Egypt’s Al-Azhar joins global Ramadan campaign supporting refugees

Aya Salah , Friday 31 Mar 2023

The Islamic Research Academy (AIRA) of Egypt's Al-Azhar – the world's leading Sunni Muslim religious institution – has joined the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in their global Ramadan campaign to provide urgent relief to refugees and forcibly displaced people around the world.

A file photo of Al-Azhar headquarters in Cairo (Photo: Al-Ahram)


The month-long campaign, which is carried out under the motto “In hardship: Your gift is support and ease”, comes amid the increasing numbers and severity of humanitarian emergencies, the AIRA said in a statement on Thursday.

This campaign is the second launched by the academy in cooperation with the UN refugee body.

The first campaign, which was carried out in December 2020 under the motto 30 Days of Kindness, raised awareness on the situation of refugees and internally displaced people.

The new campaign seeks through various stories to spotlight the humanitarian suffering of displaced people and so urge Muslims to show solidarity and support, Secretary-General of AIRA Nazir Muhammad explained.

It will also include recorded messages from Al-Azhar scholars supporting the campaign and religious edicts (fatwas) directing Zakat to displaced people, Nazir noted.

Zakat (alms-giving), which is one of the five pillars of Islam, obliges financially-able Muslims to give 2.5 percent of their annual income to the poor and needy.

The UNHCR said in a statement on Tuesday that this year's campaign invites the public to look closer and see the people behind the headlines and the statistics.

According to the UNHCR, over 100 million people remain forcibly displaced from their homes in 2022 due to war, violence, persecution and human rights abuses.

Many have been struggling to survive for years as many crises remain unresolved.

Any gift during this holy month will be a lifeline to millions of displaced people observing Ramadan away from home, the UNHCR's statement added.

It noted that the UNHCR’s Refugee Zakat Fund since its inception in 2017 has impacted the lives of more than six million beneficiaries in 26 countries.

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