More than 70 million people fleeing wars and violence are among those around the world observing the holy month of Ramadan, under the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 crisis. Refugees and internally displaced people are frequently among the most marginalized and vulnerable members of society and are particularly at risk during this pandemic. Together with the local communities that host them, they often have limited access to water, sanitation and health systems, and have only scarce socio-economic resources with which to survive. Many of those observing Ramadan will be doing so without the certainty of food on the table at the end of the day to break their fast.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, continues its partnership with the Sheikhul Islam Office and the Council for Humanitarian Networking of Sheikhul Islam Office on the third consecutive year during Ramadan to raise awareness in the Muslim community and raise funds for the most vulnerable refugees and internally displaced people who are not able to observe the holy month of Ramadan in their own countries. Contributions are urgently required to prevent more people from slipping deeper into poverty in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
“While the world fights this pandemic, the virus has shown that it does not discriminate. More than 80% of refugees, internally displaced and stateless persons often live in areas that are overcrowded or have weaker sanitation and hygiene systems. As these groups may be especially vulnerable, it is essential that they are included in each country’s COVID-19 national surveillance, response and planning activities.” said Mr. Giuseppe De Vincentiis, UNHCR’s Representative in Thailand.
“Ramadan used to be the happiest time for families. Now, many Muslim displaced persons are facing a difficult reality and many challenges, and long-standing Ramadan traditions will have to adapt to measures designed to protect public health. However, Ramadan remains a month of giving. We are all in this together and we will all go through it together. Compassion and hope, the true values of Ramadan, will get us through these difficult times in solidarity.”
UNHCR continues collecting Zakat funds, a religious obligation of purification set forth in the Quran to support the eight beneficiaries of Zakat through the Ramadan campaign this year. UNHCR’s Zakat initiative is fully Shariah compliant; backed by fatwas from the world’s respected scholars and institutions to support the overwhelming number of Muslims who are exposed to deprivation amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“This year’s holy month coincides with such uncertain times. We are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. More than 70 million people have been forced to flee their homes and among them are many Muslims. Many are children and women who will observe the holy month far away from what is called home and country. They are more vulnerable than ever in this pandemic,” Aziz Phitakkumpon, the Sheikhul lslam of Thailand said.
“We extend our partnership with UNHCR again this year to raise Zakat contributions during the month of giving for Muslims who are fighting with poverty and the spread of the virus. Ramadan encourages acts of kindness towards others and you will be blessed by Allah in the holy month through this generosity.”
The global Ramadan campaign was initiated in 2018 through the support gathered from all sectors. UNHCR was able to secure survival funds for more than 1 million people to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table for an entire year. For this third year, the campaign aims to generate funds to maintain vital life-saving assistance such as shelter, food, clean water and cash assistance for the most vulnerable refugees and internally displaced people including orphans, female-headed households, the elderly in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Malian refugees in Mauritania and Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to ensure they can survive these challenging times all year long.
Sheikhul Islam Office and the Council for Humanitarian Networking of Sheikhul Islam Office encourages donations to UNHCR, allowing it to continue its regular programming as well as providing much needed support to meet new mounting needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Contributions will go directly to vulnerable refugees and displaced people most in need while the Zakat is immediately assigned to eligible refugee families ensuring transparency throughout the process.
Find out more and donate now at https://www.unhcr.or.th/donate/ramadan.
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