Saudi Arabia: No to Fundraising for Syria

Saudi religious scholars used Twitter as a sounding board to express their frustration at being banned from raising funds for Syria.

Fundraising for the Syrian opposition with its political and military wings has been gathering momentum around the world through many charities. The pace of fundraising has also accelerated since Houla Massacre. At the same time the Saudi authorities decided to ban fundraising for Syria. Kuwait, on the other hand, intensifed fundraising efforts. Saudi Islamic preachers tweeted the ban of fundraising for Syria and netizens expressed their anger over the surprising move.

Saudi Sheikhs Ban Syria Fundraising

Fundraising poster in Saudi Arabia showing the local numbers of the Committee to Save Syria

Members of the Scholars’ Committee to Save Syria were all officially asked by the authorities to stop their fundraising for efforts for Syria. Saudi preacher Muhammad Al-Arifi tweeted [ar]:

@MohamadAlarefe: خرجت الآن من إمارة الرياض قضيت ساعتين وقّعت بعدها تعهداً بعدم جمع التبرعات لسوريا.. أرجو ممن عزم المجيء لجامع البواردي للتبرع ألا يكلف نفسه
I have just returned from the building of Emirate of Riyadh after spending two hours there and signing a pledge not to collect funds for Syria.. I ask those who intended to come to Al-Bawardi Mosque to donate not to tire themselves

Ali Badahdah narrated his own story:

@AliBadahdah: تم استدعائي من قبل مكتب مدير شرطة منطقة مكة المكرمة وأبلغوني بورود برقية من الأمارة بطلب التعهد بعدم استقبال التبرعات وقد تم امتثالا للتوجيه
I was summoned by the office of the Director of Holy Mecca Metro Area Police who notified me of a coming telegram from the Emirate of Mecca demanding a pledge not to receive donations and that I had to comply with the order

Hassan Al-Homaid said:

@halhomaid: تم استدعائي للمباحث بشأن تبرعات سوريا
I was summoned by the Criminal Investigation Department over Syria fundraising

The following video from arrrkd features testimonies from various Arab Islamic preachers about the Syria fundraising campaign:

Netizens’ Reactions to the Ban

Abdularahman Alrashed tweeted:

@ARalabdullatif: الهجوم على الدعاة الذين تقدموا بمبادرة جمع التبرعات للشعب السوري متوقع .حملة للشماتة ولاهداف غير بريئة .ولا يصح الا الصحيح, والزمن كشاف !
The attack on the preachers who started the fundraising initiative for the Syrian people is anticipated. It's a campaign for gloating that has bad aims and time will make things clear

Saudi Sheikh Abdulaziz Tarefe tweeted his support for the Syrian rebels saying:

@abdulaziztarefe: نصرة المُستضعفين في سوريا واجب أمة قبل أن يكون واجب دولة. قال النبي لمظلوم مغلوب: (استعن عليه بمن حولك من المسلمين.. استعن عليه بالسلطان)
Giving hand to the helpless in Syria is a duty for the Umma (Muslim community) before it is a duty for a state. The Prophet told a helpless person: (Get the help of the Muslims around you… Get the help of the governor)

Youssef Al-Hajeri tweeted:

@ABO3ADL:لما أصابت الزلازل بلاد الكفار تسابقت الأموال لهم وتراق دماء أطفال المسلمين فتمنع الأموال لإنقاذهم تبا لكم ‎‫#مجزرة_الحولة‬‏ ‎‫#منع_التبرعات‬‏
When the earthquakes hit the land of the infidels, money rushed to them and the blood of the Muslim children is shed but money is withheld. Damn you

Mohamed Al-Hodaif added disobediently:

@mohmd_alhodaif: #منع_التبرعات‬‏ يمنعون التبرعات،أو يسمحون بها، ستصل ل(أهلها).مايحدث في سوريا تحركه يد الله. إرادته سبحانه تشاء،أن الأمة،وليس روسيا،تصنع الحدث
Whether they [Some Arab Gulf States governments] ban fundraising or allow it, it will reach its (people). What's happening in Syria is manipulated by the hand of God. It's the Umma and not Russia who makes things happen

Egyptian author Fadel Soliman replied angrily to the ban decision:

@FadelSoliman: إن لم تهبوا لنجدة أطفال الشام بأنفسكم فعلى الأقل لا تمنعوا تسليح المقاومة و إطعام اللاجئين يا نساء بعمائم و لحى. ‎‫#منع_التبرعات‬
If you don't rush to rescue the Levant's children by yourselves, at least don't ban arming the resistance and feeding the refugees, you women with turbans and beards

Mohamed Al-Hajeri tweeted:

@moha1976: جاءتني خادمتي سيلانية مسلمة بدينارين ونصف تتبرع بها لسوريا أحسست بعزة الاسلام وتمنيت أن الزعماءوالتجار يملكون غيرتها على دينها ‎‫#اغيثوا_سوريا‬‏
My maid, a Sri Lankan Muslim, came to me with two and a half dinars to donate for Syria. I felt the pride of Islam and wished that leaders and businessmen had her pride for her religion

Saudi Islamic preacher Salman al-Ouda encouraged people to donate:

@salman_alodah: لكل من يرغب بدعم الجيش السوري الحر.. العطشان يكسر الحوض! ‎‫#سوريا‬‏ ‎‫#الشعب_يريد_تسليح_الجيش_الحر‬‏ ‎‫#ماذا_نفعل_لسوريا‬‏ ‎‫#مجزرة_الحولة‬‏ ‎‫#منع_التبرعات‬‏
To all who want to support the Free Syrian Army, the thirsty break the water pool

Meanwhile, journalist Hassan Hassan explained the true reason behind the ban:

@hhassan140: #Saudi‬ banned ‪#Syria‬ fundraiser for 2 reasons: campaign organised by clerics; who said no need to wait for states, there're “ways” to help.

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