Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) has formed a new board of trustees through the organisation’s very first trustee elections, which took place online on 22 August.
Here is the new board’s statement in full:
“We are honoured and humbled to be the first trustees elected by the global Islamic Relief family under extensive governance reforms.
“Islamic Relief has touched the lives of more than 120 million people in its 36-year history and is hugely respected for saving and transforming lives in some of the world’s poorest and hardest-to-reach places. Islamic Relief teams are at the forefront of supporting those affected by the biggest humanitarian emergencies of our time. This includes the conflicts in Syria, where we provided vital assistance to 906,000 people last year alone, and Yemen, described by the UN as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Islamic Relief is on the ground in Yemen feeding over 2 million people each month with the support of the World Food Programme.
“We are proud to have been chosen to lead this great organisation into the next phase of its history. We have a golden opportunity to build on the exciting and innovative humanitarian, development and advocacy work that Islamic Relief is doing in 40 countries across five continents. We are also aware of the responsibility entrusted to us to safeguard those we serve, to uphold Islamic Relief’s core values and to strive for the very highest standards.
“We wish to record our thanks to members of the previous boards for their many years of voluntary service to the organisation. We also wish to commend the previous board for acting swiftly and decisively to deal with inappropriate social media posts by two former trustees that came to light in recent weeks.
“In both cases these were historical Facebook posts dating back to 2014 and 2015, before either individual was on the board of IRW. In both cases the board met in emergency session on the very day that the organisation was first made aware of the posts. Both individuals apologised for the comments made, agreeing that they were completely unacceptable. Both agreed that they should play no part in the future governance of Islamic Relief Worldwide.
“We want to echo what the old board has said about these social media posts. We apologise on behalf of Islamic Relief for any offence caused. These posts in no way reflect the views or the values of Islamic Relief Worldwide, which is a purely humanitarian organisation with no political affiliations. The new board will continue to support the senior executive team in upholding the highest humanitarian standards of impartiality and independence, and assisting people of all faiths and none – without discrimination by race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. We reject and condemn terrorism and believe that all forms of discrimination, including anti-Semitism, are unacceptable.
At our first board meeting we have agreed to extend the level of scrutiny for IRW leadership by commissioning a review of trustee vetting and screening and social media policies that includes input from independent external experts, to do all we can to ensure that Islamic Relief’s core values are upheld in the selection and ongoing conduct of trustees. We expect this review to be completed by the end of the year.
“We look forward to meeting with the Charity Commission to discuss how we can learn lessons from recent events and build a brighter future.”
Dr Ihab Saad – Chair (USA)
Lamia El Amri – Vice Chair (Sweden)
Dr Nora Amath- Secretary (Australia)
Nurhayati Hassan- Treasurer (Malaysia)