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« on: Aug 25, 2008 08:47 PM »

Muslim Hands for France Ramadan

By Hadi Yahmid, IOL Correspondent

PARIS — As French Muslims ready to greet the fast-approaching Ramadan, a Muslim charity is preparing to feed thousands of poor people and orphans in the European country during the fasting month.

"We hope our Ramadan campaign will be the real launch for the Muslim Hands charity in France," Kamal Al-Zein, the charity's exchequer, told

Established in 1993 in Britain, Muslim Hands is an international NGO offering help to people affected by poverty, natural disaster and conflict around the world.

It has offices in more than 40 countries worldwide and has partnership with world relief organizations including the UN Food Program and UN children's fund (UNICEF).

Based in Faubourg Saint Denis district in the capital Paris, Muslim Hands made its first steps in France last year.

"Over the past year, we focused on gaining a legal status to the group and promoting its activities," he said.

Now, the group is preparing to start its charity work.

"Ramadan will see the group's first real chairty activity in France."

Ramadan, the ninth month on the Islamic lunar calendar, will fall this year in early September.

In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

Food Packages

The Muslim charity is planning to distribute food packages among people affected by the soaring food prices.

"We have a deal with a local charity to distribute food packages during Ramadan to the needy, students, prisoners and refugees in La Courneuve in central France," said Zein.

Driven by the increased use of biofuels, the growing demand for grains to feed a booming Asia, droughts and market speculation, food prices have nearly doubled in three years.

This caused 50 million more people to go hungry last year, compared to the year before, according to UN figures.

"Our relief campaign is part of the Muslim Hands' work," said Zein.

"Last Ramadan, nearly 500,000 people from around the globe benefitted from our campaign."

The group is also running a series of projects for orphans and helping people affected by disasters and wars.

Zein said Muslim Hands hopes to make people financially independent.

"That is why we are running nearly 290 schools around the world, because education is the gateway to the job market and making a decent living."

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira

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