Donations meant for Palestinians, not Al-Aqsa mosque, clarify NGOs

Muslim Care Malaysia president Zulkifli Wahijan says the Al-Aqsa Mosque is under the jurisdiction of the Israeli government and is managed by the Jerusalem Wakaf Department under Jordan’s Wakaf Ministry. (AP pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: All donations channelled by Malaysians to Palestine through NGOs in this country are audited and revealed in their annual reports, according to several of the NGOs.

Refuting the claim of “misappropriation” of the funds, Muslim Care Malaysia president Zulkifli Wahijan, acting as their spokesman, said most of the NGOs were registered and required to do so (file their annual reports).

“The respective annual reports show how much we have received and how much have been used up,” he told a news conference after holding an emergency meeting here today with nine other NGOs which have been championing the rights and plight of the Palestinians.

Also present were representatives of Muslim Care Malaysia, Viva Palestina Malaysia, Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (Abim), Global Peace Mission, MyCARE, Haluan Malaysia, Malaysian Islamic Organisations Consultative Council (Mapim), Medicom, Cakna Palestin and Mahar.

This followed the reported claim made by Palestinian ambassador to Malaysia Walid Abu Ali yesterday that donations raised by Malaysian NGOs had failed to reach the Al-Aqsa Mosque fund for years, and that only donations raised by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council had been accounted for.

Zulkifli, however, explained that the donations through the NGOs all this while were for meeting the needs of the Palestinians and not for the development or maintenance of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“For 17 years, since Israel’s blockade of Gaza, funds, food, medicines, educational aid and infrastructural facilities have been contributed by Malaysian NGOs for the Palestinians. All these are stated in our (annual) reports and could be vouched by the Palestinians themselves.

“The mosque (Al-Aqsa), on the other hand, is under the jurisdiction of the Israeli government and is managed by the Jerusalem Wakaf Department under Jordan’s Wakaf Ministry. Indeed we are not allowed to do any improvements to the mosque and we’ve never contributed even one sen for this purpose.

“His (Walid’s) statement has not only tarnished the image and reputation of the Malaysian NGOs, but also of the government and Malaysians as a whole. Such serious allegations must come with proof,” he said.

Zulkifli added that a number of concerned NGOs would be calling on Walid soon for an explanation on the allegation he had made.