UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has joined everyone observing Ramadan to call for peace, mutual respect and solidarity as Muslims worldwide celebrate Ramadan.
Mr Guterres, in a video message on Friday, drew a parallel between the spirit of “understanding and compassion”, which characterises Ramadan, and the mission of the United Nations, to foster dialogue, unity and peace.’’
“In these challenging times, my thoughts are with those facing conflict, displacement and suffering.
“Ramadan is also known as a ‘month of giving’, and a high point in charitable giving motivated by faith toward the displaced,’’ the UN chief said.
Meanwhile, in a new report, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) showed that its pioneering Refugee Zakat Fund had supported six million forcibly displaced people in 26 countries since its launch in 2017.
According to UNHCR, Islamic philanthropy plays a growing role in supporting refugees worldwide.
“We are new to this sector as a UN organisation,” Khaled Khalifa, Senior Advisor to the High Commissioner for Refugees and UNHCR Representative to Gulf Cooperation Council Countries, told reporters in Geneva.
UNHCR’s Islamic Philanthropy Annual Report showed that some $38 million were raised through the fund in 2022.
Mr Khalifa highlighted how harnessing the central role of charitable giving in Islam had been key to the initiative’s success.
He also pointed out that while resources from the fund were not exclusively dedicated to supporting refugees in Muslim countries, more than 50 per cent of the forcibly displaced under UNHCR’s global purview were in the Muslim world.
The agency listed the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh, the internal displacement situation in Yemen and the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon as the main “recipient operation” of proceeds from the fund since 2017.
The contributions were distributed through cash assistance and direct provision of goods.