Paying Zakatul-Fitr to Rohingya Muslims: OK?

Question and answer details
As-salamu `alaykum. We all read about the massacres against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar or Burma. Can I send Zakat Al-Fitr to Rohingya Muslims? Also, I see people in Egypt slaughter sheep for `aqiqah; can I tell them to send the price of the `aqiqah to Rohingya Muslims?
Monzer Kahf

Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother, we really commend and appreciate your question as it shows your concern about the oppressed Muslim brothers and sisters in Burma.

Zakat Al-Fitr can be sent to places where there are more urgent needs as in the case of the Rohingya Muslims.

In his reply to your question, Dr. Monzer Kahf, a prominent Muslim economist and counselor, stated,

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Zakatul-Fitr can be sent outside its area when there are urgent needs in other places as in the case of the Myanmar Muslims. This fulfills the obligation ofZakat Al-Fitr because it is to the poor and needy and its priority is determined by the level of urgency before any other criteria (like geographical location).

`Aqiqah, which is a general Sunnah, falls under general charity and it is an act of celebration of a child’s birth; the money of it can be sent for such objectives as general sadaqah (charity) and may be more rewarded too, Allah knows.

But, the Sunnah of celebrating a child’s birth by slaughtering a sheep, shaving the head of the new born and distributing some money to charity and inviting people to eat with you, etc., all that will not be fulfilled if you just send the money to satisfy more pressing needs in some other places.

Allah Almighty knows best.