the following realities:

The Foundation's financial and personnel resources are limited. Therefore, it is neither practical nor wise for the Foundation to use its limited resources on responding to all of these false accusations.

Alavi Foundation is a tax-exempt charitable organization incorporated under New York law. Its charitable work includes giving financial assistance to non-profit schools and universities that teach the Persian language and culture as well as giving donations to non-profit religious organizations. The Foundation also makes donations to charitable organizations engaged in improving interfaith dialogue. These activities coupled with the Foundation's Iranian heritage, and with the state of relations between the U.S. and Iran, have unjustifiably subjected the Foundation to some negative press coverage.

All of the Foundation's activities are merely cultural and the Foundation does not have any political tendencies. Therefore people who write or propagate false rumors against the Foundation, are either ignorant or they do not like activities that are in line with supporting better understanding of the Persian culture, Islamic culture, and western culture. Fair minded individuals, who know a little about governing rules and regulations applied to American not for profit organizations, never accept these types of baseless assertions. Our website contains some basic information that clearly shows the major activities of this Foundation.

Our lawyer previously stated that:

Due to its Iranian heritage, the Foundation has been subjected to a high level of scrutiny from the federal and state law enforcement agencies for more than twenty years. Nevertheless, no enforcement agency has ever treated the Foundation as though it were property of the Iranian Government: its assets have never been frozen or seized, and it has never been subjected to any provisions of the Iranian Asset Controls Regulation, 31C.F.R Part 535. In addition to government scrutiny, the Foundation has been sued on multiple occasions by individuals claiming that the Foundation is the "alter ego" of the Iranian Government. During the course of these litigations, a wealth of information was disclosed regarding the Foundation and the education centers affiliated with the Foundation. Each and every judge who analyzed this information rejected the idea that the Foundation is controlled by the Iranian Government and that the education centers are terrorist related.

The Washington Post article contained serious and untrue accusations. The following three paragraphs are part of our lawyer's letter to the Washington Post:

We are writing on behalf of our client, the Alavi Foundation, to object to several inaccuracies and false implications regarding the Foundation that appeared in a recent article in your newspaper. The article, which appeared in the January 1, 2003 edition, was written by John Mintz and bore the title "U.S. Keeps Close Tabs on Muslim Cleric."

We shall not attempt, in this letter, to address all the accusatory comments which are contained in the article and which are ascribed, in self-serving fashion, to "former" government agents. Proving negatives is difficult enough, and we will not undertake such an endeavor, especially when the reporter ignored undisputed written proof we provided to him.

The article in question is an unfortunate example of the printed media's disregarding its reportorial responsibilities and pursuing, instead, a policy of sensationalism and religious profiling to increase readership. We had hoped that a publication such as the Washington Post would have shown more class than this.

Related articles:

U.S. Keeps Close Tabs on Muslim Cleric

Alavi Foundation of New York Responds to Accusations

Fifth Avenue Charity Is 'Totally Controlled' By Iran, NYPD Says

... Payvand News - 1/24/03 ... --

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