Surge in Ramadan Charity Work Reflection of Islam’s Values

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Paris, March 14 (QNA) – Several representatives of the Islamic community, as well as heads of associations and charitable organizations in France, affirmed that humanitarian charity work during the month of Ramadan is witnessing a significant surge, a clear reflection of the values of compassion in Islam.

In exclusive statements to Qatar News Agency (QNA), they explained that the holy month represents a crucial opportunity for solidarity, fraternity, intensifying charitable activities, and providing social assistance to the Muslim community. They highlighted the remarkable participation of Muslim youth in France in attending mosques, performing Taraweeh prayers, and volunteering in charitable deeds, cooperation, religious practices, and commitments.

For his part, Aboubakr El Bakri, who serves as Deputy Chairman of the French Council for the Muslim Faith and representative of the Islamic community and Secretary-General of the Regional Council for the city of Nice (southeast France), pointed out the presence of around 40 mosques in the Alpes-Maritimes region (southeastern France), to which the city of Nice belongs. This region houses 20 mosques and associations divided into four major mosques: Al Rahma, Al Furqan, Al Nur, and Al Salam. He noted that these mosques experience a significant influx of worshippers during the holy month, especially during Taraweeh prayers and Fridays, with around 3000 worshippers in each mosque.

El Bakri estimated the Muslim community in the city of Nice to be around 30,000 residents, compared to the total population of approximately 348,000. He emphasized the efforts of the Regional Council for Islamic Affairs in Nice to provide social, humanitarian, and charitable support to this community, especially during such symbolic religious occasions.

He highlighted that mosques and associations in Nice allocate a considerable amount of charitable activities, providing social assistance to the Islamic community by offering about 300 iftar meals in each mosque. The number of iftar meals provided by the four major mosques in Nice rises to around 1200 daily, with a budget of approximately 20,000 Euros, and over half a million euros throughout the entire month of Ramadan.

El Bakri emphasized that the last ten days of Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr witness a peak in donations, charitable activities, and humanitarian efforts, noting that what distinguishes charitable work in mosques in Nice is the strong bond among the Muslim community members, the spiritual enlightenment, and the joy that fills their lives as they donate and assist in bringing joy and smiles to orphans and those in need.

On the other hand, Abdel Salam Hamdoush, who represents the Muslim community in the city and mosque of Evry-Courcouronnes, and the Secretary-General of the Cultural Association of Muslims in Ile-de-France (Paris and its suburbs), emphasized that the association dedicates a lot of humanitarian charitable activities, providing social assistance to the Islamic community by offering Iftar meals to needy families. He pointed out that the Evry-Courcouronnes mosque and the other nearby mosques in the city are open to all segments of society, including the needy, the poor, the homeless, and immigrants, especially students studying at the city’s university, providing them with over 300 Iftar meals daily.

Hamdoush clarified, in exclusive statements to the Qatar News Agency (QNA), that the large cultural association, which includes about 43 mosques and associations, intensifies its solidarity charitable activities during the blessed month, witnessing a significant influx of volunteers and donors, especially during the last ten days and Eid Al Fitr.

In conclusion, Hamdoush emphasized to QNA the significant humanitarian, scientific, cultural, and religious role played by the houses of Allah during the month of Ramadan, especially with the unprecedented interest of the youth of the Muslim communities in Evry-Courcouronnes city and in France in general, in doing good, solidarity, religiousness, and delving into the noble principles and values of Islam.

Meanwhile, Rashid Al Hallou, President of the International French Islamic Aid Organization, pointed out that the charitable organization’s activities encompass many countries around the world, especially those experiencing tensions, wars, disasters, and crises, explaining that they do not cease throughout the year but peak during the blessed month.

In exclusive statements to QNA, he emphasized that the trend of charitable activities of the organization has been continuously increasing this year compared to the previous year, due to the numerous emergencies and crises currently experienced worldwide, with the number of beneficiaries during this year’s Ramadan exceeding 200,000 individuals and families, compared to 192,000 vulnerable people internationally last year.

He added that the budget for social and humanitarian activities for 2024 exceeds 50 million Euros, compared to 41.7 million Euros last year and 37.5 million Euros in 2021, with this budget divided into 38.5 million Euros for international missions (in 20 countries), and 3.2 million Euros for social missions in France.”
The president of the organization, with a budget of 70 million Euros, explained that the majority of the organization’s budget allocated for international missions this year will be for Palestine, due to the ongoing war and difficult conditions in Gaza. He pointed out that the Islamic Relief has been distributing aid and vital food supplies to tens of thousands of people facing critical situations in Gaza and the occupied territories since last January.

The distributions continued in February and March, with the organization distributing food aid to 7,000 individuals in the West Bank and Eid gifts to 670 children. He noted that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is extremely serious to the extent that everyone, without exception, needs assistance. Therefore, food parcels are vital support as they help beneficiaries to continue, both through their nutritional value and the comfort they provide them.

It is worth mentioning that the number of Muslims in France reached about 5 million, according to the latest official figures released in 2018. However, representatives of the Islamic community in France told QNA that the correct number today exceeds 6.5 million Muslims, especially if we add to them Muslims without residency permits. The numbers also indicate the existence of about 2,500 mosques across France, including approximately 400 mosques in the Ile-de-France region (Paris and its suburbs) and about 350 mosques in the French overseas territories, according to the same previous sources.

Mohamed Heniche, who serves as President of the Union of Mosques and Islamic Associations in the Saint-Denis district of Paris, explained that Ramadan presents a significant opportunity to intensify humanitarian charitable activities and to get closer to the Islamic community, providing them with assistance to overcome the difficult economic conditions, especially in the suburban areas of Paris, which suffer from poverty, low incomes, and marginalization amid the economic crisis and inflation affecting France and Europe.

Heniche, in exclusive statements to QNA, pointed out that the population of the Saint-Denis district, according to official statistics for 2019, is approximately 654.1 million residents, including over 900,000 Muslims. He highlighted that this significant number of Muslims provides a strong impetus for charitable activities, demonstrating great solidarity among the members of the Islamic community, especially during the holy month.

He confirmed that the Union, which oversees and includes more than 100 mosques in the Saint-Denis district, provides about 20,000 meals daily, averaging 200 meals in each mosque. Additionally, they distribute “Ramadan baskets” daily to 50 families, consisting of essential food items and supplies distributed to needy families throughout Ramadan.

He added that they also distribute approximately 500 ready-made meals shortly before the Maghrib prayer to the homeless and undocumented immigrants in specific locations such as Porte de la Chapelle, Porte de la Villette, and Gare du Nord, known for the concentration of these vulnerable groups deprived of care and social support.

Heniche emphasized that the holy month represents a crucial opportunity for mosques and charitable organizations to raise funds for mosque construction projects, expansion, and equipping, especially with the significant turnout witnessed during Taraweeh prayers and Eid al-Fitr.

He explained that Ramadan also presents an opportunity for municipal officials and representatives of districts to approach members of the Muslim community, showing their solidarity with them by sharing iftar meals with them in mosques and places of worship.

In conclusion, Heniche emphasized to QNA that charitable activities in Ramadan this year will have a special focus on expanding and intensifying solidarity nights with the Palestinian people, particularly in Gaza, through a clear program and strategy. He noted that each mosque in France, especially those in the Saint-Denis district, typically allocates nights to collect donations specifically for Palestine and Gaza through specialized associations in this regard. (QNA)

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