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October 30, 2020

Importance of aid

Newspost

 
October 30, 2020

The Muslim international aid community has been severely affected by an unsettling scandal. Islamic Relief Worldwide, our community’s largest development charity, has had to fire three board members in succession for promoting extremism and bigotry. The Times of London broke the story on its front page, sparking a crisis of credibility for international aid providers like myself. Donors in the community have begun to question the true motivations behind our development work. For Islamic Relief, the growing scandal presents a public relations challenge and a short-term financial setback. But as a major player raising tens of millions of dollars a year, the massive organisation has the resources to ride out the affair. For small grassroots Muslim international development charities, however, the impact is perhaps more severe.

The Islamic Relief scandal plays right into classic Islamophobic tropes. The real victims here are not Muslims in the West, who have the privilege of living in open democracies with developed economies and welfare safety nets. Rather it is marginalised young people in the Muslim countries who suffer as the flow of charity contracts. Simple yet high-impact resources are at-risk because a few extremists abused our community’s philanthropic traditions. Muslims in the West committed to using our positions of privilege to give back to our native countries have hard work ahead. We must rebuild trust and re-inspire enthusiasm – via institutions that can deliver real-world results without the taint of extremism.

Anila Ali

California

USA