Sheikh Hamad bin Nasser Al Thani, president of Qatar Charity, and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi have signed an agreement to support more than 30,000 vulnerable Syrian refugee families living in Jordan and Lebanon. The accord is connected to a contribution of more than 10 million dollars by Qatar Charity, which will go towards the UNHCR's Zakat Initiative.
"Zakat" is the religious obligation of "purification" set forth in the Quran through paying a certain amount of personal wealth to specifically established beneficiaries. The donation will contribute to ensure the necessary financial assistance needed for more than 150,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan through the end of 2018.
The zakat for refugees
UNHCR said in a statement that it is the first UN agency to provide an efficient and trusted way for people to fulfil zakat obligations, highlighting that 100 percent of zakat contributions go directly to those most in need.
UNHCR said its Zakat Initiative is fully compliant with the principle of Islamic social financing and has been endorsed by a number of leading Islamic scholars and institutions. It said the aim of the initiative is to help refugees, who are entitled to receive zakat, through the provision of monthly cash grants to address their most essential needs, including rent, food, education and healthcare.
High Commissioner Grandi praised Qatar Charity's collaboration with UNHCR. "Qatar Charity's donation to the UNHCR Zakat Initiative is groundbreaking. The generosity of tens of thousands of people in donating their zakat contributions to refugees in need is an exemplary act of solidarity".
1.6 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan
Over 1.6 million Syrian refugees are registered with UNHCR in Lebanon and Jordan, with the vast majority of them living below the poverty line (approximately 89 percent of refugees in Jordan and 71 percent in Lebanon). It is estimated that some 1.2 million refugees living in the Middle East and North Africa region are eligible for cash assistance.
Qatar Charity Chairman Sheikh Hamad bin Nasser Al Thani highlighted the importance of supporting Syrian refugees. "Syrian refugees face difficulties beyond imagination to meet their basic needs, after having struggled to seek safety and often after seven years of displacement. We must therefore do everything we can to support those who are victims of circumstances beyond their control," he said.