Islamic Relief

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This article is about the UK-based Islamic Relief. It is not to be confused with the Saudi Arabia-based International Islamic Relief Organization.
Islamic Relief Worldwide
Islamic Relief logo
Motto Faith Inspired Action
Founded 1984
Founder Hany El Banna
Type International NGO
Focus Sustainable Livelihoods, Education, Health and Nutrition, Orphans and Child Welfare, Water and Sanitation, Emergency Relief & Disaster Preparedness
Area served Worldwide
Revenue £100,368,169 (2012)[1]

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

Founded in 1984 in the United Kingdom, the Islamic Relief family now has 29 field offices throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. There are also 11 national offices.

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 is part of the global Make Poverty History coalition which is campaigning to end extreme poverty. In the United Kingdom, Islamic Relief is also a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) along with 13 other charities.

The organisation runs their development and humanitarian projects from their field offices, and deals with fundraising, campaigning, and domestic projects from their national offices.


Inspired by Islamic values, the organisation’s stated vision is of a caring world where communities are empowered, social obligations are fulfilled and people respond as one to the suffering of others.


According to Islamic Relief's Global Strategy 2011-2015 document,[2] the organisation's four aims are

1 Protecting Life and Dignity Enabling communities to reduce the risks and effects of disasters by preparation for their occurrences, 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[3] the organisation states their values and teachings are provided by the revelations contained within the Qur'an and Prophetic example. They are:

Sincerity - Ikhlas

Excellence - Ihsan

Compassion - Rahma

Social Justice - Adl

Custodianship - Amana


  • 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
  • 1993: UK newspaper The Independent raised £37,000 for Islamic Relief’s Bosnia Appeal
  • 1994: received UK government funding for the first time (£180,000 for a training centre in Sudan)
  • 1996: began recycling and selling donated clothes in the UK
  • 1999: signed the Red Cross Code of Conduct (an international set of standards on working in disaster zones)
  • 2005: joined the UK’s Disaster Emergencies Committee, an umbrella organisation which launches and coordinates responses to major disasters
  • 2009: celebrated their 25th anniversary
  • 2013: a total 32,000 orphans sponsored by Islamic Relief donors


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.

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, and in 2012 jumped 15 places to number 78.

In 2010, a project to improve access to education in India won the UNESCO Wenhui Honourable Commendation award for educational innovation.

Examples of projects[edit]

Disaster risk reduction and resilience

Working with disaster-vulnerable communities to improve their resistance to crises and to mitigate the impact. Current Islamic Relief projects include strengthening food security in Niger, long term solutions in Somalia and safeguarding students in Indonesia.

Emergency aid and assistance

Emergency aid and assistance during crises and disasters, such as providing aid inside Syria and nearby countries, responding to the tornado in Oklahoma, USA and to the Horn of Africa food crisis.

Water and sanitation

Providing sustainable access to safe water and sanitation, such as improving sanitation in Haiti, providing water sources in Kenya, and filtering Gaza’s contaminated water

Health and nutrition

Providing access to food and healthcare including sustainable fishing and farming in Malawi, medical equipment for Tunisian hospital, and healthcare for children in Yemen.


Promoting access to education and vocational training – including in Sudan, Afghanistan, and Kosova.


Livelihood support projects including assisting start up group businesses in Ethiopia, agricultural livelihoods in Bangladesh, and ethical finance in China.


Shelter projects benefiting poor communities including Pakistan, and West Bank.

Child welfare and orphan sponsorship

Sponsoring 38,000 children in 24 countries, which provides for their food, clothes and schooling. Islamic Relief also provides psychosocial care for Gazan children and a centre for disabled children in Egypt

Campaigning for positive change

Campaigning and advocating for positive change that tackles the root causes of poverty and suffering. Recently this has included campaigns to cancel Pakistan's debt, address the Somali humanitarian crisis, as well as work on conflict resolution in Sudan.

Income and fundraising[edit]

Most of Islamic Relief Worldwide’s income comes from individual donations. It also receives institutional donations. As a registered charity, Islamic Relief publishes its Annual Reports and Financial Statements every year.

Islamic Relief global family[edit]

National offices

  • Australia - incorporated in the states of Sydney and Melbourne in Australia in 2011
  • Belgium
  • Canada – which provides emergency response and development worldwide, as well as projects to help disadvantaged Canadian communities
  • Germany – registered in Köln in 1996
  • Italy – operates from its Milan office, registered in 2003
  • Malaysia – incorporated in 2004 and launched in 2005 by the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, where it operates community, economic and social development programmes in addition to its international work
  • The Netherlands – founded in 2004 in Amsterdam, Islamic Relief Netherlands currently has 11 employees and 360 volunteers
  • South Africa – founded in Johannesburg in 2003, with additional field offices in Cape Town, Durban and Pietermaritzburg
  • Sweden – founded in 1992
  • Switzerland – founded in 1994, with an office in Geneva
  • USA – founded in California in 1993 as a tax exempt charity
  • Islamic Relief UK is part of Islamic Relief Worldwide.

Registered offices

Ireland Mauritius

Affiliated implementing partners

Islamic Relief Bangladesh

Islamic Relief Egypt

Islamic Relief India

Islamic Relief Kenya

Islamic Relief Pakistan

Field offices

Afghanistan; Albania; Bosnia; and Herzegovina; Chad; Egypt; Ethiopia; Haiti; Indonesia; Iraq; Jordan; Kosova; Lebanon; Libya; Malawi; Mali; Niger; Occupied Palestinian Territories; Russian Federation (Chechnya and Ingushetia); Somalia; South Sudan; Sudan; Tunisia; Yemen


Israel has accused the charity of being a front for terror activities.[4] In June 2014, Israel banned IRW from operating in Israel and forwarding money to the West Bank for allegedly funding Hamas.[5][6]