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Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) is an international humanitarian organisation that provides development programs and humanitarian relief around the globe, regardless of race, political affiliation, gender or belief.

Islamic Relief Worldwide
IRW Logo.jpg
Islamic Relief logo.
MottoFaith Inspired Action
FounderHany El-Banna
TypeInternational NGO
FocusSustainable Livelihoods, Education, Health & Nutrition, Orphans and Child Welfare, Water Sanitation & Hygiene, Emergency Relief & Disaster Preparedness, Campaigning, Integrated development
HeadquartersBirmingham, UK
  • 19 Rea Street, Digbeth
Area served
Key people
CEO: Naser Haghamed Chair of Trustees: Tahir Salie
£99.1 million (2014)[1]

Founded in 1984 in the United Kingdom, it states that it delivers its projects in over 30 countries. It also owns a subsidiary company, TIC International, based in Birmingham, UK. It collects and recycles clothes to raise funds for IRW's work and provides canned meat for aid purposes.[2]


Memberships and key partnershipsEdit

IRW is a member of the UN's Economic and Social Council and it is a signatory to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGO s in Disaster Relief. It is also a member of Bond (British Overseas NGOs for Development) and in the UK, a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), along with 14 other charities.

IRW is co-owner of the International Civil Society Centre, a global action platform, and an affiliate member of the INGO Accountability Charter Company.

The organisation states that its key partners include WFP, IDB, UNHCR, UNOCHA, EC, DFID, UNDP, OIC, Sida, Bahrain RCO, START Network, ROTA, and CAFOD.

Islamic Relief is part of the global Make Poverty History coalition which is campaigning to end extreme poverty and the Beyond 2015 coalition, which aims to influence the development framework which will replace the Millennium Development Goals. It has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate in humanitarian work with Lutheran World Federation(LWF)[3] and also formed a partnership with the African Union to tackle chronic poverty.

The Charity is also the parent body to "Charity Week", which claims to be the largest student run project globally.


According to Islamic Relief's Global Strategy 2011-2015 document,[4] the organisation's four aims are

  1. Protecting Life and Dignity: Enabling communities to reduce the risks and effeccurrences, hazard mitigation and timely response through providing effective relief, protection and recovery
  2. Empowering Communities: Enabling the sustainable development of the communities we work with through integrated development underpinned with sustainable livelihoods, social justice and environmental custodianship
  3. Campaigning for Change: Supporting the marginalised and vulnerable to voice their needs and address root causes of poverty and suffering
  4. Strengthening the Islamic Relief Family: Building a governance system and infrastructure for the growing Islamic Relief global partnership that will maximise the size, efficiency and effectiveness of our operations to alleviate poverty and suffering


According to Islamic Relief's Global Strategy 2011-2015 document[5] the organisation states their values and teachings are provided by the revelations contained within the Qur'an and Prophetic example. They are Ikhlas (sincerity), Ihsan (excellence), Rahma (compassion), Adl (social justice) and Amana (custodianship).


  • 1984: Islamic Relief founded by a group of medical doctors and activists, with its first 20p donation (a year later this had grown to £100,000)
  • 1986: began major programmes which continue to this day, including orphan sponsorship and Qurbani distribution
  • 1988: manufactured high-protein biscuits and multivitamins to tackle malnutrition in Afghanistan and countries in Africa
  • 1989: assisted survivors of the chemical attack in Halabja, Iraqi-Kurdistan
  • 1990: gave GBP £200,000 to provide relief to those affected by the Iran earthquake
  • 1991: started work in Bangladesh, responding to one of the deadliest cyclones on record
  • 1992: work in Pakistan began with the distribution of Ramadan food parcels and Qurbani meat
  • 1993: UK newspaper The Independent raised £37,000 for Islamic Relief's Bosnia Appeal[6]
  • 1994: received UK government funding for the first time (£180,000 for a training centre in Sudan)
  • 1995: began working in the North Caucasus as one of the few aid agencies delivering aid amidst the conflict in Chechnya
  • 1996: began recycling and selling donated clothes in the UK
  • 1998: continued work in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and opened its Gaza City office
  • 1999: signed the Red Cross Code of Conduct (an international set of standards on working in disaster zones)
  • 2000: set up its Waqf programme, as a source of sustainable funding for humanitarian projects
  • 2001: one of the few international aid organisations working on the ground throughout the conflict in Afghanistan
  • 2002: began working in China, building new homes for families affected by flooding in Shaanaxi province
  • 2003: amidst the conflict in Iraq, Islamic Relief continued delivering aid in the country
  • 2004: from its offices in Indonesia, launched a large-scale response to the tsunami, which left 1.5 million people homeless
  • 2005: joined the UK's Disasters Emergency Committee, an umbrella organisation which launches and coordinates responses to major disasters
  • 2006: promoted child protection and child development to protect children from violence, abuse, neglect and all forms of exploitation in Yemen
  • 2008: began USD $1.2 million relief and recovery programme in Myanmar – reaching more than 100,000 people from Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, and Muslim communities
  • 2009: celebrated its 25th anniversary with HRH Prince of Wales delivering the keynote speech[7]
  • 2010: one of the first international aid agencies on the ground in the wake of the Haiti earthquake
  • 2011: launched emergency response, which continues to date, to the crisis in Syria
  • 2013: became one of 11 organisations to qualify for Strategic Humanitarian Partnership with Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
  • 2013: Islamic Relief received £3.2 million from the UK's Department for International Development.[8]
  • 2014: Islamic Relief Academy launched, providing training and development services to the humanitarian sector
  • 2015: signed Memorandum of Understanding with African Union formalising partnership to tackle poverty on the continent

Awards and nominationsEdit

The umbrella group NARRI - of which Islamic Relief is a founding member - received the Sasakawa Award for excellence in disaster risk reduction in 2013.

Islamic Relief features in the top 100 charities in the UK. At the UK British Muslim Awards in 2013, it was named 'Charity of the Year'.

The Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington (IFC) awarded Islamic Relief USA with the InterFaith Visionary Award for its generous donation to support the vital work of building community and nurturing understanding among different faith-based communities. Also in 2010, a project to improve access to education in India won the UNESCO Wenhui Honourable Commendation award for educational innovation.

In January 2013, the charity was awarded the Charity of the Year award at the British Muslim Awards.[9] In January 2015, it was nominated for the Charity of the Year award at the British Muslim Awards.[9]

In May 2016, the charity was awarded the 3G Leadership Award for Social Sector & Philanthropy.[10] The 3G Awards are presented to governments, corporates and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for excellence in transparency, good governance and social responsibility.[11]

Islamic Relief offices and partnersEdit

Registered offices

  • Ireland
  • Mauritius

Affiliated implementing partners

Affiliated Implementing Partners deliver projects on behalf of the Islamic Relief family. Some of these are independent legal entities. These include:

  • Islamic Relief Chechnya
  • Islamic Relief India
  • Islamic Relief Kenya
  • Islamic Relief Pakistan

Field offices

  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Bangladesh
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Chad
  • Ethiopia
  • Haiti
  • Indonesia
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Kosovo
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Malawi
  • Niger
  • Palestinian Territories
  • The Philippines
  • Russian Federation (North Caucasus)
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Yemen

Countries in which IRW works through the offices of local organisations to deliver projects include: Central African Republic, China, Guinea, India, Myanmar, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, and Syria.

Humanitarian Academy for DevelopmentEdit

In 2013, Humanitarian Academy for Development (HAD) was established to promote and enhance the knowledge and skills of the humanitarian sector and Islamic Relief through capacity building, applied research and leadership development. HAD aims to develop and inspire improved humanitarian approaches, to educate and empower humanitarian actors and policy makers and to provide training to humanitarian actors.[12] In 2018, the charity received an award from the Princess Royal Training Awards, created by the City and Guilds Group, for empowering its volunteers through the programme.[13]


In June 2014, Israel added IRW to a list of organisations banned from operating in Israel, for allegedly funding Hamas.[14] Islamic Relief continued to operate despite the ban and two days later the charity's West Bank offices were raided and their computers were destroyed, files were confiscated, and an office safe was forcibly opened.[15] A 2014 Islamic Relief claimed that an audit carried out by an unnamed "leading global audit firm" found no evidence of any link to terrorism, without giving any details of the audit. The Israeli government responded by claiming its decision to declare IRW illegal was "based on information that has been accumulated over years, that the fund is a central player in financing of Hamas".[16]

On 15 November 2014, the United Arab Emirates placed Islamic Relief on a list of proscribed organisations.[17][18]

In 2016, it was revealed that the banking group HSBC had severed ties with IRW over concerns that cash meant for humanitarian aid could end up with terrorist groups abroad.[19] The bank invited IRW to "end the relationship", which they did at the end of 2014.[20]

Islamic Relief has denied any links to Hamas, citing its support from numerous UN agencies and government aid donors. Though the UK Charity Commission chose not to investigate Islamic Relief, Islamic Relief commissioned an independent investigation into the incident.[21] Islamic Relief says the findings of the audit firm fully cleared Islamic Relief of the allegations. It stated that these findings were shared in full with 'a number of major stakeholders'.[22] The UK government stated in 2014 that it saw no reason not to continue its association with the charity, which received millions in support from the UK Department for International Development.[23]

The government of Bangladesh barred the organisation from aiding the Rohingya people in Cox's Bazar, alleging funds were used to preach Islam, construct mosques, encourage radicalism, and fund militants.[24]


  1. ^ Retrieved 2016-06-16. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "Vision, Mission and Values". Retrieved 2016-04-10.
  3. ^ "Islamic Relief and Lutheran World Federation global cooperation". Retrieved 2016-04-10.
  4. ^ "Islamic Relief's Strategy Report 2011-2015" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-04-10.
  5. ^ "Islamic Relief's Global Strategy 2011-2015" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-04-10.
  6. ^ "Bosnia Appeal: Faith, hope and charities". The Independent. 1994-01-19. Retrieved 2016-06-16.
  7. ^ "HRH celebrates the 25th anniversary of Islamic Relief". Retrieved 2016-06-16.
  8. ^ "Audit 'clears Islamic Relief' of terror funding claim". BBC News. 12 December 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Winners honoured at British Muslim Awards". Asian Image. 31 January 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  10. ^ "3G Award Winners 2016". Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  11. ^ "3G Awards Introduction".
  12. ^ "Humanitarian Academy for Development". Retrieved 2016-04-10. External link in |website= (help)
  13. ^ Guilds, City &. "Princess Royal Training Awards now open for entries". FE News. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  14. ^ "Israel bans UK-based Muslim charity accused of funding Hamas". Reuters.
  15. ^ Randeep Ramesh. "Islamic Relief defies Israeli ban and continues operations in Palestine | Society". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-04-10.
  16. ^ Price, Matthew (2014-12-12). "Audit 'clears Islamic Relief' of terror funding claim". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-04-10.
  17. ^ Simeon Kerr (2014-11-16). "UAE blacklists 83 groups as terrorists". Retrieved 2016-04-10.
  18. ^ "Charity banned over 'links to terrorism'". The Times. 2014-11-18. Retrieved 2016-04-10.
  19. ^ "Terror fear makes HSBC cut ties to Muslim charity". The Sunday Times. 3 January 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  20. ^ "HSBC cuts ties with UK Muslim charity over 'terror' fears". The Times of India. 4 January 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  21. ^ Lazareva, Inna; Bingham, John (3 September 2014). "Islamic Relief turns down Gaza funds after Israeli ban". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  22. ^ "There's no evidence that Islamic Relief finances Hamas, investigation says". Third Sector. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  23. ^ Justin Cohen (September 22, 2016). "British Muslim charity takes Israel to court". Times of Israel.
  24. ^ "Bangladesh govt bars 3 NGOs from Rohingya relief work over security concerns". DhakaTribune. 12 October 2017. Retrieved 7 November 2017.

External linksEdit