International Islamic Fiqh Academy and UNHCR issue an urgent appeal in support of forcibly displaced people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through Zakat and Sadaqah
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA), a ancillary of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), issued today an urgent request for the allocation of Zakat and Sadaqah contributions in support of the most vulnerable refugee and internally displaced families during the last ten days of Ramadan. Donations collected through the Refugee Zakat Fund will help cover immediate needs of millions of the most sensitive displaced families, in particular those critically affected by the economic repercussions of COVID-19. Contributions will help families cover their costs of food, clean water, housing and clothing, in addition to paying debts, education and health expenses.
“For refugees and internally displaced people, the pandemic is not only a health crisis but a socio-economic one, as a majority have lost their daily sources of income, with others being forced to take their children out of school or left unable to purchase medication needed for chronic diseases” stated Khaled Khalifa, UNHCR’s Senior Advisor on Islamic Philanthropy and Representative to the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries.
Adding on “Zakat and Sadaqah donations make a big difference and impact in the lives of refugees, and in many instances the only lifeline for those in need during these challenging circumstances,” said Khalifa.
For his part, H.E Dr. Koutoub Moustafa Sano, Secretary General of IIFA, expressed the IIFA’s support of humanitarian efforts carried out by UNHCR, noting that it “guarantees the rightful distribution of Zakat contributions to eligible refugee and displaced families, as Zakat in its truth is the right of the poor and the needy trusted in the hands of the donor, and which UNHCR is committed to deliver as an agent.”
His Excellency called upon Zakat donors and organizations around the world to dedicate a portion of their Zakat this year for the aid of refugee and internally displaced families who are most in need, as they are “eligible for Zakat, and meet the criteria of eligible Zakat beneficiaries,” explaining that “Zakat can act as one lifeline in helping displaced people overcome these challenges, even if just for a period of time."
In November 2020, IIFA made a fatwa affirming the compliance and commitment of UNHCR’s Refugee Zakat Fund, to the Sharia based provisions and key governance parameters of the receipt and distribution of Zakat to refugee and internally displaced families.
Despite the growth that the Refugee Zakat Fund has witnessed in the past two years due to honest contributions by individuals and institutional partners, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has increased the gap between the needs of displaced families and funds received. To address the unmet needs of these vulnerable populations in 2021, UNHCR has projected global budget needs at $9.1 billion, of which $2.7 billion are needed in countries where UNHCR can distribute Zakat, to provide lifesaving support to 24.2 million people in Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Mauritania, Egypt, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Iran, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Somalia.
With the start of Holy month of Ramadan, IIFA declared its support of UNHCR’s efforts in providing humanitarian assistance through Zakat contributions, for the benefit of those who have lost their homes and have had their lives turned around in a matter of seconds. This comes as part of UNHCR’s global Ramadan campaign #EverySecondCounts.
Every second of the Holy month can be an opportunity to do good and make an impact in a person's life. To dedicate your Zakat or Sadaqah to refugees in urgent need, please visit zakat.unhcr.org or download UNHCR’s Zakat mobile application “GiveZakat”.