To help Libyan refugees who have fled their beleaguered country, The Organization of The Islamic Conference (OIC) has set up two field hospitals and provided ambulances on the Tunisian and Egyptian borders with Libya. The OIC also plans to provide temporary shelters for 10,000 people and hand out flour, sugar, rice, canned food and infant formula.
Yet, when most Americans think of Muslims and Arabs, they probably think of what they see most in media coverage – conflict, extremism, suicide bombings, surging energy costs, and uprisings. There is a good chance Arab philanthropy never crosses their minds.
Throughout the Arab world, there is a quiet social movement underway. It is a movement to strike at the core problems of Middle East poverty, lack of education, and stagnant social change. This movement is Institutionalized Philanthropy, and it is gaining ground in the Arab world where charitable giving (Zakat, the Islamic version of tithing) is being augmented by giving for development and social inclusion – building schools, housing the homeless, and allowing greater civic participation.
Arab businessmen are not only helping Libyan refugees, they are investing to combat poverty and its inherent destructive ills, and to bring sustainable social change to the Middle East. That is a great thing for America and the world.
For facts and details:
Organization of the Islamic Conference
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation
The Arab American Institute: