Ramadan is upon us and almost three million Muslims in the UK are observing the Holy Month.
It’s a special time of year: the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar involves fasting during daylight hours, quiet reflection and giving to those less fortunate.
Last year, British Muslims gave more than £100 million to charity, making us the most generous charity givers of any group in the UK.
Giving is very rewarding, and is a core principle of Ramadan.
This Holy Month, The ATM appeals for anyone donating to charity to consider the plight of millions of Somalis who are suffering acute food insecurity and at risk of famine.
Recently, the World Health Organisation issued a stark warning that Somalia was at risk of suffering its third famine in just 25 years. It’s not the first time the country has been hit by food shortages – in 2011 an estimated 260,000 people died through famine.
According to the United Nations, more than 6 million people in Somalia – half its population – are already facing “acute food insecurity”.
We cannot allow this to happen to our brothers and sisters in Somalia. There is only a small window of opportunity to prevent disaster and show the people of Somalia that we care.
What better time to do this than during Ramadan, a time when the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims unite in caring for others?
Many of those at risk are children. The Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit in Somalia says that over 363,000 acutely malnourished children need urgent treatment, around 71,000 are classed as severely malnourished.
The UN warning that an “immediate and massive” response is needed to avoid a complete catastrophe.
Part of this response could come from British Muslims during Ramadan. It would be a fantastic way to show Somalis that they are not forgotten. That we are thinking of them when we reflect on the world and those less fortunate than ourselves. That even though they may seem far away, they are in our thoughts and prayers and we are taking real action to help.
The Disasters Emergency Commission has launched an appeal for donations, which you can find here.
A short film about the threat of famine in Somalia can be viewed here.
Please consider our Somali family if you are giving this Ramadan.
Ramadan Mubarak to you all.