RIYADH, 13 November 2002 — Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, the grand mufti, yesterday blasted the smear campaign being launched by certain sections of the Western media to discredit Saudi charitable societies. “Our charities are supporting the poor and working for the good of humanity,” he said.
The grand mufti was addressing a fund-raising ceremony organized by the International Islamic Relief Organization, World Assembly of Muslim Youth and Al-Haramain Charitable Foundation at Riyadh Inter.Continental.
Riyadh Governor Prince Salman and Saleh Al-Sheikh, minister of Islamic affairs, endowments, call and guidance and other top officials attended the event.
Ali ibn Abdullah Al-Jerais, director of IIRO’s office in Riyadh, highlighted the importance of charitable activities in supporting the poor and victims of calamities in various parts of the world. He said the IIRO has established 4,400 mosques and sponsored about 209,000 orphans in various parts of the world.
There are 241 charitable societies in the Kingdom, which provide educational, medical, social, financial and religious services to the needy within and outside the country. Jerais said the IIRO runs 121 health centers and hospitals, 340 educational institutions and several orphanages. It has also constructed 1,615 wells and published millions of copies of Islamic books and pamphlets.
He said the World Assembly of Muslim Youth had spent more than SR429 million during the past five years on various Islamic and charitable projects around the world.
Jerais disclosed IIRO’s plan to establish dialysis centers and sponsor 10,000 orphans within the Kingdom in cooperation with other organizations. IIRO will allocate SR50 million for these projects, he added.