First ever Forum on Islamic charity in Russia
A Forum on Islamic charity took place for the first time in Russia in the framework of II International Summit of Islamic Businesses and Finances in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan.
The round table “Muslim Charitable Activity in Russian Society: Problems and Perspectives” was initiated by non-profitable Islamic Business and Finances Development Foundation (IBFD-Foundation) and working in partnership with international community of philanthropists and charitable organizations. The aim of the round table was to mobilize financial and human resources for the common good of humanity.
“We feel that there are some organizations today engaged in charitable activity, there are businesses that ought to become partners of these organizations, but unfortunately until now there hasn’t been worked out a common strategy on the part of the state as well as on the part of businesses”, – with these words opened the round table president of IBFD Foundation and organizer of Kazan summit Linar Yakupov. He introduced guests of the Forum and pointed out that the event gathered quite a big number of foreign participants.
Philanthropists abroad are under the impression that the tough legislation approved in Russia in 2007 concerning NGOs as well as suspicious attitude towards Muslim community have caused the actual absence of Islamic organizations’ representatives in the field of charity in this country. Such conclusion could be drawn from a report by Founder&CEO president Dr. Tariq Shima, leader of World Congress of Muslim Sponsors. “In USA as well as in Russia create barriers for development of Islamic NGOs”, said Tariq Shima. According to him in Russia there are 220.000 NGOs but the number of Islamic organizations is extremely small.
But according to president of Russian charitable foundation Solidarity Lilia Muchamedyarova, the reason for this absence of active Islamic charitable organizations lies in social passivity of muslims themselves rather than counteraction by the state.
“Our desire to help the poor and destitute can sometimes get broken against the indifference of the officials on whom depends the future of children. But the same feel all the non-religious philanthropists too”, said Lilia Mukhamedyarova. She illustrated her words with the following example: the Foundation made a proposal to Nizhni Novgorod Region officials, to finance a training course for children’s home staff. “So that they would not only feed the children and give them to drink. So that the instructors there would get the children into foster families and work with their blood-related families that can go wrong and loose their children. We received a reply from the Department of Social Protection: “The State itself will solve the problem of getting the children into foster families. And you may keep giving charitable aid to the orphanage as before (the Foundation has financed some repairs in the orphanage to the amount of about half-a-million roubles – approximately $16.000). Such was the official answer”, – confided president of Solidarity Foundation.
She believes it is a big problem that the state has managed to impose taxes even on the people in need who perceive charitable donations. Nowadays these people are liable to pay income tax on the derivative charitable aid.
“For the first time in Russia Solidarity Foundation has launched a program “You are not an orphan!” This is what many Islamic charitable foundations around the world are practicing – to provide monthly allowance for orphans from poor families. But now we are worrying whether there will come, starting with the second month, a tax inspector to grandmother of little Magomed to collect his recompense form a thousand roubles (about $33) of our monthly allowance,” – Lilia Mukhamedyarova said.
The main principles of solving the problems of those in need exist on the level of state, charitable funds and sponsors can only assist in settling them, noted the participants of the round table.
According to Murat Galeyev, chairman of muslim organization Wakf from Kazan, there also exist some problems concerning Russian legislation in the field of inalienable religious property “wakf”. The legislature of Russian Federation doesn’t regulate such religious aspects in the field of charitable activity. Murad Galeyev pointed out that it is necessary to move in the direction of creating universal and effective forms of wakf in Russia.
In conclusion of the event there were made some proposals to join efforts of charities, philanthropists and businesses thus making their work more effective for the benefit of society.