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 Funds in Plenty - Where's the Relief?

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Join date : 2011-06-29

PostSubject: Funds in Plenty - Where's the Relief?   Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:10 am

Funds in Plenty - Where's the Relief?

Muslims this year generously diverted a large chunk of their Zakat funds for the Gujarat carnage victims.
A detailed survey on the relief and rehabilitation work carried out,
revealed a neat paper work and nothing substantial, even ten months after the gruesome tragedy!

By M. H. Lakdawala

A random survey conducted by Islamic Voice in Mumbai last year had revealed that 75 per cent of zakat of the respondents goes to the following: Habitual zakat seeker, eligible for zakat-14 per cent. Educational institutions and welfare organisations giving financial assistance to needy students and the poor- 19 per cent. Madrasas and allied institutions- 17 per cent. Islamic or Muslim organisations- 18 per cent. Community projects- 7 per cent. The total number of respondents was 117, which included individual zakat payers, Muslim corporate companies, businessmen, service or salaried class and common Muslims. A substantial zakat also goes into relief work that is 11 per cent.

But this year’s survey shows some major changes in the zakat distribution. The single most important factor, which has affected the zakat distribution, is the Gujarat carnage. A substantial amount is pumped in the relief work in Gujarat. 35 per cent of the respondents have given a sizable amount before Ramadan to the Gujarat relief fund hence reducing their contribution to the other category. Most of the respondents in one way or other contributed to the Gujarat relief and 11 per cent of the respondents distributed their zakat amount well before Ramadan.

Because of the Gujarat carnage, the most affected category is the community projects and share of the Muslim organisations. Those who are least affected or able to get their share is the Madrasas and allied institutions, also educational institutions and welfare organisations giving financial assistance to the needy students and the poor.

In fact as compared to last year, the contribution to education indicates a growth of about 8 per cent. Madrasas and allied institutions show a growth of 9 per cent. The community projects related to print and electronic media suffered the most. In many cases, the project had to be closed down for the shortage of finance. For example, this year there are no fresh religious programmes related to Ramadan on air in any of the satellite channels. Last year, at least three Ramadan related programmes were aired. The two Ramadan related programmes were on ETV and were in-house programmes and Islamic Research Foundation recycling its old cassettes.

Muazzam Naik one of the producers of the Ramadan programmes last year, confirmed that lack of funds was the main reason for the absence of Ramadan programmes this year. “Most of the fund was directed towards relief work in Gujarat and none of our financers were willing to finance Ramadan programmes as they have exhausted funds in relief work” he said.

The welfare organisations also depend on zakat funds for their slew of projects. This year they have to accept a short fall in their zakat share as compared to last year. The survey reveals shortfall of 21 per cent as compared to last year. So most of the Islamic organisations that solely depend on zakat for their day-to-day expenses and expansion may have to seek funds from somewhere else or curtail their growth or expansion plans.

The zakat fund used for the rehabilitation in Gujarat is definitely in the right direction. But unlike the past, this year, there is lack of coordination amongst the various organisations doing relief work in Gujarat. As compared to past riots and relief work that followed, in case of Gujarat the relief work seems very unsatisfactory.

What is termed as one of the worst carnage, the community backed those affected, by providing financial aid. But ironically, those organisations that took up the charge of distributing relief and taking up the task of rehabilitation have lagged behind due to the dearth of scientific approach. Most of the organisations involved in the relief work in Gujarat are dependent on their own workers and cadres who are not trained to take up a task of such huge proportions.

When Islamic Voice approached major welfare organisations for the details of the relief and rehabilitation work carried out, except a neat paper work, nothing substantial was evident. Even the day-to-day need of those affected was most of the time taken up by the spirited individual and small groups. The major welfare organisations failed miserably here also.

Another worrying aspect is that the community as a whole fulfilled its responsibility more or less by contributing finance to those who claim themselves to be doing relief and rehabilitation work, a cursory look and series of meetings with those involved in relief and rehabilitation work points to an alarming trend. It is ten months since the Gujarat carnage and the funds are still lying unused with the organisations. When asked whether the relief and rehabilitation of the victims is completed, the standard answer is “we’re still in the process of planning and intend to launch rehabilitation work very soon’’. Ten months have passed, even the tears of the victims have dried, what are these organisations waiting for?

Ironically in the past, many organisations including the big ones have collected crores of rupees and not utilised the relief fund in the rehabilitation work. There are many instances when the relief funds were diversified into other pet projects of these organisations and also in purchasing properties in the name of the organisation concerned. The standard reason given was that “since relief and rehabilitation is completed, the funds are utilised for other religious activities.” Thus any more delay in launching rehabilitation work will defeat the very purpose of the funds and as in the past will be diversified in some other projects.

Unlike the welfare organisations whose record this time in Gujarat is pathetic, communities such as Bohras, Memons, Khojas and others through their forums have done a better job. They have sponsored the villages where majority of the residents belong to their respective community. The major difference between the community based relief work and the welfare organisation work is that the communities do not hesitate to take the aid and assistance of the professionals and experts, even non-Muslims, to executive their projects.

It is high time the elders in the community and the intelligentsia give a thought about how effective these huge sums collected in the name of relief is utilised effectively and goes to the deserving. Also, it is the obligation of these organisations to come clean with the audited accounts with the details of the relief and rehabilitation work undertaken by them.


Dr Omar Mousa of Sudan and
Dr Harakat Share King Faisal
Prize for Islamic Studies

Riyadh: Dr. Ezzuddin Omar Mousa of Sudan and Dr. Ibrahim Abubakar Harakat of Morocco jointly won this year’s King Faisal Prize for Islamic Studies, according to Asir Governor and Director General of King Faisal Foundation Prince Khaled. Other prize winners were from Italy, Germany, Japan and the United States.

Prince Khaled, who is also chairman of the prize committee, said the winner of the prize for Islamic service will be announced after Eid Al-Adha. The committee withheld the prize for Arabic literature.

Professor Axel Ullrich of Germany’s Max-Planck Institute for Biochemistry and Professor Umberto Veronesi of the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy, shared the medicine prize for their work on breast cancer.

Professor Marion Frederick Hawthorne of the University of California shared the prize for science (chemistry) with Professor Koji Nakanishi of New York’s Columbia University. Hawthorne is involved in pioneering cancer research while Nakanishi’s work includes ways of fighting loss of sight among the elderly.

Prince Khaled denied the accusation that King Faisal Prize was racist and said 30 American scientists have so far won the annual prize, first awarded in 1979. The prize is considered the most prestigious in the Arab and Islamic world.

The total prize money is SR3.75 million ($1 million), with each winner receiving $200,000 in cash in addition to a 200-gram, 22-carat gold medallion and a certificate summarising the winner’s work.

The King Faisal Foundation was established by the late King Faisal’s sons to commemorate their father’s efforts in the service of Muslims and for reviving Islamic heritage and promoting the development of humanity. Besides awarding the King Faisal Prize, the foundation carries out humanitarian activities including charity work, investment projects, scholarships and health projects in more than 29 countries across the world. Institutions and organisations around the world nominate candidates for the prizes.

"Islam Brings Hope and Comfort:"
President George Bush

Washington D.C: At the Iftar hosted at the White House, President Bush stated that Islam is a religion that brings hope and comfort to more than a billion people around the world. It has given birth to a rich culture of learning, literature and science. “Tonight we honour the traditions of a great faith by hosting this Iftar at the White House. Ramadan is a special time of prayer and fasting. In hosting tonight’s Iftar, I send a message to all nations represented by their ambassadors here tonight that America treasures your friendship, America honours your faith. We see in Islam a religion that traces its origins back to God’s call on Abraham. We share your belief in God’s justice. We thank the many Muslim nations who stand with us against terror. Nations that are often victims of terror themselves. Tonight’s Iftar also sends a message to all Americans-our nation is waging a war on a radical network of terrorists, not on a religion and not on a civilization. Ramadan and the upcoming holiday seasons are a good time to remember the ties of friendship and respect that bind us together. Learning from each other, we can build bridges of mutual trust and understanding. Working together, we can create a better future for people of all faiths. I thank you all for coming to the White House this evening. I wish you all a blessed Ramadan”, said the President in his message

Arab World's First Institute of Herbal Medicine

Sharjah: Al Nabawi Medicine and Herbal Sciences Arabian Institute in Sharjah, the first educational establishment of its kind in the Arab world which offers a two-year diploma in traditional Islamic and alternative medicine, announced the enrolment of 109 students for its 2002/2003 academic year. Ahmad Al Mulla, the director of the institute, said the number of students interested in studying traditional medicine proves that the institute is getting off to a good start. He said the majority of students came from all over the UAE and from other Gulf countries.The institute has an agreement with the Hamdard University in Pakistan, a well-known and internationally respected institute of higher learning for herbal medicine, by which students who complete their two-year diploma in the institute, can go on to Pakistan to get their Bachelors degree in herbal and alternative medicine. “These days there is a rush to alternative medicine, in India they have ayurveda, the Chinese also turn to their traditional medicine, we should turn to the medical science of the holy Prophet Muhammad,”(PBUH) said Ahmad Al Mulla.

Ahmed selected for ARY Literary Award

Renowned Pakistani scholar and writer Ahmed Nadeem Qasimi has been selected for the $10,000 ARY Gold Literary Award for 2002 in recognition of his services to Urdu literature.

The award ceremony, to be held in Dubai on December 12, will be attended by prominent scholars, writers and poets from Pakistan. The award, initiated two years ago by Dubai-based Pakistani businessman Haji Abdul Razzaq, chairman of the ARY Group of Companies, is the highest literary award in terms of prize money ever given to any Pakistani literary personality.

In addition to $10,000, the winner also gets a gold-plated shield bearing his photo. Qasimi has been selected for his lifetime contribution to the promotion of Urdu literature, Apart from writing television plays, short stories and a number of award-winning books, Qasimi also contributes regular columns in leading Pakistani Urdu newspapers.

Muslims in Italy Face No Hostility

Rome: Muslims in Italy have not been subjected to hostility after the September 11, attacks on the US, “Despite the fact that some Western media tried to exploit the 9/11 incident to ignite the public opinion against Islam, Muslims in Italy have been enjoying peace and harmony with others under the Italian laws and regulations,” said Majdi Allam, a media analyst who writes for the Italian Press. Europe occupies the third place, preceded by Asia and Africa in terms of Muslim residents, who comprise 12.9 per cent of the total population of Europe and 1.2 per cent of the population of Italy. Allam pointed out that Muslims in Italy were estimated at 544,000, apart from another 15,000 who are illegal residents of the country.

Zam-Zam Cola in European Market

Brussels: Iranian produced Zam-Zam Cola has entered the market in Denmark, the first European country where the beverage would be sold, according to Danish daily Politiken. Zam-Zam is now sold in the entire Middle East, Pakistan, several African and Muslim countries. It has replaced the Jewish held Coco Cola, a US multi-national that pumps millions of dollars to Israel in aid. Nearly 17 factories in Iran are now producing the Zam-Zam Cola.

CAIR to Launch Campaign
on Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh)

Washington: The Washington-based Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organisation that defends the image of Islam and the freedoms and civic rights of Muslims and Arabs in the US, has announced that it is will launch an extensive campaign to inform the American public about Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), his personality and character. CAIR intends to issue a series of weekly press releases to all the major newspapers in the US, for a period of not less than one year. This campaign comes in the wake of slanderous pronouncements against the Prophet on the part of extreme right Americans, particularly following the 9/11 events. Among the latest slurs on the image of the Prophet was one by the extreme rightist, Jimmy Swaggart, last fortnight. He had also called for the expulsion of all foreign Muslim students from American universities. For his part, Part Robertson described Muslims as worse than the Nazis, and also disparaged Islam and Muslims in his television programme that was broadcast by the Fox channel. It is estimated that the entire campaign will cost around US$ 3,000,000.

Crime and Punishment

London: Christopher Williams, a security guard has been convicted for helping hooligans in dumping pig heads and fake blood outside the Exeter Mosque on September 13, 2001. Magistrate George Tout said the evidence showed Williams was jointly involved in both offences with others. However, the sentence will be pronounced later. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) welcomed the conviction and said it would send signals that attacks on religious places would not be tolerated.

Knowledge Village from Yusuf Islam

Dubai: The International Board of Educational Research and Resources (IBERR), group that formulates Islamic education syllabi for English-speaking Muslim schools around the world will open a base in Dubai’s Knowledge Village. According to chairman of IBERR, Yusuf Islam (formerly pop singer Cat Stevens) the group has offices in the US, UK and South Africa and will set up a portal in Knowledge Village so that it can expand in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The number and popularity of Muslim English-speaking schools is on the rise. In the US, there are already 600, 125 in UK, 80 in South Africa and 20 in Australia. “ The challenge is to deliver a more appropriate curriculum for Islamic schools, which strikes a balance between modern educational methods and the rich Islamic scientific heritage and culture,” says Yusuf Islam.

Film on the Holy Quran

Dubai: Faruq Masudi, popular writer and television director, is now coming up with a unique visual presentation on Quranic verses. “A lot has been written on Islam and the Holy Book, but the effect and impact of the visual media is exceptionally strong,” said Masudi. who is known across India and in the Middle East for his Hindi soaps Dastaan, Chattan and Kasak. He is the managing director of the UAE-based Hoo Productions. Shedding light on the novel way with which he intends to treat his presentation, Masudi explained that it would be created using a pioneering fusion of the techniques and styles employed in making advertisements, documentary and feature films. “To put it simply, the Holy Book will come alive on the screen, and some of its most complex concepts will be simplified for the viewers to understand and feel the essence of the word of God,” confirms Masudi. The 3 million Dirham project, is expected to take a year to complete and will be first released in Arabic in 35mm cinemascope. “The original Arabic version, an hour-long presentation, will soon be followed by translation into all the major languages of the world. Hoo Productions was formed in 1996 by Shaikh Jamal bin Humaid Al Qasimi to produce television software and radio programmes in the UAE. Questions and enquiries on the project . can be directed to Hoo Productions email at or on phone at 050-6282440.

Foundation Discovers
Five Million Islamic Manuscripts

Makkah: Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, former Minister of Petroleum in Saudi Arabia, has disclosed that the Islamic Furqan Foundation, which he set up and is financing, has discovered five million Islamic manuscripts in 118 countries. He said a selection of the manuscripts was compiled in a huge five-volume edition. Yamani told the OKAZ newspaper that the Foundation is now working on an encyclopaedia on the two Islamic cities of Makkah and Madinah, from the pre-Islamic period right up to the present. He said the encyclopaedia would cover the political, social, religious, environmental and geographical aspects, adding that a lot of data and particulars about the two cities have been collected from several sources, including external sources. He said work on the encyclopaedia started 12 years ago, and is still going on.

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