Over the past twenty years, Muslim organizations have played an increasingly prominent role in the delivery of international humanitarian aid. Their growth has been underpinned by the striking generosity of growing Muslim communities in North America and Europe and by zakat – the religious obligation to give 2.5% of disposable income to charity.
My own organization, Islamic Relief, is one of the largest. We have offices in over 40 countries, and invested $250 million in humanitarian aid and development programs in 2014.
Around three-quarters of our aid and development expenditure goes on emergencies such as the Nepal earthquake and the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, providing life-saving food, shelter and medical aid. The rest funds education, health care, clean water, orphan sponsorship and projects to help families earn their way out of extreme poverty.
Our affiliates within the Islamic Relief family, such as Islamic Relief USA, are often involved in domestic programs as well as supporting projects in developing countries. IRUSA was part of the relief effort in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and has also assisted local communities affected by tornadoes in Texas and by the recent challenges with water supplies in Detroit and Flint, Michigan.
Islamic Relief prides itself on its commitment to humanitarian principles of impartiality and neutrality and on its multi-faith approach, working from Haiti to the Philippines with partners as diverse as the Lutheran World Federation and World Jewish Relief. We are trusted by hundreds of thousands of individual donors around the world to assist people in need, as well as by UN agencies, the US and UK governments and the European Union.
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