The Issue

Helping Refugees

The world has reached a crisis point as the number of refugees exceeds 20 million—the highest figure for more than two decades. With forced migration at an unprecedented scale, our work on the ground supporting refugees around the world is more vital than ever, not only to meet the needs of the refugees themselves but also to counter the negativity and hostile attitudes that they too often encounter.

Unfortunately, the international response to the forced migration crisis has been patchy and in many cases nation states have failed to meet their basic commitments to refugees under international law. According to UNHCR figures, the world’s six richest nations (by the World Bank’s GDP ranking) are hosting less than 9% of the planet’s 65 million refugees, and many are demonstrating a strong reluctance to open their borders to refugees by exaggerating threats to security, culture and economic stability.

Many refugees currently reside in countries that have failed to ratify the Refugee Convention and millions each year continue to be born stateless without access to basic human rights.

Islam has a rich heritage of forced migrant protection, stemming from the original teachings of the Qur’an and examples from the lives of Islamic prophets. Central to the Islamic tradition are the concepts of welcoming and dignity.

The Qur’an calls on humankind to fulfill the role of protectors and helpers to “those oppressed men, women and children, who cry out, ‘Lord, rescue us from this town where people are oppressors!’” (Qur’an 4:75), and promises that those escaping persecution will find “many a refuge and a great plenty in the earth” (Qur’an 4:99).

Islamic teachings emphasize that refuge is the divine right of the persecuted, and humankind has the responsibility to provide shelter and protection to those in need, wherever they seek it.

What We Are Doing

Since Islamic Relief USA first formed 25 years ago, we have been on the frontline of responding to the needs of forced migrants around the world. We want the voices of refugees to be heard, and we call on all nations to welcome them, and to make protecting their dignity among the central tenets of their response to this global crisis.

  • Dignity and protection: Increase support for safe and sustainable livelihoods, including the provision of work permits for refugees and regional job creation strategies for nations hosting high levels of refugees.
  • A sustainable, comprehensive response by governments and the international community with increased resources for the systematic creation of safe and welcoming spaces which are inclusive, flexible, appropriate, participatory and protective. A particular focus should go on childhood settings, schools, and other formal and non-formal learning spaces, with emphasis on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, including girls and women, and those with disabilities.
  • Increase funding for inclusive refugee education for all 3.6 million refugee children out of school and promote vocational training.
  • Increase funding and diversify partnerships to address the psychosocial and spiritual needs of refugees.

What You Can Do

Want to learn how you can get involved in advocating on behalf of refugees and forced migrants, and other related topics? Connect with us at