Dear Friends, Asalam-o-alaikum,
With Ramadan now underway, we extend our warmest wishes to all Muslim communities in the United Kingdom and around the world.
This year the holy month of fasting, devotion and charity comes at an especially poignant moment. A famine has been declared in parts of Somalia, and across the Horn of Africa 10 million people are in desperate need of emergency relief.
We are proud that Britain is leading the way in responding to this awful situation. The British taxpayer is providing life-saving help to 2.6 million people across the region, including access to drinking water and treatment for starving children.
Members of the public have themselves donated £42 million to the Disasters Emergency Committee Appeal, demonstrating the typical generosity of our country even in difficult economic times. And we know that diaspora communities here and around the world are also providing crucial support to their friends and families in the region. But far more needs to be done and we are strongly pushing other countries to do more.
Our united action can save hundreds of thousands of lives, and help people to rebuild their futures in the wake of disaster.
Britain’s response to last year’s devastating floods in Pakistan shows what we can achieve together. Just 12 months ago, a staggering 14 million people were forced to flee their homes when ten years’ worth of rain fell in one week. The public donated over £70 million to the emergency appeal. And as the waters subsided, British support helped people to rebuild their lives and become self-sufficient again, providing shelter to 1 million people and healthcare and clean water to millions more.
The same spirit of Zakat will save lives in Somalia, and the rest of the Horn of Africa, this year. We are proud of the contribution the UK’s Muslim communities are making, and offer you our heartfelt thanks.
Wishing you and your families Ramadan Kareem.
David Cameron, MP, Prime Minister
Andrew Mitchell, MP, Secretary of State for International Development
Baroness Varsi, Minister without Portfolio