The Oxford University Islamic Society (OUIS) held a charity auction for relief efforts in the Gaza Strip last week, raising an estimated £26,000 for humanitarian efforts amid the latest intensification of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Held as part of a broader annual charity drive with a national pledge of one million, the campaign was organised in concert with other student Islamic societies throughout the United Kingdom. The OUIS auctioned off artwork, calligraphy, heirlooms, and other items donated by Muslim businesses in Oxford, to an audience of 100 donors.
The auction was the culmination of a weeklong fundraising effort organised by the society. Sponsored kickboxing events, FIFA tournaments, and an OUIS Quiz Night were held across the University, with 100% of the entrance fees going to charity.
OUIS president, Riaz Rahman, told Cherwell that a previous bake sale had raised “a couple of thousand” pounds, while a sponsored hike up Mount Snowden garnered sizable donations through their JustGiving page. A balloon taken by the OUIS to the summit of Snowden and back was sold off at the auction, for £800.
The funds raised by the initiative were predominantly directed to the Islamic Relief UK charity’s emergency Palestine fund. Some monies were earmarked for alternative causes, such as humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, emergency relief for survivors of the September 2023 Moroccan earthquake, and the education of orphans worldwide.
Altogether, Rahman estimates that the Islamic Soc raised between £40,000 and £50,000 pounds for charitable causes throughout the week, though he notes that the society does not yet have exact figures for all events held during the charity week.
Other fundraising activities for causes relating to the war in Gaza have been organised by students, including JCR bake sales and other donation drives, amid frequent Palestinian solidarity demonstrations in Oxford city centre.
The current round of conflict, which began on the 7 October, has seen a heavy human toll. The United Nations has reported 9,061 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis killed, and many thousands more injured or displaced.