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UK Muslims are participating in Ramadan’s giving spirit by sending money abroad and volunteering locally.

UK donors give on average more than £130 million ($160 million) to charity during Ramadan, a charity has revealed.

These are only estimates, however, as some Muslims choose to send their zakat money abroad or give it to family, the Muslim Charities Forum said.

Charity begins at home

Londoner Alaa Hamdy sends her money to a UK charity that helps Muslims in the UK.

“The charity [I donate to] supports asylum seekers and those who need help the most in the UK,” she said.

“I find this more reassuring and quicker to send my zakat money to. I would like to be able to send money to other countries, too, soon, but for now, it’s going to those closer to home.”

Mariam Ibrahim, a digital creator from Stanford, said that it wasn’t only about money for her. She volunteers in a local scout group and teaches children about Ramadan.

“Muslims are a minority where I live. We create activities for the second and third generations who probably don’t know much about Islam,” she said.

“The activities are cultural and social, from games to group activities and camping. The idea is to teach them what they need to know about Islam, fasting, praying and other pillars of Islam.”

Ms Ibrahim also gives money to charity and helps raise cash for various causes each year.

This year, her focus is Malawi, where recent tropical storms left more than 200 dead and displaced hundreds of thousands.

Sohail Hanif, chief executive of NZF, said more UK Muslims are becoming aware of the increasing demand within their own communities, resulting in a rise in donations last year.

The UK’s National Zakat Foundation has received thousands or requests to help with the rising cost of living.

 “NZF receives an application for help every 40 minutes. In the last 30 days alone, we have received more than 5,000 applications for help, but have only been able to support just over 2,000.”

Despite this, there remains a lingering reluctance among some to ask for assistance, and NZF aims to promote the message that seeking help should not be a source of shame.

Sending zakat to homelands

Other British Muslims, mindful of the financial situations affecting their home countries, decide to send their zakat there.

Sarah Rafie, a London accountant, said that she prefers to send money home to Egypt. But rather than using charities and other organizations, she asks her family to find those who need help.

“I opened a bank account specifically for this reason. Throughout the year, I add money to the account. I sent the debit card to my mum back home and she can withdraw the money whenever she finds someone who needs help.

It can be gathered that while some do their charities within UK , some to their Homelands while some extend to other countries as the demands for help is rising .

The National News/ Zainab . Y. Hamza

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