The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Thailand, in partnership with the Sheikhul Islam Office and the Council for Humanitarian Networking of Sheikhul Islam Office organized a special group interview of the first year Zakat initiative by UNHCR in Thailand and the second year raising awareness of Muslim communities to donate supporting refugees who are not able to observe Ramadan in their own homes and countries during the holy month of Ramadan.
“All religious teachings lead people to the same practice of being kind and having mercy on other human beings.” Arunee Achakulwisut, Associate Private Sector Partnerships Officer stated “From the launch last year, we received tremendous support from various sectors to help providing emergency shelter for Rohingya families residing in areas of high risk of landsides and flooding in Bangladesh.”
The number of displaced people is now reaching 68.5 million individuals worldwide and the crisis continues to grow following recent wars and conflicts in Syria and Myanmar, leaving a large group of refugees in exile during this holy month.
“The world’s forcibly displaced population remains at a record high, with war, conflict and persecution ever since the World War II,” Dr. Zakee Phithakkumpol, Deputy Secretary of Sheikhul Islam said.
“With the scale and complexity of the situation, we must unite to support each other in this difficult time.”
The partnership between UNHCR, Sheikhul Islam Office and the Council started last year to encourage humanitarian support and giving during Ramadan to provide life-saving assistance to Rohingya families and we received supports from all sectors. Therefore, this year, we are doubling our efforts with Zakat initiative to support people who have been torn apart through war and violence, leaving thousands of single mothers struggling to provide for their families alone, and many children without the love and care of their parents.
“The holy month of Ramadan is traditionally a time for reflection and gathering among families and communities across the Muslim world, as well as for acts of solidarity and generosity,” stated Dr. Wisoot Binlateh, Director of the Southern office of Sheikhul Islam’s Affairs and Coordination Thailand. “Apart from the generosity during the Ramadan, Muslims need to fulfil the commandment of Allah and to take care of needy people around the world for spiritual and worldly benefits by giving Zakat at any time of the year too. And the majority of the world’s refugees fall under at least four of the eight stipulations required by recipients of Zakat funds as mentioned in the Quran: the poor, the needy, the debtors and the wayfarers.”
Through its Zakat initiative, and in collaboration with Tabah Foundation for Research and Consultation, UNHCR is the first UN agency of its type to provide an efficient, trusted and compliant route to fulfil Zakat obligations, ensuring transparency throughout the process. UNHCR’s Zakat initiative is fully Shariah compliant; backed by fatwas from five respected scholars and institutions; and is endorsed by leading clerics. UNHCR’s unique cash-assistance programme guarantees 100% of Zakat contributions go directly to the people most in need in the region. While the Zakat is immediately assigned to eligible refugee families in Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Iraq and Yemen with a focus on families comprising widows and their children, the donation during the holy month of Ramadan will go to one of the most vulnerable Syrian, Yemeni and Rohingya refugee families.