UNHCR Shakes Hand With AAOIFI For Effective Zakat Fund Distribution To Pandemic Hit Refugees

June 16, 2020

In order to provide financial support to many vulnerable displaced refugees across the globe, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR has now signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an Islamic not-for-profit organization that will help them develop necessary Islamic finance tools to disseminate social finance.

The Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) has signed up a three year contract to help in preparing accounts, audits and spell out rules for governance, ethics to Shari’a standards for Islamic financial institutions and industry. It will also develop other areas of Islamic philanthropy for the UN body.

Speaking to the media about the association, Khaled Khalifa, the UNHCR’s senior adviser on Islamic finance and regional representative to the GCC countries has communicated that the whole idea behind collaborating with AAOIFI is to put into action the UNHCR’s Refugee Zakat Fund engagement strategy. “No impact can be achieved otherwise in response to the global displacement crisis affecting over 70 million people today,” he added.

Through this association, the UN body hopes to raise funds to support the various displaced refugees whose survival has become a matter of extreme concern. The pandemic conditions have worsened the state of affairs in many countries that have been savagely hit by civil war. These include Syria, Yemen, Libya and Iraq to name a few. By bringing an experienced auditing firm into play, the UN body will be able to ensure that they can engage Islamic financial institutions and other industry players in the global humanitarian response to support refugees in the most effective way.

The Zakat Fund (Hardship Relief Fund) was launched by UNHCR in 2019. Last year alone, the fund assisted more than one million beneficiaries in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Mauritania, Yemen, Bangladesh and Malaysia. This year, the fund continues to capitalize on partnerships to double this impact, especially amid the COVID-19 emergency.

Zakat or willful contribution is a normal activity in Islam where someone who can afford is encouraged to give away a part of his wealth for charitable use. The UNHCR run Refugee Zakat Fund has been responsibly collected and distributed funds to the most needy in the form of kind and would be doing so in the form of sanitations kits towards the Covid-19 outbreak. Almost 60 percent of their donors comprise member states of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation.

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