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Secretary of State visits Birmingham’s International office and applauds work of Islamic Relief as charity marks 30th anniversary

Secretary of State visits Birmingham’s International office and applauds work of Islamic Relief as charity marks 30th anniversary

  • Justine Greening MP meets staff and volunteers at Islamic Relief in Digbeth, May 1
  • Visit includes reception with reps of local community, open to the media (3-4pm)
  • Secretary of State available for interview; photos and footage available afterwards

The Secretary of State for International Development is visiting the international office of Islamic Relief in Birmingham on May 1 to pay tribute to the charity’s work as it celebrates its 30th anniversary.  Justine Greening MP will meet staff and volunteers and discuss the latest developments in Syria and Afghanistan, where Islamic Relief and the Department for International Development are actively involved in aid projects. She will also speak as guest of honour at a reception with representatives of the local community, which is open to the media (3-4pm).

Justine Greening said: “Over the past three decades Islamic Relief has exemplified the generosity, kindness and charity of Britain’s Muslim community. Countless families across the world now have access to healthcare, education and a chance for a better life thanks to their efforts.”

Islamic Relief was set up in 1984 in response to famine in Sudan, and two of its founders were NHS doctors who worked with an enthusiastic team of volunteers from a small office in the Moseley area of Birmingham. They raised £100,000 for those affected by the famine and established what has grown into one of the world’s largest Muslim faith based NGOs with a presence in 43 countries and a worldwide annual income of over £100 million.

In 1989, the organisation was incorporated under the Companies Act and registered with the UK Charity Commission. In the 1990s it opened offices across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.  Islamic Relief was the first Muslim humanitarian agency to receive UK government funding – £180,000 for a training centre in the North Kordofan region of Sudan in 1994. It continues to work in partnership with the Department for International Development, receiving £5 million in match funding for its Ramadan appeal in 2012 for countries affected by climate-related natural disasters and a £2 million grant for an education project for Syrian refugee children in Jordan in 2013.

Dr Mohamed Ashmawey, Islamic Relief’s CEO, says: “What began with a 20-pence donation from a nine-year-old boy in Birmingham in 1984 has grown into a global organisation with a critical role in alleviating poverty and suffering in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. We are honoured to welcome the Secretary of State for International Development, the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, as guest of honour as we pay tribute to the generosity and hard work of our many donors, volunteers and staff over the years. Today we see no room for complacency in a world where billions still live below the poverty line and hundreds of millions go to bed hungry at night. Our goal is to help people lift themselves out of poverty forever, protect dignity and help build a more just and equitable world, in which organisations like Islamic Relief are needed less and less”.

Islamic Relief’s major single aid and development programme is in Pakistan and it has the largest aid programme in Palestine apart from those of UN agencies. Its biggest emergency relief operation is in Syria, where it is responding to the worst humanitarian crisis for a generation. It has provided food, shelter, medical aid and other assistance to over 2 million Syrians, both deep inside the country and in neighbouring Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey. Islamic Relief works in the most difficult places around the world.




  1. A new leaflet highlighting some of the key moments in Islamic Relief’s 30-year history will be available at the 30th anniversary event on May 1.
  2. The event takes place at the offices of Islamic Relief Worldwide, 19 Rea Street South, Digbeth, Birmingham B5 6LB. The media are asked to arrive for refreshments at 2.30pm and ensure that their cameras are in position for the start of the reception at 3pm. The Secretary of State is due to speak during the reception at around 3.25pm, and to answer questions from the media at 3.45-4pm.
  3. As well as discussing the Syria crisis, Justine Greening will be presented with a copy of Islamic Relief’s latest report, Afghanistan in Limbo – New aid priorities and the funding crisis putting future progress at risk. The report highlights a worrying drop in aid to Afghanistan as foreign troops prepare to withdraw this year. It urges the international community to stand by Afghanistan and build on the significant progress that has been made in areas such as health, education and women’s development. Islamic Relief has been working in Afghanistan since 1992, and currently operates in 13 of the country’s 34 provinces. The report can be downloaded from:

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