Muslim NGOs have a unique role to play in humanitarian relief because they are able to bridge the gap between different cultures and faiths. They first became prominent in the late 1970s, during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, when Muslim countries and communities around the world joined forces to help Afghans suffering from hunger and destitution. A second burst of Muslim NGO activity took place in 1992-93, at the time of the war in Bosnia. During this period the reputation of Muslim NGOs was enormously enhanced and it is no longer possible to ignore their contribution to humanitarian relief.
Despite being portrayed in some Western media as perpetrators of violence and disruption, Muslims make up three-quarters of the world’s refugees. The fact that so many Muslims have had direct experience of suffering means that Islamic NGOs often enjoy a great deal of ready support. As a result, unlike their secular counterparts, the bulk of their funding comes from individual donations from the general public, as opposed to the institutional funding received from large governmental or multilateral donor organisations. The help extended by Muslim organisations is not limited to assisting other Muslims but upon helping whoever is in need — without qualification, even an oppressor. Nevertheless, as religious organisations operating in today’s virulently secular world, the motives of Islamic NGOs are often mistrusted.
American Society for Muslim Advancement
This is a nonprofit organization based out of New York. It was founded in 1997 in order to elevate the discourse on Islam, strengthen authentic Islamic expression, and foster environments in which Muslims thrive. The American Society for Muslim Advancement strives to achieve its goals through a combination of education and organization. It has created both inter- and intra-faith programs including those that focus on arts and culture.
Islamic Society of North America
The Islamic Society of North America plays a vital role in bringing together Muslims from a variety of different backgrounds at its Annual Convention—one of the largest gatherings of Muslims in the United States. It is a meeting where people from both within and without Islam can exchange ideas and learn from one another. The ISNA also sponsors humanitarian and theological projects of a global nature.
Islamic Circle of North America
The Islamic Circle of North America is an independent, non-ethnic organization that is open to all. It is active in representing Muslim voices and establishing connections between Islam and the public.
A program of the ICNA, ICNA Relief is a humanitarian relief and development organization which responds to emergency and disaster situations at home and abroad. ICNA Relief runs special programs to help the needy in poor neighborhoods within North America.
Muslim Students Association
The Muslim Students Association serves Muslim students on college and university campuses in the United States and Canada. It strives to facilitate education, networking, and empowerment for today’s students that will allow them to be leaders in the community tomorrow. The MSA organizes events and programs that unite Muslim students all across North America.
Islamic Relief Worldwide
Islamic Relief is an international relief and development organization with permanent offices in 35 countries. Islamic Relief works in partnership with other international aid organizations, church groups, and local relief agencies in the areas they serve. It works towards alleviating the poverty and suffering of the world’s poorest people, irrespective of race, creed, and religion.
Islamic Relief USA
Islamic Relief USA is a branch of the global organization Islamic Relief Worldwide. Its mission is to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy, and diseases, and it assists people without regard to race, color, or religion. This organization has helped victims of both local and global disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake. It also distributes food donations to the hungry, especially during Ramadan.
There are many, many more American Islamic organizations that represent an incredible diversity of opinions and missions. Do you participate or do you plan to participate with a Muslim organization where you live?
Life for Relief and Development (LIFE)
A non-governmental organization founded by Iraqi-American professionals in 1992, now providing humanitarian assistance to people in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Pakistan, and Sierra Leone. The LIFE website provides copies of their credentials with the US government and the United Nations, and registration documents for the countries in which they work.
Muslim Aid aims to provide emergency, long-term assistance and other charitable work to alleviate the pain of those suffering and in need of relief. Their focus is on sustainable development programs which tackle the root causes of poverty. More Info
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
There are 186 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies around the world, forming a network of volunteers and staff who have provided humanitarian services worldwide since 1919. The Red Crescent is used in place of the Red Cross in many Muslim countries, and all societies provide assistance without discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class, or political opinions. Each national society is independent and supports the public authorities in their own country, with local knowledge and expertise, infrastructure, and access.
International Islamic Charitable Organization
IICO is an independent non-political organization which offers a wide range of pure humanitarian services. IICO is working worldwide. It provides services for people all over the world regardless of their race, or nationality. IICO is providing help for the needy in social, economical, educational, medical, and cultural fields as well urgent relief aids in case of war, natural, disasters, epidemics, famines, and similar circumstances.
QAAF Aid Worldwide
It is a UK-based registered charity body, which provides relief aids to the poor and the needy in the world, particularly in Asia and Africa, during natural calamities, wars, conflicts. It provides food, clothing, and sanitation and cleans drinking water to the affected people.
QAAF Aid Worldwide also works for the education for the poor and the orphans by providing them training centers, workshops and educational establishments.
Projects include orphans’ sponsorship, education, development projects, water wells & food programs, medical aid & immunization, disaster relief. QAAF Aid Worldwide aims to secure sponsorship for orphans to provide them with a better future.
Rahima Foundation is a ‘San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose’ Bay Area based non-profit, non-political. It is a charitable and educational organization that does not discriminate in its provision of services on the basis of race, color, religious affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, physical appearance, national origin, language, educational background or veteran status. No funds are used for any lobbying or any other political activity.
Mercy-USA for Aid and Development
Founded in 1986, Mercy-USA is a non-profit relief and development organization. Their projects focus on improving health and promoting economic and educational growth around the world.
International relief organization working to provide education, medical aid, and funds worldwide. Accepts sadaqah and zakah online.
Association of Islamic Charitable Projects (AICP)
Nonprofit organization based in Philadelphia that educates the public about Islam and advocates moderation. Site is in Arabic, French, German, Indonesian, and other languages.
Works to support educational, social welfare, and charitable projects in economically depressed areas of Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, USA, and Canada.
UK-based charity founded by Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) and working to provide humanitarian relief and community development in the Balkans and the Middle East.
Zakat Foundation of America
Nonprofit organization providing education, relief, and assistance to the needy.
Muslim Aid Australia Inc.
International relief and development agency working to alleviate poverty and suffering amongst some of the world’s poorest communities.
Human Assistance and Development International
Nonprofit Muslim organization geared towards socioeconomic, educational and scientific development of the needy communities and people worldwide.
Taken from www.globalpolicy.org/
By Ashley Burke of the Arab Academy
Ashley Burke is an employee of Arab Academy, a leading online provider of Arabic courses and learning. In addition to online courses Arab Academy offers study abroad options and offers courses at their Egypt location, Deraya University.