From the very start, Islamic Relief had one vision:
“Inspired by our Islamic faith and guided by our values, we envisage a caring world where communities are empowered, social obligations are fulfilled and people respond as one to the suffering of others.”
In line with Islamic teachings on the value of every human life, we provide this assistance to whoever needs it most, regardless of race, religion or gender. We work to transform and save lives of people in crisis both across the UK and internationally.
While our beginnings were in disaster and emergency relief – providing for those who have suffered and lost everything in droughts, earthquakes, floods or conflict – alongside this immediate assistance, Islamic Relief has always aimed to relieve poverty and suffering in the long-term too.
The year after it was founded, Islamic Relief set up its first field office in Khartoum, Sudan, ready to help those affected by the drought not just survive, but rebuild their lives.
Since then, we have opened over 100 offices in 40 countries worldwide – from Afghanistan to Albania, Pakistan to Palestine, Somalia to Sudan. In addition to disaster relief, we carry out sustainable development work to provide water, food, shelter, healthcare, education in the long-term. We also work to support orphans and children, help people into employment and build livelihoods to support their families, and protect vulnerable communities from future disasters, preventing the loss of lives and property.
Islamic Relief also advocate towards building a more just and equitable society. Inspired by our faith, we campaign against a range of issues including the increasing impact of climate change, gender-based violence and war and conflict worldwide.
Over 34 years, Islamic Relief has grown, by the grace of Allah (SWT), into one of the world’s largest Islamic NGOs. As we look to the future, we are always eager to learn, develop and improve our work, to serve those most in need. We aim to do this all in line with our key values, taken from our Islamic faith: compassion, justice, custodianship, sincerity and excellence.
Islamic Relief UK milestones – 1984 to 2016:
- Throughout: responded to headline-hitting emergencies including: the 2001 Gujarat Indian earthquake, 2004 Asian tsunami, 2005 Kashmir earthquake, 2008 Gaza two-day war, 2010 Pakistan floods, 2011 Somalia famine, 2013 Philippines typhoon and ongoing Syrian conflict and East Africa food crisis
- 2009: Our guest of honour, HRH the Prince of Wales, join us to celebrate our 25th anniversary
- 2005: We become first Muslim charity to join the UK’s Disaster Emergencies Committee (DEC) – an umbrella organisation which brings together 13 leading UK aid charities in times of crisis to raise funds
- 2000: We begin to implement Waqf projects, reviving the great Islamic tradition of sustainable charitable giving
- 1999: We sign the Red Cross Code of Conduct, an international set of standards on how to provide aid to people affected by emergencies in a non-biased manner
- 1996: We begin recycling and selling donated clothes in the UK
- 1994: We become the first Muslim NGO to receive UK government funding (£180,000 for a training centre in North Kordofan, Sudan)
- 1993: We’re supported by UK-based newspaper The Independent who raise £37,000 for our Bosnia Appeal
- 1990: We open new offices in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East
- 1989: We are incorporated under the Companies Act and registered with the UK Charity Commission
- 1986: We begin a number of major programmes which continue to this day, including orphan sponsorship and Qurbani distribution, working in new countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Malawi
- 1985: We hire a small office in Moseley, Birmingham, and with the help of volunteers, we raise over £100,000 for the African famine
- 1984: Islamic Relief is founded with its first 20p donation from nine-year old Bassem – the nephew of Hany El Banna (founder of Islamic Relief)