• Sunday, June 23, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Muslim donations surge amid cost of living crisis

Charities raised more than £100 during Ramadan

The unfolding crisis in Gaza contributed to the sharp rise in Ramadan donations

By: Nadeem Badshah

DONATIONS to British charities increased during Ramadan this year, with more £100 million estimated to have been raised, sector leaders said, despite the cost of living crisis.

British Muslims have been praised for their generosity during the holy month, which came to an end in April, towards good causes in the UK and in countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Palestine. Islamic Relief UK, an independent non-government organisation founded in 1984, cited the humanitarian crisis in Gaza due to the ongoing conflict with Israel as a key factor for the rise in donations.

According to a poll the charity recently carried out with market research firm Savanta, 57 per cent of Muslims are worried about having to use a foodbank in the near future, compared to 30 per cent of the general population.

A spokesperson for Islamic Relief UK told Eastern Eye: “The cost-of-living crisis has hit everyone in the UK, not least the Muslim community – who are the vast majority of our donor base.

“Despite this, we have actually seen donations rise during this year’s Ramadan.

“It’s proof to just how generous the UK Muslim community are, and that times of hardship will often encourage them to give more as they recognise the need is greater.

“Another factor in the rise in Ramadan donations year-on-year is the crisis unfolding in Gaza.LEAD Ramadan charities INSET Donation

“Our reputation and standing in the sector after forty years also means that people can trust that their donations to us will actually deliver aid into Gaza, which has been a massive challenge that not all charities can overcome.”

People who follow Islam are required to give 2.5 per cent of their qualifying wealth each year to charity. In addition to this, people give voluntary donations to a range of causes at home and abroad known as Sadaqah.

Research by the Muslim Charities Forum last year found that 43 per cent of Muslims intended to give the same amount in charity during 2024 as in previous years – despite personal financial struggle and 27 per cent aimed to give more.

Fadi Itani OBE, CEO of the Muslim Charities Forum, told Eastern Eye: “The British Muslim community is known for being extremely generous – but, like many, the cost-of-living crisis has also impacted Muslim families.”

“Giving via collections and mosques is popular particularly during Ramadan, and this Ramadan, we have seen no change to the usual giving behaviours. It is estimated that, once again, over £100 million has been donated by UK Muslims during the holy month, including to causes right here in the UK,” Itani said.

“As always, we urge donors to give mindfully and carefully to genuine fundraisers to ensure their precious donations are protected and create the most impact,” he added. Practising Muslims said they try to follow the principle quoted by the Prophet Muhammad that giving charity does not decrease an individual’s wealth.

Kamran Uddin, a writer, said some mosques in southern England had a dip in donations due to the cost of living crisis and people opted to give charity direct to the needy abroad.

He added: “During Ramadan, it’s fair to say most mosques, including my local one, have seen a dip in donations. This is partly due to external factors, such as the war that’s ensuing in Gaza and the humanitarian crisis that’s unfolding there – which is directing people’s money to charities who are helping the victims there, and rightly so. The other challenge we face closer to home, is the cost of living crisis which is really straining finances.

“Families up and down the country have to think twice before buying anything from supermarkets and this anxiety is unfortunately trickling down to fundraising for mosque projects.”

Meanwhile, a report by the Human Appeal charity last year found that a third of all volunteers admitted they had to give up their free time for charities less frequently due to the cost of living crunch.

Around 38 per cent of BAME people said they volunteer less; 47 per cent said they needed to spend more time in paid employment, while 22 per cent said they could no longer afford the costs related to volunteering.

However, 36 per cent of people from a BAME background said they now volunteer more as a result of the economic situation.

Human Appeal said: “The data clearly indicates that volunteers, particularly those who identify as BAME, need further support from both the organisations they work for and from the creation of new government policy and support systems.

“To understand how to better support volunteers, we should look not only at the personal costs incurred by volunteering, but also at the benefits that volunteers already gain from the experience.

“In some cases, it is not always possible for charities and organisations, many of which are heavily reliant on volunteers to continue operating, to provide financial support towards costs incurred. However, by increasing benefits in other areas, they can provide greater support to volunteers, and increase the social and economic benefit of volunteering.”

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