Every year, Muslims donate millions of dollars to Islam-based charities, including those in the United States, during the holy month of Ramadan (this year, from May 15 to June 15).
The religion stipulates that Muslims must donate 2.5 percent of their wealth once a year to help the poor and needy, called zakat, an Arab term meaning “that which purifies.”
Although zakat can be given to any charity, including those that are not Muslim, the top three nonprofit Islamic charity groups in the United States receive a sizable amount of the donations.
“The idea is that the rich would give to the poor. It’s a way of getting close to almighty God,” said Belkacem Nahi, regional manager for Islamic Relief USA in Alexandria, Virginia, the largest nonprofit Muslim charity in the United States.