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Ulema departs for Syria

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A delegation of humanitarians, from a dual initiative by the Darul Islam Relief Fund (DARF) and Muslimaat Li Ajlil in Saniyah (Women in Support of Humanity), departed for Turkey on Wednesday afternoon, to distribute aid to the various refugee camps on the Syrian border. The delegation was headed by Sheikh Irfaan Abrahams, and also included former Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) president Sheikh Ebrahim Gabriels and volunteer Adiel Fredericks.

The initiative is part of a broader project by Turkish humanitarian organisation IHH, which comprises of 30 non-governmental organisations from around the world, to provide aid during the month of Ramadan to those affected by the civil war in Syria.

According to Muslimaat Li Ajlil in Saniyah’s Wiedaad Fester, the initiative was part of their Zamillooni project, aimed at clothing those affected by the crisis during the winter months. They then decided to collaborate with DARF, to raise funds for the IHH’s drive to fill containers for the Syrian refugees.

Abasia Jackson said they had raised funds through various awareness programmes at mosques and schools, in order to raise the necessary funds towards the containers. On the side of DARF, representatives of the group visited all nine provinces in South Africa, with the aim of seeing each province raise enough funds for a container of their own. She was unable to provide the exact estimate of how much was raised, but noted their initial target had been to raise R1.2 million.

Jackson said there was a mix of emotions in the air, before the group departed. She said the members of the delegation were mostly looking forward to seeing firsthand the children of Syria.

“As Sheikh Ebrahim Gabriels said before he left the Masjid, what he is most looking forward to is seeing the smile on the faces of the kids of Syria,” she said.

The group are slated to attend an international conference in Istanbul on Friday, set up by the IHH for all non-governmental organisation involved in the initiative. After that, they will travel to the various refugee camps where the aid will be distributed.

“So you can see this is going to be a really big initiative, and we are happy to be a part of it,” said Fester.

The delegation is expected to return to South Africa next Friday.

For more information on how you can contribute to this initiative, contact Wiedaad Fester at 074 136 1059 or Mualima Fatima Abrahams at 082 460 5689. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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