For Muslims, the holy month of Ramadan – which began on 18 June 2015 – is a time for benevolence, fasting and generosity. As well as performing daily prayer rituals and fasting between sunrise and sunset, giving money to charity to benefit the poor and needy, known as Zakat, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam – and many Muslims choose to make their donations during Ramadan.
Jacqui Kennedy, Director of Regulation and Enforcement, looks at the risks Muslims may face from unscrupulous businesses as they observe Ramadan.
Unfortunately some uncharitable individuals see this as an opportunity to take advantage of people’s generosity during their religious observance.
Previously our officers have seized monies donated to illegal charity collections, including one claiming to be collecting on behalf of an Islamic charity.
According to the Charity Commission, only two in five charity donors make checks when approached for donations, thus allowing bogus collectors to take vital funds away from deserving charities.
So, to be sure that your donations will actually benefit the charity, here are some tips:
- When approached by collectors, check that they have proper ID and that they have a sealed collection tin.
- If in doubt ask for more information about the charity and its work. Genuine fundraisers should be happy to answer questions.
- People authorised to collect donations in the street or house-to-house will have a permit issued by Birmingham City Council, if in doubt ask to see this.
- Genuine fundraising materials will feature the charity’s name, registered name, charity number and a landline contact number. Be wary of those that only list a mobile number.
- Also look out for the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) tick logo. This indicates that a charity has signed up to fundraising legislation, encouraging people to give with confidence. For more info, visit: www.givewithconfidence.org.uk