In an article titled ‘Pioneers in Charitable Action’ on November 3, colleague Bader Al-Bahr mentioned a story about the late Yusuf Al-Fulaij, the treasurer of the People’s Committee was aboard a flight in the economy class which coincided with his friend Suleiman Al-Shaheen travelling first class.
He said Al-Shaheen went to salute him and invited him to a first class seat but Al-Bahr rejected the offer saying he is on an official mission related to the work of the People’s Committee whose members are committed to travel economy class when they are on missions.
The People’s Committee was headed by the late Abdul Aziz Hamad Al-Saqr; and late Muhammad Al-Kharafi, the late Marzouq Al-Marzouq, the late Bader Al-Salem, the late Jassem Al-Qatami, the late Muhammad Yousef Al-Nisf and the eminent Abdul Aziz Al-Shayea, were members all of whom do not need my introduction of the people integrity. My work in the bank made me familiar with many of the activities of the committee and accounts and the donors, and actually they were the topmost in integrity and ethics.
In his article, colleague Bader Al-Bahr brilliantly compared the behavior of these dignitaries and the behavior of the majority of those who run the charity societies these days who have exhausted the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor for at least 30 years with their violations and abuses and their use of deputies and top influential figures in the government to stop monitoring their actions.
The colleague wondered why the charities, for example, refused to respond to the simplest questions regarding the proportion of what they are deducting for the so-called ‘administrative expenses’ from what they receive in the form of donations and why they fear transparency in their work?
He also mentioned that these deductions were suspicious, and efforts were continuing to know the proportion of deduction until it is stopped; because it is not legally permissible, in his view.
The basis for charity work is that the supervisors of these associations do not have the right to receive material benefit for their voluntary work, Al-Bahr added.
I would like to add here that Al-Bahr did not mention that many of these associations give themselves the right to deduct 20% of each donation to be distributed in the way that suits them, and often goes to the recipient of the donation under the pretext of religious text. Those who see otherwise can respond to me and I am ready to apologize.
Al-Bahr cited a religious political party got a fatwa that says that it is permissible to use Zakat funds to support the campaigns of party’s candidates. Another fatwa states that it is permissible in non-Muslim countries only, because the elections are a kind of jihad in those countries. This is a concrete proof that some of the religious parties of Kuwait interfere in the affairs and elections of other countries.
On this occasion, I would like to express to the distinguished colleague and to all readers that at the Kuwait Human Friendship Society we have established a binding text that forbid any employee or any of the members of the Board of Directors of the Society to benefit from any percentage of donated money in any form.
We hope the charities will abide by this policy, at least in the light of transparency and honesty. We say that and we are aware that it is not easy for many of them to adhere to such a thing.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf