The Power of Debt Cancellation to Fight Hunger, Poverty & Injustice
Jubilee USA Network is a coalition of more than 75 religious, labor and environmental groups that work for debt cancellation for impoverished countries. Debt is one of the primary stumbling blocks impending development for poor countries who must spend limited resources on foreign debt payments rather than on healthcare and education. Because Jubilee has a vested interest in repairing the world, we would like to invite your Islamic community to become involved in our efforts.
- More than half of African countries spend a greater amount on debt payments than on health care for their citizens
- Sub-Saharan African countries spend $14.5 billion every year servicing foreign debts that are decades old; an amount greater than that received in foreign aid and greater than what is needed to alleviate the AIDS epidemic
- The United Nations estimates that the lives of 19,000 children could be saved every day if foreign debt payments were redirected to clean water, nutrition and basic healthcare services
- In cases where debt relief has been provided, countries have used the savings to dramatically increase health and education budgets, resulting in millions of kids returning to school, more vaccinations, stronger resources to fight the AIDS epidemic and increased access to health care
Why Join Jubilee?
Although the Jubilee campaign has made great progress, the debt continues to be oppressive in many countries, and there is still a great deal of work to do. Fighting for debt relief is a way to make a significant impact in the lives of millions of people in poor countries. Texts in the Qur'an, commentary and tradition are aware of the necessity of providing relief for those in need. Working for debt relief is a way to help impoverished nations break free from dependence on foreign nations and provide for themselves.
Textual support in the Qur'an for the cancellation of debt:
As a religion which counts obligatory regular charity as one of the "five pillars" on which it is built, Islam cannot be practiced without due regard to its social dimension, nor without reference to economic justice.
The emphasis in the Qur'an is, however, put upon prevention of the very situation which makes the jubilee a necessity. In line with the Qur'anic demand that 'wealth should not only circulate between the rich amongst you' (59:7)
Islam categorically forbids the taking of interest to prevent the accumulation of large capital sums. Interestingly, to tolerate wrong-doing, or oppression, is considered as unacceptable as the perpetration of it.
(taken from Economic Justice and Muslim Values written by Sahib Mustaqim Bleher, former General Secretary of the Islamic Party of Britain).
Jubilee USA Network launched the Jubilee Congregations inter-faith program for religious communities across the country. It gives faith communities resources and tools to learn about Jubilee and do more for life-saving debt relief. Jubilee Congregations participate through raising awareness and taking action such as letter writing campaigns to government officials. We would like to invite you to learn more about becoming a Jubilee Congregation. For more information about how to become involved with Jubilee, please contact our office in Washington DC at 202.543.0692.