Share
Charities eye a Muslim wealth tax

Charities eye a Muslim wealth tax

print-edition icon Print edition | BritainFeb 8th 2018twitter iconfacebook iconlinkedin iconmail iconprint iconHADEEL MAHMOOD used to be rich. Back in Iraq, she was a pharmacist, her husband was a businessman and they sent their children to private school. But when the family claimed asylum in Nottingham last year after falling out with the Iraqi government,…

HADEEL MAHMOOD used to be rich. Back in Iraq, she was a pharmacist, her husband was a businessman and they sent their children to private school. But when the family claimed asylum in Nottingham last year after falling out with the Iraqi government, they burned through their savings in three months. Her husband cannot find work. “We lost everything,” she says. Now a charity has agreed to pay for Dr Mahmood to convert her qualifications so she can get a job here. She is thrilled.

The money comes from zakat, a wealth tax which requires observant Muslims to give the poor 2.5% of the total value of their financial assets each year. In some Muslim countries, it is collected by the state. British Muslims give it to mosques and charities, and to family members overseas. Yet clerics and charities have begun to argue about how it should be spent, and non-Muslim charities are eyeing up the cash for the first time. Experts reckon it could run to hundreds of millions of pounds; seven of the biggest Muslim charities in Britain collected just over £20m ($28m) in zakat in 2017.

Latest updates

  • “This Close” is an insightful portrayal of friendship and deafness

  • The governor of Pennsylvania rejects Republicans’ new map

  • Americans overestimate social mobility in their country

  • Those Brexit clichés explained

  • Why New Zealand has so many gang members

  • Martin Schulz resigns as leader of the Social Democrats

  • See all updates