Donations box
Residents can be slapped with a Dh250,000-Dh500,000 fine if they promote and collect funds online without permission from local authorities. Image Credit: Pixabay

Dubai: Residents in the UAE will face a heavy fine and serve time in jail if they are caught promoting fund-raising activities without prior approval from authorities.

The Federal Public Prosecution is cracking down on illegal fundraisers during the month of Ramadan, and advised residents not to collect, promote or receive donations, in cash or in any other form of funds, without receiving written approval from the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department.

Authorised charities in Dubai

  • Mohammad Bin Rashid Charitable Humanitarian Foundation
  • Al Maktoum Foundation
  • Dar Al Ber Society
  • Dubai Charity Association
  • Beit Al Khair Society
  • Dubai Foundation For Women and Children
  • Emirates Red Crescent
  • Noor Dubai Foundation
  • Dubai Cares

Authorised charities in Abu Dhabi

  • Khalifa Foundation
  • Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation
  • Zayed Giving Initiative
  • Red Crescent - Abu Dhabi
  • Takatof, part of Emirates Foundation

As part of its awareness campaign against illegal fund raisers, the Federal Public Prosecution warned residents that according to Article No 27 of Federal Law No 5 of 2012 on combating cybercrimes: “Establishing or managing a website and using any other IT or electronic means to promote the collection of donations without a permit from the specialised bodies is punishable by imprisonment and/or a fine ranging from Dh250,000-Dh500,000”.

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The campaign, which was launched this week, stressed the importance of supporting and helping the needy but which should be done solely in a legal manner.

Federal Law No. 4 of 2018 concerning the organisation of, and care for mosques lists a number of activities that can be deemed illegal in mosques, prayer spaces, and Eid Musallas if they do not have a proper licence. They include giving lectures or sermons, organising seminars, conducting Quran memorisation sessions, or collecting donations and other aid.

Other types of activities that require permission also include appointing or assigning any person on a temporary or permanent basis to hold or organise religious or social events, distribution of books, leaflets, audio and video recordings, I’tikaaf, or bringing of food inside the mosque.

The law further prohibits the practice of begging in mosques or any activity that would disrupt the security and sanctity of mosques and prayer spaces.