Alavi Foundation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
650 Fifth Avenue, a New York City skyscraper that is claimed to be owned by the Foundation[1]

The Alavi Foundation is a public not-for-profit organization based in the United States.

History[edit]

The Alavi Foundation is the successor organization to the Pahlavi Foundation, a nonprofit group used by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to advance Iran's charitable interests in America.[2] Most of the charity's income is from rent collected on the New York Fifth Avenue skyscraper the Piaget Building, which was built in 1978 under the Shah, who was overthrown in 1979.

In November 2009, federal prosecutors in the United States seized its assets.[3] The seized assets include bank accounts; Islamic centers consisting of schools and mosques in New York City, Maryland, California and Houston; more than 100 acres (0.40 km2) in Virginia; and the Piaget Building, a 36-story glass office tower in New York.

Without rent from the skyscraper, the Alavi Foundation would have almost no way to continue supporting the Islamic centers, which house schools and mosques. The most recent tax records show the foundation earned $4.5 million from rents in 2007.

Legal scholars said they know of only a few cases in U.S. history in which law enforcement authorities have seized a house of worship. Marc Stern, a religious-liberty expert with the American Jewish Congress, called such cases extremely rare.[4] [5] On April 18, 2014, the Piaget building was seized by authorities due to alleged links to the Iranian government, citing violation of American sanctions against Tehran.[6]

Purposes[edit]

The Alavi Foundation:[7]

  • Grants money to American universities including Columbia University and Rutgers University to fund centers for Persian and Middle Eastern studies. Critics claim that these centers employ faculty "sympathetic" to Iran's Islamic republic.[8]
  • Encourages universities in North America to offer courses on Persian language, Iranian studies and the Islamic culture with a focus on Shi’ite studies;
  • Supports Weekend Persian Schools throughout the United States that link Iranian-Americans with their Persian heritage;
  • Supports Islamic centers that are established and used by local Muslim communities throughout the United States;
  • Established a book distribution program for those unable to purchase these books on their own;
  • Provides funds to support disaster relief projects;
  • Provides funds to support Islamic and Persian arts;
  • Provides funds supporting scholarly research projects in Iranian and Islamic/Shi’ite studies; and
  • Has a student loan program.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Seizing Iran’s Slice of Fifth Avenue". Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Foundation for the Establishment of Prince Alireza Pahlavi Fund for Ancient Iranian Studies". Retrieved October 26, 2012. 
  3. ^ Adam Goldman, Associated Press. "Feds to seize 4 mosques, tower linked to Iran", November 12, 2009[dead link]
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ [2][dead link]
  6. ^ "Iran condemns US seizure of Alavi Foundation building". 18 April 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "Alavi Foundation Programs". Retrieved October 26, 2012. 
  8. ^ Iran backers funding US universities, Nov. 23, 2009, Jerusalem Post
  9. ^ [3][dead link]

External links[edit]