UN sees growing Islamic donations for refugee aid

Published March 25, 2023
Fatimah Bin Ismail, a 19-year-old Rohingya refugee, eats at her temporary shelter in Pidie, Aceh province, Indonesia on Dec 28, 2022. — Reuters
Fatimah Bin Ismail, a 19-year-old Rohingya refugee, eats at her temporary shelter in Pidie, Aceh province, Indonesia on Dec 28, 2022. — Reuters

GENEVA: The UN said on Friday that its refugee operations were seeing swelling funding through a dedicated Islamic philanthropy platform aimed at collecting the charity payments required of Muslims under the religion.

A day after the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramazan, the United Nations’ refugee agency said it was increasingly able to channel obligatory donations under Islam to help fund its activities.

Since it was first piloted in 2017, the UNHCR’s Refugee Zakat Fund has raised nearly $200 million from Zakat — one of the five pillars of Islam, and from voluntary charity funds known as Sadaqah.

“During the last five years, we managed to assist six million people, mainly in Muslim countries, with the Zakat and the Sadaqah,” Khaled Khalifa, UNHCR’s representative to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, told reporters in Geneva.

The main recipient operations have been for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, internally displaced people in Yemen, and Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Overall, cash assistance and other aid have been handed out across 26 countries.

Published in Dawn, March 25th, 2023

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