So it appears that many of the Persian Gulf Arab states are not so giving as and charitable as they claim to be. The New York Times reports that as of Sunday both Saudi Arabia (the keeper of the holy Muslim sites) and Kuwait (which many nations spent a few billion dollars to free from Saddam Hussein’s hands) had pledged a mere $10 million each for the quake and tsunami victims. Of course, when criticism came Saudi Arabia upped their ante to a whopping $30 million! Considering that Kuwait this year alone has at least a $10 billion dollar budget surplus, it amazes me that they (i.e. the government of Kuwait) can be so stingy. It seems that their problems emenate from a combination of so many Muslim charities being shutdown because they were used for the dual purpose of funding terrorism and charity work as well and the concerns that Muslim money might find its way into the hands of “non-believers” as the L.A. times reports . I applaud the message of Dr. Sano Koutoub Moustapha who notes that:

“The Muslims among them fall under the category of needy people,” he wrote. “As for non-Muslims, they might deserve donation or any other form of assistance,” but not zakat.

Zakat is the religious tax a Muslim is obliged by the Koran to give to the needy. I find this a positive point of view which the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other Gulf states should pay heed to. I find it amazing that these oil rich states are not contributing more especially since the bulk of the victims at the present time are Muslims in Indonesia.
I do, however, find it interesting that in the matters of charity many modern movements of Judaism and Christianity both do not distinguish between the needy Jew, Muslim, Christian, Hindu or whomever. I’m not disparaging Islam in saying this but rather pointing out that perhaps Muslims should look beyond the “required” charity of the Koran and see that compassion and charity should be given to all of the world’s needy.
It shocks me that states like Saudi Arabia are willing to give untold millions of dollars to organizations like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups (including some in Indonesia, Thailand, and elsewhere in the affected region) but yet are extremely stingy when it comes to helping the victims of this horrible tragedy. These states should lower their collective heads in shame and look to G-d’s message about love and compassion and re-evaluate their desire to heed this message.

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