Saudi charities face funding crisis over terror fears



JEDDAH: KHADIJA HABEEB

Published — Friday 24 May 2013

Last update 24 May 2013 7:51 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

Credible Saudi charities are facing a funding crisis because of recent measures aimed at clamping down on terrorists using charities as fronts to raise funds and launder money.
A number of charity workers here are now concerned that their work in the community will suffer as wary donors hold on to their cash, and charities are limited in what they can take from donors.
Mohammad Al-Samri, an administrator at a charity in Makkah, said that projects have suffered because of a lack of money and not the "weakness of its professional staff."
She said the measures taken around donations have made many charity workers apprehensive.
Another worker at a local charity, who preferred to remain anonymous, said her organization has workers who are not convinced they are doing the right work. In addition, many charity workers have full-time jobs.
She said that charities in Saudi Arabia face two major challenges: funding and finding ways to institutionalize their work.
She said the red tape involved has seen many charities unable to receive donations.
Security expert Maj. Gen. Yahya Zaydi said the government had to introduce various control measures to root out "predators" who were taking advantage of charities to commit criminal acts.
“When the government organized this sector it was for security reasons because many of the donations that were collected in a haphazard manner went to individuals who were not eligible and most of it was going to be used against society and to non-peaceful ends,” he said.
“A reversal to the former situation is not right and doesn’t serve the objectives of the charitable sector,” he added.
He said the collection of donations should be made through clear channels so it would not be exploited and taken abroad for non-peaceful purposes. He said the disorganized manner in which money was collected had threatened the safety of local and international communities.
The Interior Ministry warned on more than one occasion through the media that fundraising has to go through the proper official channels.
Ahmad Al-Fadil, who has worked with charities for 16 years, agreed that there should be controls over how money is raised and spent.
He said the charity sector should "be organized and monitored" which includes assessing those working at these organizations. He said charities should be an integral part of Saudi society and be separated from those involved in "resistance and Jihad.”
Al-Fadil said charities must be used to contribute to the development and growth of society and must get proper funding.
He said charities could be used to provide important services. For example, if someone commits a felony, the person could do his or her community work at these charities.
Media can also be encouraged to give free advertising space all year for these bodies, he added.
He said the government should consider introducing a levy on companies to help revitalize the sector, provide qualified staff to lead these establishments or even send international specialists to train workers.
Al-Samri said charities should treat donors with respect. Their dealings should also be handled in a confidential manner.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom has shared very friendly relations with the United States since the beginning of bilateral ties in the 1930s when full diplomatic relations were established. Despite all the ups and downs in recent years on certain policies, especially on...
AL-NAIRIYA: Women in Al-Nairiya governorate have called on the government to only allow gender-based voting because they believe this would allow women to get places on the new municipal councils.Nouf Al-Otaibi, a businesswoman in the area, said men...
RIYADH: Women in Saudi Arabia have been allocated a package of services to ensure their development and employment, Labor Minister Mufrej Al-Haqabani said Tuesday.The minister was speaking at the first panel discussion at the second National Business...
JEDDAH: Security authorities in Turaif in the Northern Border Province have arrested a young man in his 20s for killing his parents and wounding his siblings at their house on Wednesday.The arrested man reportedly used a sharp object to kill his pare...
The Date and Palm Festival, organized by the Royal Commission for Jubail (RCJ) at the Al-Fanateer waterfront in Jubail Industrial City, has received more than 90,000 visitors since its launch last Thursday.In addition, on Sunday the event received mo...
JEDDAH: Over two million animals would be available for slaughter this Haj season, according to the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI).Suleiman Al-Jabri, chairman of the JCCI’s livestock traders committee, said that more than 1 million sh...

Stay Connected

Facebook