Neighbours in Need
Neighbours in Need is iCare’s flagship local Zakat & Sadaqa funds programme. Over the years there has been a growing need for local charitable distribution and in particular the local distribution of zakat.
UK has seen an increase in refugees and asylum seekers escaping war, famine and poverty from their homelands. With the situation in the Middle East worse than it has ever been, over the last 5 years in particular with the war in Syria and steady stream of refugees migrating from Iraq, Afghanistan and other neighbouring countries, the West has seen tens of thousands of refugees arriving on a daily basis. According to the British Red Cross there are an estimated 60 million people throughout the world that have been forced to flee their homes. With the increase in conflicts worldwide we now have 15 million refugees worldwide.
There are an estimated 117,000 refugees living in the UK. The UK received 38,878 asylum applications in 2015 and just 45% of those applicants were granted asylum and allowed to stay in the country. Many are initially refused because it is difficult to provide the evidence needed to meet the strict criteria of a refugee.
It is important to understand the difference between the terminology. For many people, the terms ‘refugee’, asylum seeker’ and ‘migrant’ have been blurred, however they mean very different things. Here is a quick break-down of what these terms mean:
- Flees their homeland
- Arrives in another country whichever way the can
- Makes themselves known to the authorities
- Submits an asylum application
- Has a legal right to stay in the country while awaiting a decision
- Has proven to the authorities that they would be at risk if returned to their homeland
- Has had their asylum accepted by the government
- Can stay here either for a long-term period or indefinitely
Refused Asylum Seeker
- Has been unable to prove that they would face persecution back in their homeland
- Has been denied protection by the authorities
- Must now leave the country, unless they wish to appeal the decision or there are legitimate reasons why they cannot return home
- Has moved to another country for work purposes
- Could be legally or illegally resident, depending on how they entered the country
- May or may not have a legal work permit
It must also be said that refugees have a legal right under UK and international law to bring their families over to the UK to join them. British Red Cross figures show that at least 580 Syrian refugees came to the UK under a family reunion visa between January and September 2016, including 280 children. Many of whom arrived directly from areas of the country that is under extreme attack such as Aleppo. (British Red Cross)
There is a misconception that asylum seekers come to the UK to claim benefits. The fact is that most know nothing about the UK’s welfare benefits before they arrive and had no expectation that they would receive financial support. As well as this, almost all asylum seekers are not allowed to work and are forced to rely on state support – this can be as little as £5 a day to live on. (‘Tell it like it is’ – Refugee Council)
Zakat is an obligatory act of worship and one of the five pillars of Islam. Allah SWT has commanded Muslims to give a portion of their wealth to ensure that those who are most in need do not go without the basic provisions at the very least.
Zakat refers to the determined share of wealth prescribed by Allah SWT (which is a minimum of 2.5%) to be distributed to people who are entitled to receive it. It is only obligatory on Muslim adults who completely own a certain minimum amount of wealth (nisab).
When the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) instructed his companion Muadh to go to Yemen he said, “O Muadh! You are going to a community who are of the People of the Book. So, first invite them to bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. If they accept this, then inform them that Allah makes five prayers in a day and night obligatory for them. If they accept this, then inform them that Allah makes charity (i.e., Zakat) obligatory for them. (It is) to be taken from their rich and given to their poor.” (Bukhari)
Based on the last part of this hadith, all four schools of jurisprudence (madhabs) establish that as a rule Zakat should be distributed locally.
The iCare Approach
iCare has recognised that there is a severe need for zakat distribution in the UK. With our UKIM network all across the country we are in a strong position to collect and distribute funds collected. iCare aims to join the approach of distributing zakat funds within the UK since we are seeing a growing stream of people arriving in the UK in need of support. Not only are there people arriving from abroad that need support but there are families and individuals in the UK that could require support. We are working in the UK to support:
- The homeless & destitute
- Refugees & asylum seekers
- Food poverty relief projects
- New Muslims
- And much more
Apply for help
If you or someone you know is in need of our help, fill in an application form today. Please read our guidelines before applying. Our team will review your application and be in touch to discuss your needs further.