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Muslims have given more than $1 billion in Pakistani relief effort

Responding to criticism that Muslims have not stepped up in the aid effort after flooding in Pakistan destroyed more than a million homes this month, Pakistani officials said that Muslims have given more than $1 billion in aid.

According to the Associated Press:

Foreign countries have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to help Pakistan cope with the floods, which started a month ago after extremely heavy monsoon rains. But some officials had criticized the Muslim world for not contributing enough.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, head of the 57-member Organization of The Islamic Conference, likely sought to counter that criticism by announcing Sunday that Muslims have pledged nearly $1 billion. The pledges came from Muslim states, non-governmental organizations, OIC institutions and telethons held in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, he said.

"They have shown that they are one of the largest contributors of assistance both in kind and cash," said Ihsanoglu of the various donors. He spoke during a joint news conference with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also used the announcement to take a shot at nonprofits engaged in aid work, according to the AP:

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani criticized donations made to foreign NGOs rather than the Pakistani government, saying much of the money would be wasted

"Eighty percent of the aid will not come to you directly," said Gilani, referring to Pakistani citizens.

"It will come through their NGOs, and they will eat half of it," he said during a news conference in his hometown of Multan.

(Hat tip to The Foundation Center.)

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