Bayt Mal al-Quds has completed $64 million worth of projects

Rabat / Anatolia

The director in charge of running the Beit Mal Jerusalem agency, Muhammad Salem Al-Sharqawi, told Anadolu Agency:
– The contribution of Morocco amounts to 86 percent of the total contributions of the countries
All indications in Jerusalem are worrying and negative
Investing in the children of Jerusalem is investing in the future
Funding presents some challenges for the agency in its constant search for opportunities to diversify sources

The director in charge of running the Bait Mal Al-Quds Agency, Muhammad Salem Al-Sharqawi, said: “Since its inception, the institution has completed projects worth 64 million dollars, distributed across social sectors.”

This was announced in an interview conducted by Anadolu Agency with Al-Sharqawi in the capital of Morocco, Rabat, on the occasion of the approaching celebration of a quarter of a century since the foundation of Al-Quds in 1998. A committee derived from the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Al-Sharqawi spoke about the main challenges the agency faces in its work, the social conditions facing the residents of the Holy City and future projects to improve the conditions of the residents and Palestine.

The Jerusalem Fund agency is based on supporting the residents of the city of Jerusalem, and protecting the religious and cultural heritage of the Holy City through humanitarian initiatives and projects in the field of health, reconstruction and education.

Al-Sharkaoui says Morocco’s contribution is 86 percent of total country contributions, as Morocco is the top contributor in the country contribution class since 2011.

** Arrival on the field

He praised the agency’s field presence in the holy capital, as “an ideal institution to coordinate Arab and Islamic support and ensure the flow of support funds in a secure way to those who deserve it.”

“We can say that the rate of completion is very important, according to the available indicators on the completion of projects.”

Al-Sharqawi believes that the agency’s efforts can contribute to “the construction of an Arab-Islamic model that instills hope in the psyche of Jerusalem residents… that the future can be fresher and brighter than the current reality.”

“The city of Jerusalem, where followers of the three monotheistic religions should enjoy safe access to places of worship,” al-Sharqawi said, referring to the Islamic, Christian and Jewish religions.

Speaking about the role of the Agency in the protection of cultural heritage, Al-Sharkawy presented the Foundation’s work on the maintenance of archaeological sites represented in cemeteries, mosques and old markets.

He said: “We have signed agreements with Al-Quds University and other research centers to support students researching the history of the city.”

** Difficult conditions

Al-Sharqawi deplored “the frequent clashes the city is witnessing, which coincide with Jewish and Islamic religious holidays, causing the agency to suspend direct work for a period of four or five months.”

“All the indicators we have are disturbing and cut in a direction that tends to be negative, so the agency is fully aware that more needs to be done to improve the conditions of Jerusalemites.”

The agency relies on United Nations indicators and indicators from the Observatory for Observation and Monitoring in Rabat, Jerusalem, which the agency created in 2021, since it published a report last October 31 on the occasion of World Cities Day.

This report provided indicators on the housing situation and the status of infrastructure in the city, especially in East Jerusalem, the so-called Arab quarters, along with the consequences of the Corona pandemic on the situation of workers.

He said the foundation “relies on strict criteria that not everyone likes, but it forces us to prioritize funding over the great needs expressed by Jerusalem institutions.”

Al-Sharqawi also believes that reaching the city of Jerusalem is a challenge for residents and visitors of the city, “which today embodies the state of Jerusalem’s markets, and the economic situation of merchants and the tourism sector.”

He emphasized that this institution “is working to look for opportunities to eliminate some deficiencies and needs in the field of tourism, trade and others”.

** Diversification of funding sources

The director in charge of running the Bayt Mal Al-Quds Al-Sharif agency said: “At the Al-Quds Committee 20 meetings in Marrakesh in 2014, it was decided to raise voluntary contributions to mandatory contributions, but this decision has not yet been implemented.”

This was through “contributions from the Kingdom of Morocco and contributions from some Arab and Moroccan institutions, as well as Moroccan and Arab individuals… Funding presents some challenges for the Bayt Mal Al-Quds Al-Sharif Agency in its continued search for the possibility of diversifying sources.”

“The Foundation strives to manage its funds as needed in accordance with its principles of transparency and accountability, and to enable donors and financiers to monitor their money and aspects of its disbursement.”

Income from contributions is allocated to “social assistance projects that work to help poor families and orphaned children, and the dignified living project, according to which 20,000 loaves of bread are distributed daily with food aid”.

He presented a human development program based on the distribution of “financial grants between 30 and 50 thousand dollars to associations for the implementation of projects”.

** A vision for the future

Muhammad Salem Al-Sharqawi revealed that the Bayt Mal Al-Quds Al-Sharif agency “will soon celebrate its silver jubilee (called the celebration of some institutions for a quarter of a century since its establishment) in 2023, after 25 years have passed since structures of the institution activated”.

The director in charge of running the agency sees it as “an opportunity to evaluate the 25-year period and what the institution has done and openness to the future.”

Turning to the problem of financing, he said: “It is a very important program that we will open during 2023 by developing innovative mechanisms to improve the sources of financing.”

Commenting on the security challenges, he expressed that the Agency’s administration elevates the nature of business with the city of Jerusalem to its own interests, “This does not mean that it gives us an excuse to avoid our obligations.”

“We also have a duty to strengthen this field presence on the ground.”

He concluded: “Investing in the children of Jerusalem is investing in the future with the logic of hope and trust in the future”, referring to projects that lasted for about 13 years and are related to the children of Jerusalem.

The Bayt Mal Al-Quds Agency is based in Morocco and is the field branch of the Al-Quds Committee of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation.

The committee works to support the people of Jerusalem through many activities, including the construction of hospitals and social and educational centers to increase their resilience in the face of the Israeli occupation policy.

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