Zakat billboard in Beirut, Thursday, July 16, 2015. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Muslim religious institutions have reported an increase in charity payments, known as zakat, during Ramadan this year and are taking precautions to make sure the annual contributions reach people in need and don't fall into the hands of armed groups.Zakat funds are concerned with channeling the donations to orphans, the poor, disabled, and certain needy sheikhs.Organizations accepting zakat donations approached by The Daily Star were unable to provide the total collected during Ramadan, when zakat is most often donated in keeping with the charitable spirit of the month, as the number is often tallied after Eid a-Fitr.Dar al-Fatwa does a background check on individuals requesting zakat aid to make sure they are truly deserving of it. An individual will typically file an application seeking zakat assistance, after which point a representative from the institution will visit his home to assess his living conditions. Overall Dar al-Fatwa refuses few applicants on grounds of suspicious behavior or inclinations, around 0.5 percent of total applicants, according to Kibbe.Kibbe said the possibility of accepted applicants funneling their zakat assistance to armed groups was slim.
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