26 November 2003
Blasts Drive Against Charities
JEDDAH, 26 November 2003 — The imam of the Grand Mosque
in Makkah yesterday lambasted a “Western campaign”
against Islamic charitable organizations and emphasized the
need for charity work to counter poverty and crime and promote
better human relations.
Addressing the more than one million faithful who thronged
the huge mosque complex to attend Eid Al-Fitr prayers, Dr.
Saleh Bin-Humaid, who is chairman of the Shoura Council, said
some 70 percent of the world’s needy were Muslims.
warned that any moves to hamper charity work would bring catastrophe.
“It will end support and cooperation between people...the
hungry will die of hunger and selfishness will rule the world
as the wolves of humanity prey on the weak,” he said.
The imam said the “smear campaign” had led to
the freezing of charity funds, confiscation of assets and
closure of organizations. It had also hit philanthropists
and businesses supporting charity.
A number of Western countries say that funds from some Islamic
charities have ended up in the coffers of terrorist organizations,
and commentators in parts of the Western media who are unfamiliar
with the region have extrapolated that all Islamic charities
finance terrorism. But prominent Saudi charities like the
Muslim World League, the World Assembly of Muslim Youth and
the Haramain Foundation deny the allegation.
In his sermon, Sheikh Bin-Humaid urged well-to-do Muslims
to bring relief to orphans and the poor. “No Islamic
country or organization or individual can give up or neglect
charity work because it is part of our faith and worship,”
The Shoura chief said it was the duty of Muslim leaders, writers,
intellectuals, and journalists to stand firm against allegations
in parts of the Western media and highlight the truth. Bin-Humaid
slammed a “double standard” in dealing with charitable
organizations, saying big charities elsewhere were working
without obstacles and without facing constant accusations.
But the imam urged Islamic charities to carry out their work
transparently and abide by regulations. “They must monitor
their revenue and expenditure, and must do this noble work
responsibly and with good intentions,” he said.