With approximately 3.5 million Muslims living in the U.S., Islam is the third largest religion in the country. Projected to become the nation’s second-largest religious group by 2040, American Muslim giving offers robust potential for long-term growth, and in 2020, we initiated a fundraising strategy to reach Muslim Americans during Ramadan and for Zakat giving. Ramadan is a holy month of fasting, worship and charitable giving observed by Muslims all over the world, and during Ramadan, much charitable giving is done by the community. Zakat – which in Arabic means purification, growth and blessing – is a religious obligation for Muslims and one of the five pillars of Islam.
To help facilitate Zakat giving, UNHCR established the Zakat Fund for Refugees, which is fully compliant and backed by five fatwas from leading scholars and institutions. Our work across select channels resulted in more than $775,000 total raised from nearly 9,000 donors. The entirety of the collected Zakat was distributed to approved recipients – refugees and those displaced by war and persecution. This success reinforced our commitment to expanding USA for UNHCR’s Islamic philanthropy work.