Stop Seeking Publicity for Aid Given to the Needy during Ramadhan

Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) calls on Muslim organisations, Ministers, politicians and community leaders to avoid seeking publicity for distribution of aid to needy Muslims during Ramadhan.

It has become a recent practice to publicise widely the aid given to the poor and needy for Eid al-Fitri celebrations. Events are organized, often in mosques, attended by prominent Muslim leaders, and contributions collected from the public are distributed to the needy. The recipients are called one by one to receive the aid package from the leaders which is photographed and later published in newspapers, electronic and social media.

We appreciate the initiative taken by the organisers to help the needy during Eid al-Fitri but we suggest that it be done without publicity. It is demeaning for the aid recipient to have his poverty status broadcast to the public at large. None of us would like to be in his position. We must protect his/her dignity and status.

The poor should not be treated as objects of charity to get publicity and improve the image of organisations and their leaders. This is a common practice in the West by corporate leaders to hide the exploitation and environmental destruction for which they are responsible, and to get honours from the State. We should not follow their deceitful example.

Allah s.w.t. commands Muslims to practice charity, and it would be better to “conceal it and pay it to the needy in secret”. The left hand should not know what the right hand gives.

We believe it will be more rewarding for the charity givers to visit the needy in their homes to deliver the aid. In this way, they will have a better understanding of their living conditions to enable them to find ways to lift the unfortunate ones out of poverty.

Press Statement, 4 June 2018