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
IRW Logo.jpg
Islamic Relief logo.
Motto Faith Inspired Action
Founded 1984
Founder Hany El Banna
Type International NGO
Focus Sustainable Livelihoods, Education, Health & Nutrition, Orphans and Child Welfare, Water Sanitation & Hygiene, Emergency Relief & Disaster Preparedness, Campaigning, Integrated development
Area served
£82.8 million (2013)[1]

Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) is an international humanitarian organisation. As the global implementing and coordinating partner of the Islamic Relief family, it provides development programs 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 includes national offices, affiliated partners and field offices. It states that it delivers its projects in over 30 countries. It also owns a subsidiary company based in Birmingham, UK. TIC International collects and recycles clothes to raise funds for IRW’s work and provides canned meat for aid purposes. [2]

Governing document: Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) refers to the charity incorporated as a company limited by guarantee in England and Wales, with a governing document known as Memorandum and Articles originally dated 14 March 1989, and amended as a Memorandum of Association on 9 August 2010. IRW is also registered with the Charity Commission of England and Wales. IRW’s sole objects are ‘the relief of poverty in any part of the world’.

Memberships & Key partnerships[edit]

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 United Kingdom, a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), along with 18 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]


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,[4] 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[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
  • 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
  • 2014: Islamic Relief Academy launched, providing training and development services to the humanitarian sector.

In 2013, the organisation received £3.2 million from the UKs Department for International Development.[6]


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.

Islamic Relief global family[edit]

Registered offices



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 India

Islamic Relief Kenya

Islamic Relief Pakistan

Field offices

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


Countries in which IRW works through the offices of local organisations to deliver projects include: Central African Republic, China, India, The Philippines, Sri Lanka.

Controversy and allegations of terror links[edit]

On 15 November 2014, the United Arab Emirates classified Islamic Relief as a terrorist organisation.[7][8] Islamic Relief had 60 days in which to appeal the UAE judgement.

In June 2014, ahead of the conflict in Gaza, Israel added IRW to a list of organisations banned from operating in Israel, for allegedly funding Hamas. [9]

Islamic Relief has denied any links to Hamas, citing its support from numerous UN agencies and government aid donors. It says that its humanitarian aid programme in the Palestinian territories is one of the biggest apart from UN agencies. [10] Though the UK Charity Commission is not investigating Islamic Relief, the organisation is carrying out its own investigation into the incident. [11]

Russian security services have also accused Islamic Relief of funding terrorism. [12] According to its website, Islamic Relief has worked in the Russian Federation since 1995 and continues to do so. The Russian Security Services are thought to have confused the charity with another charitable organisation using a similar name.[13]