IRIN Examines Aid Funding In Muslim World

“Every year, somewhere between $200 billion and $1 trillion are spent in ‘mandatory’ alms [zakat] and voluntary charity [sadaqa] across the Muslim world, Islamic financial analysts estimate,” IRIN reports, noting, “At the low end of the estimate, this is 15 times more than global humanitarian aid contributions in 2011.” The news service writes, “With aid from traditional Western donors decreasing in the wake of a global recession, and with about a quarter of the Muslim world living on less than $1.25 a day, this represents a huge pool of potential in the world of aid funding.”

“Islam requires Muslims to give 2.5 percent of their wealth and assets to the poor every year,” and “[m]uch more is given in voluntary ‘sadaqa,'” IRIN notes. “Many countries have entire ministries of ‘zakat’ and ‘awqaf’ [religious endowments], but they are mistrusted, ineffective and badly managed, [economist Habib Ahmed] said,” the news service writes. “But as they wake up to the potential of proper ‘zakat’ management, some governments are making efforts to centralize the process, either directly through government, through non-profit corporations created by the government; or through hybrid systems, where [non-governmental organizations (NGOs)] also play a role in collecting ‘zakat,'” IRIN adds. In a separate article, the news service summarizes several initiatives aiming to improve the management of aid in the Muslim world (6/1).