Islamic Relief, the UK’s largest Islamic NGO, warned about the record number of people in need of humanitarian aid due to natural disasters and conflicts.
In the organisation’s annual Ramadan dinner last month, Islamic Relief’s UK Director, Jehangir Malik, criticised the discrimination against people in need of aid in conflict zones. Malik said, “I can’t help noticing, by the way, that fundraising appeals in areas around conflict consistently raise less than those in natural disasters. As if some people are more deserving than others.”
Malik singled out how the negative perception of Muslim in the UK have hurt Syrians in need of aid the most, as they are both Muslims and suffering from a conflict. “These findings are extremely worrying,” Malik said, especially as “the British Muslim community, who are perceived so negatively, gives its huge generosity to charities in the Disasters Emergency Committee and beyond and to charities like Islamic Relief and we work to deliver this aid particularly in Ramadan.”
Zac Goldsmith, Conservative MP and candidate for Mayor of London, hailed the ‘impressive work’ of Islamic Relief. Goldsmith added, “Founded 31 years ago, by a bunch of doctors and activists, it began life in 1984 with a 20 pence donation. A year later, a hundred thousand quid, and today, Islamic Relief has an annual income of over £180 million.”
Goldsmith also used the opportunity to warn that climate change “is always going to hammer the poorest first, and hardest. It’s always going to have a disproportionate impact on those places that cannot afford to cope or adapt.”
Meanwhile, Shadow Secretary for International Development, Mary Creagh, praised the generosity of Muslims, especially in Ramadan. Creagh said, “In this holy month, British Muslims will raise in excess of £100 million for those in need, and your charity is now the world’s largest Muslim charity operating in 40 countries – regardless of race, colour, religion, political affiliation or gender.”