First of all, it should be stressed that da`wah or inviting people to the way of Allah the Almighty is one of the most rewarded acts in Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told his cousin, `Ali, “If a single person were guided aright through you, that would be better for you than owning the whole world as a treasure.” Essentially, zakah money should be spent on the poor and needy. It is not allowed to spend it on da`wah activities.

Dr.Monzer Kahf, a prominent economist and counselor, states: Zakah should not be spent on da`wah activities anywhere in the world; in the US or anywhere else. Zakah is essentially the right of the poor and needy; this is why in many hadiths and in some verses only the poor are mentioned. Of course, the verse 9:60 tells us about eight categories of people who are eligible to receive zakat; and none of them mention da`wah. That also includes defending Muslims and Islam. Hence, some activities, such as defending the civil rights of Muslims in America and providing information that helps remove Islamophobia and clarify the tenets of Islam are included in defending Islam and Muslims.

In America this applies to organizations like CAIR that specialize in these areas. Such organizations may be given money from zakah, but definitely not general da`wah, mosques, Islamic centers, Islamic schools and the like.
We must take note that thirty or forty years ago, mosques and Islamic centers were essential to preserve the religion of our children and we were all poor in the USA. At that time fatwas were produced saying that it was permissible to use zakah for the defense of Islam and Muslims. Now Muslims in the US are not poor, and they are able to pay for mosques, schools and centers from their own wealth; not from the right of the poor.
Paying for da`wah, mosques, and centers is the responsibility of the rich and the middle class among us in the Muslim community in the US and Canada . Paying for schools is the responsibility of parents, and the community may also help but definitely NOT from the right of the poor and needy.