The Türkiye Diyanet Foundation (TDV) affiliated with the country’s Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), taps into zakat, one of the pillars of Islam, to boost its charity work across the globe.
This year so far, TDV collected $14.2 million (TL 265 million) as zakat and delivered it to over 2 million people in 149 countries.
Zakat is a type of almsgiving and a religious mandate for each faithful who qualifies. Each Muslim who can afford is required to donate a portion of his or her wealth to the needy every year once their wealth reaches a certain threshold defined by the religion.
The foundation, established in 1975, is active in several humanitarian assistance fields, from education to social activities, from accommodation to food and emergency assistance, as well as support to the religious life of communities across the world, either by donation of Qurans or construction of mosques and other activities.
It runs 1,003 branches in Türkiye and operates in 149 countries, focusing on needy communities.
Abdurrahman Çetin, deputy director of the foundation, told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Wednesday that zakat was mainly delivered to communities in urgent need, including Rohingya Muslims, Palestinians and people in Yemen.
“Over 2 million people, from students to families benefited from zakat. Zakat donations are used in every field, from education to food aid. Some donors specifically ask for their donations to be delivered to certain communities so we organize separate campaigns, such as zakat for Yemen or zakat for education,” he said.
Zakat is Islam’s interpretation of social justice and collective welfare through ensuring the well-being of fellow Muslims. It means purification and comes from the Arabic verb zaka and is viewed as a way to “purify” wealth by giving a portion of wealth to charity. In 2019, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) launched a special Refugee Zakat Fund ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to encourage Muslims across the world to provide zakat to displaced people in Iraq, Syria and Yemen and other war-torn countries.
Türkiye is one of the largest humanitarian donors globally, spending billions of dollars in aid, according to a report by the U.K.-based Development Initiatives (DI). In 2020, it accounted for 26% of global humanitarian aid – $8.04 billion of $30.9 billion, up 5.9% yearly, read the Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2021.
It came only second after the U.S., which spent $8.9 billion, up 6.9% compared to 2019. Germany, the European Union and Britain followed with $3.7 billion, $2.6 billion and $2.1 billion, respectively. Türkiye ranks a distant first if one considers national income.
Its humanitarian aid spending was almost 1% of its national income at 0.98% of its gross domestic product (GDP), followed by Luxembourg at 0.19%, Sweden and Norway each at 0.16% and Denmark at 0.15%. The country ranked third on the DI report in 2013, 2014 and 2015, second in 2016 and first in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Source: Daily Sabah
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