Kurdish media is reporting that the Kurdish Muslim Brotherhood is attempting to win the right to receive chairty donations after the Iraqi Kurdish government cut funding for Islamist opposition parties several months ago. According to the report:
Islamic parties in Kurdistan are controversially claiming the right to receive alms, known as zakat, during the holy month of Ramadan as they struggle to raise revenue after the government cut funding to opposition parties. Kurdistan’s Islamic parties maintain that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) was their only source of revenue, which cut off the parties’ funding several months ago. They claim they can receive alms because of their Islamic ideology, while critics say political parties are not religiously entitled to monetary contributions from the public. Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam that requires every Muslim who is financially able to annually donate money to the poor, a traveler in need, the sick, the collectors of the zakat, the needy and individuals who proselytize the faith. Musa Habib, a Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) party leader, told Rudaw that Islamic parties are entitled in the Koran to receive alms from the people because they are spreading the word of God. Habib believes it is healthy to discuss this issue so that people understand that “it is permissible to give alms to the Islamic parties”. KIU, Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal), and the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan (IMK) are three licensed Islamic Parties in Iraqi Kurdistan and have been politically active since the 1980s.However, Dr. Arafat Karam Mustafa, the secretary-general of the Islamic Thought Forum in Iraqi Kurdistan, said, “It is not permissible in any way to give alms to parties because parties are not among the categories of people that God has designated eligible for alms.” Mustafa argues that Kurdistan’s Islamic parties only serve their own interests instead of humanity or Islam.
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The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood had earlier identified the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in Kurdistan. The BBC has a short profile on the KIU:
Also known as Yekgirtu, the Kurdish Islamic Union is the largest Islamic organisation in Iraqi Kurdistan. It was formally established in 1994. The group’s leaders fought the 1992 legislative elections in Kurdish-controlled Iraq, winning third place behind the KDP and PUK. The party is currently led by Secretary-General Sheikh Salah al-Din Muhammad Baha al-Din. The party is supported mainly by donations from Saudi Islamic organisations. Active in charity work in the region, the party has been building mosques, clinics and schools in rural areas, where it has a strong following.
For the KIU website, go here.