By Beyza Binnur Donmez
GENEVA (AA) - Islamic giving plays an increasing role in helping the forcibly displaced people, a UN refugee agency official said on Friday.
At the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, Khaled Khalifa, a senior advisor to the High Commissioner and UNHCR representative to Gulf Cooperation Council Countries, launched the fifth Islamic Philanthropy Annual Report, "which shows the power and growing potential of Islamic giving to save lives and build better futures for the forcibly displaced globally."
According to the report, 6 million people, who have been forcefully displaced and living in 26 countries, have benefited from the Zakat (obligatory almsgiving in Islam) and Sadaqah (voluntary charity) funds since the UNHCR's Refugee Zakat Fund was piloted in 2017.
Through the Refugee Zakat Fund, UNHCR received more than $21.3 million in Zakat contributions last year and more than $16.7 million in Sadaqah donations.
"While this is a small proportion of UNHCR’s global expenditure, its importance and impact on the displaced is growing, contributing to progress in several Sustainable Development Goals, notably around ending poverty and hunger while improving education and well-being," Khalifa said.
In 2022, the Refugee Zakat Fund enabled UNHCR to improve the lives of more than 1.5 million people in 21 countries, with Zakat and Sadaqah funds.
Last year, Zakat contributions were distributed through Zakat-compliant cash assistance and direct provision of goods.
Cash assistance was provided to refugees in Algeria, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mauritania, Pakistan, and Tunisia, as well as to internally displaced people (IDPs) in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Yemen, the report said, adding that goods, such as hygiene and shelter kits, medicines, and livelihood kits were provided to refugees in Bangladesh, India, and Iran, and IDPs in Nigeria.