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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Anwar: Not right for Muslims to shun help from other faiths

Sulaiman Kamal | 12:16 AM | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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PETALING JAYA - Muslims should not discourage others from giving aid to poor Muslims as it is incumbent upon all to help those in need, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today.
“We should not stop... anyone, any race, any religious denominations, from undertaking or taking any initiative to assist anyone,” the opposition leader told reporters at the PKR headquarters here.

Churches have asked that they be given the freedom to help the poor regardless of race and creed, amid allegations that Christians were trying to convert Muslims through welfare work.
The issue arose after Selangor religious authorities raided a thanksgiving dinner earlier this month at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) after receiving a tip-off that Muslims there were being proselytised.
Selangor religious councillor Datuk Hasan Ali announced yesterday that the state government has set up a “faith rescue unit”, or Unit Selamat Aqidah, to look into problems faced by poor Muslims that may lead them to forsake their religion.
The unit will work with the Selangor Zakat Board and voluntary organisations concerned about the issue, adding that the board will name officials who will process applications for aid.
Muslims who take aid from churches and Christian organisations have complained of the difficulty in getting disbursements from zakat (Islamic alms) offices.
But Anwar cautioned today that efforts to ease the doling out of zakat payments to the needy should not only be pursued as a reaction to Christian efforts.
“It should not be a reaction to the initiative of others... We have the means, we have the resources. Just do it,” he said.
He added that state zakat funds must be managed transparently to ensure that aid meant for the poor reaches them instead of billions being lost to alleged corruption within the system.

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