Latest Updates

Friday, May 28, 2010

Islamic Relief USA is Going to RIS and ICNA-MAS Conventions

Memorial Day weekend is upon us. Maybe you will be visiting your family, or taking a mini-vacation, or just staying at home and barbecuing. Islamic Relief USA will be hitting the road, traveling to the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)/Muslim American Society (MAS) convention in Hartford, Connecticut and the Reviving Islamic Spirit (RIS) conference in Long Beach, California.

The ICNA-MAS convention will be focusing on "Save Family/Save Society" with numerous programs on how to develop strategies to address social and moral challenges that Muslim families face as a means of strengthening society as a whole. At RIS the focus will be on "remembering the days of Allah" to help revitalizing our Islamic spirit.

Find Islamic Relief USA at booth 127 at ICNA-MAS and at booth 201 at RIS. Stop by, if you'll be at either convention, and learn more about IR USA's programs, relief efforts, and how you can help through donations and volunteering.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

CEO Abed Ayoub Visits IR Projects in Africa and Middle East

Islamic Relief USA’s CEO Abed Ayoub is in Ghana and will be traveling to several other countries in Africa and the Middle East over the next few weeks to visit Islamic Relief projects, forge new partnerships, and open up a new office where the organization can engage in more relief work for those in need.

Ayoub is set to meet Ghanaian President John Atta Mills today. Yesterday Ayoub and IR USA Development Coordinator Belkacem Nahi visited Al Diaa, a socio-cultural association in Ghana, to discuss Islamic Relief projects in the country. They also visited the site of the future Madina University, which will have 5,000 students living on campus. Nahi said that Islamic Relief will be providing supplies to the university’s health clinic. They also met with a group of teachers and students and discussed the need for a technologically advanced school with an efficient computer lab. Their day ended with Ayoub speaking at a local graduation ceremony, where he emphasized the role of education in developmental work.

In the coming days, Ayoub will visit a school in Benin. Then he and Nahi plan to embark for Mali, and later Ayoub will go to Jordan. They will also be meeting with a number of officials from various ministries in Ghana and Mali. Ayoub said he is looking forward to seeing the work being done in the field offices in those countries.

“We know how our donations are being used, but to see it with our own eyes, to see the hard work going on to help those in need--that helps us move forward in planning how we can fund more effective and useful projects,” Ayoub said.

Islamic Relief USA will be blogging more about Ayoub’s trip in the coming weeks. Check back here to read more. To donate to IR USA, please click here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Four Months Later: Islamic Relief USA in Haiti

Four months after the devestating earthquake in Haiti, Islamic Relief USA went back to the country to revisit the camps and projects set into motion in the days following the disaster. Click through the photos to see Haiti now and what IR USA is doing there. Please click here to donate to Islamic Relief USA.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Photos: IR USA's Fundraising Dinner for Palestine with Hanan Turk

Egyptian actress Hanan Turk did a series of fundraising dinners with Islamic Relief USA to raise money for Palestine. Click through photos of the fundraising event with Turk in New Jersey in early May.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

IR USA Urges People to Give in Tough Economic Times

News reports continue to fluctuate on if this country's economic recession is on its way out or holding strong. Hearing this, I give thanks to Allah that my husband and I have jobs and can provide for our family. I know too many others who have lost their jobs, have trouble making home payments or have taken jobs away from their families, and they continue to face tough times.

Our natural tendency during times like these is to reflect on the mistakes we’ve made in the past (spending beyond our means, being frivolous, not planning for the future) and make a new plan for the future. For most people hit by this recession, that plan is to save and tighten belts, which makes Islamic Relief USA’s new campaign urging people to give more, not less, to a charity of their choice during this recession a perspective that's worth a closer look:

"Washington, D.C.-area relief organization said while cutting back on charitable giving is often seen as a logical first step in cost savings, increasing donations makes sense from both a spiritual and economical perspective.

"It's the best investment you can make," said Abed Ayoub, CEO of IR USA. "Our faith teaches us to spend our wealth in the way of God as it will not only enrich oneself spiritually but will also be returned to us multiple times over. In a recession, economists also call for increased public spending to stimulate economic growth," according to IR USA’s press release.

It makes perfect sense: Islam, and in fact all Abrahamic faiths, teaches us to help the less fortunate, give to charity, and give to please God. Such giving will reap us wonderful rewards inshallah in this life and in the hereafter. So please dig deep and donate to Islamic Relief USA, or the charity of your choice. To learn more, click here.

--Dilshad D. Ali

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

IR USA's Volunteer Coordinator Praises Award Winners

Volunteers are the essence of the work we do at Islamic Relief USA. As the National Volunteer Coordinator, I am stunned by the creativity and dedication of our volunteers each day I work with them.

I am very proud of our five IR USA volunteers who received this year’s President's Volunteer Service Award (PVSA). Each of them works and studies, but still finds the time to come and donate time to IR USA.

On Monday, at our Washington D.C. headquarters, we held a reception honoring our award winners. Ibrahima, one of the recipients, reminded our staff about one of the quotes I had posted up in the Office of Volunteers: "Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart."

When a volunteer walks through the halls of the office, I know we did something right. With that said, I want to thank our staff and donors for their support. And in the volunteer department, being kind is contagious.

Together we will succeed in our mission to help the poor and less fortunate, Insha’Allah.

--Nazia Hossain, IR USA National Volunteer Coordinator

Monday, May 17, 2010

California School Children Raise Money for Orphans

This spring semester, 38 students from the Minaret Academy in Southern California helped raise more than $3,100 for Islamic Relief’s orphan projects.

The children, who range in age from five to ten years old, began gathering donations a few months ago when they decorated cans and took them home to fill with loose change. Last Friday, the students also organized a bake sale, which raised about $1,400. The Islamic Institute of Orange County, the mosque that houses the school, also donated $1,000 in support of the student-led project.

Many of the children contributed from their own lunch money and allowance to help reach their goal.

"I show my thanks to Allah for all His blessing by sharing it with the poor," seven-year-old Husna Farooqi wrote on her can.

The project was launched earlier this year by the students’ Islamic Studies teacher, Samar Labanieh. "I wanted to teach the kids about [the Islamic principle of] ithaar," Labanieh said. "Ithaar is when you have something you love and you give it to someone else who needs it."

To read more about Islamic Relief’s orphan projects, please click here.

If you are interested in organizing a similar project and want more information, please email us at
--Zeyad Maasarani

Friday, May 14, 2010

Five Islamic Relief USA Volunteers Receive Presidential Award

The President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) has been awarded this year to five Islamic Relief USA volunteers. This prestigious award is decided based on age and the amount of hours the individual has volunteered throughout the course of one year. These volunteers have worked tirelessly in IR USA’s head office and on many of the organization’s campaigns while studying, engaging in other activities, and even working full- time.

The five who received this award are:

• Afroza Chowdhury, Public Affairs, receiving the gold award for 262 hours of service
• Muneeza Tahir, Communications, receiving the silver award for 478.2 hours of service
• Khadijah Abdullah, Community Development, receiving the silver award for 176 hours of service
• Ibrahima Dioubata , Office Support, receiving the bronze award for 185.82 hours of service
• Tracey D. Abdul-Wahhab , Office Support & Evening of Inspiration Artist Care Chair, receiving the bronze award for 159.45 hours of service

Nazia Hossain, National Volunteer Coordinator, manages IR USA’s core base of 3,000 volunteers, the largest Muslim volunteer network in the country. “Many of our volunteers help remotely through Facebook, online social media, text messages, Twitter, and assist with making donor phone calls,” Hossain said. “But many also volunteer on a regular basis at the office and help organize fundraising events. Their work is crucial to our success in helping others.”

Hossain said that if IR USA’s volunteers didn’t volunteer for one day, that “the domestic programs, community fund development, and orphans department would probably come to a standstill, and we would have significantly less departmental support.”

IR USA’s office headquarters in Virginia logged a record-breaking 935.6 volunteer hours in 2009. Many of IR USA’s employees volunteered for the organization before becoming salaried employee, including CEO Abed Ayoub, who volunteered for IR USA for 15 years.

Hossain said she was immensely proud of the volunteers who received the award as well as the countless others who have dedicated their time to help IR USA’s relief and development efforts in the U.S. (with its Day of Dignity campaign) and around the world (in Haiti, Pakistan, Mali, Palestine, and other locations).

For more information, visit Islamic Relief USA’s website. Learn how to volunteer here. Also, please click here to donate to IR USA and help the organization in its relief efforts and charity work.

Friday, May 7, 2010

IR USA's Abed Ayoub Meets with Southern California Leaders

Abed Ayoub, CEO of Islamic Relief USA, met on Wednesday May 5, with leaders and representatives from Muslim organizations throughout Southern California to discuss the organization's plans for future relief and charity work. Many of the attendees found the meeting fruitful.

“I am so proud to see Islamic Relief provide this space where Muslim organizations can come together and share their thoughts and ideas on how to better represent this American Muslim community,” said a board member from a local mosque.

The meeting, held in Orange County, was part of a series of community meetings Islamic Relief USA’s CEO has been holding with community leaders across the country. The night before, a similar meeting was help in the San Fernando Valley with local leaders.

Over dinner, Ayoub presented Islamic Relief USA’s work and future plans, followed by a much-appreciated question and answer session.

Ayoub discussed the progress Islamic Relief USA has been making in its efforts to alleviate poverty across the world. He thanked the leadership and the community for being the backbone of support that has made this progress possible.

One of the goals of these meetings is to maintain an open dialogue with the community and receive its input in the work Islamic Relief USA is involved in. Among the many attendees were representatives from organizations such as the Islamic Shura Council of So. Calif., Council on American-Islamic Relations, Muslim American Society, and local mosques from in and around Orange County.

For more information about Islamic Relief USA, visit our site. To donate to IR USA, please click here.

IR USA's Abed Ayoub Meets with Mayor from Arizona

Islamic Relief USA CEO Abed Ayoub met this week with Mayor Scott Smith of Mesa, Arizona. The meeting comes as part of Islamic Relief USA’s ongoing strategy of developing ties with local governments around the United States.

The two leaders discussed developing a Day of Dignity event in Mesa. Day of Dignity is IR USA’s nationwide effort that provides much-needed aid and services to thousands of underprivileged and homeless people every year in cities around the United States. Every year hundreds of Islamic Relief USA volunteers turn out in support. Last year IR USA had a Day of Dignity in 19 cities nationwide and helped nearly 20,000 homeless and underpriveleged individuals.

Ayoub also met with local community leadership and discussed developing ties between IR USA and Mesa’s government in order to better serve the local community and for IR USA to possibly host events in that city. Also discussed was the important role faith-based charities play in serving those in need.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Islamic Relief USA's Day of Dignity Trainings Begin

It’s that time of year again.

Islamic Relief USA staff members are training city coordinators around the nation to prepare for Day of Dignity, a nationwide effort that helps provide much-needed aid and services to thousands of underprivileged and homeless people every year in cities around the United States. Every year hundreds of Islamic Relief USA volunteers turn out in support.

Last weekend, coordinators from across the West Coast met at Islamic Relief USA’s Southern California office for a training session. Although most of the city coordinators have multiple years of experience leading the Day of Dignity in their area, their hopes to help more people this year fueled the spirit of the training session.

Saleem Khalid, Islamic Relief USA’s domestic programs manager, said he was impressed with the motivation and hard work from coordinators and volunteers. “We’re expanding to 21 locations and are hoping to be far more organized and efficient, so we really need their help” he said. “We’re also hoping to help a lot more people.”

Last year, a Day of Dignity was organized in 19 cities nationwide, serving about 20,000 people.

Learn more about Islamic Relief USA’s Day of Dignity and how you can get involved in a city near you. To donate to Islamic Relief USA, click here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Egyptian Actress Hanan Turk Raises Money for Palestinians

For the past two weeks, Egyptian actress Hanan Turk has been criss-crossing the United States with Islamic Relief USA to raise money for the people of Palestine. The popular actress visited a number of major cities, including Chicago, Detriot, Boston, Milwaukee, and New Jersey. The response of the American Muslim community has been astounding to Ms. Turk’s appeal for the people of Gaza. Alhumdullilah, donors across the country gave more than $1 million for Palestine just in the past two weeks.

In New Jersey on May 1, 2010, Ms. Turk's emotional speech brought people to tears, as she made them connect to those in need in Palestine. Called “A Night for the Love of Palestine," the fundraising dinner truly became an outpouring of love for Palestinians. Hanan Turk is an international friend of Islamic Relief USA and has visited the relief organization's work site in Palestine.

Read more about the relief work Islamic Relief USA is doing in Palestine. To donate to IR USA's Palestinian campaign as well as other campaigns, click here.

IR USA Volunteers Help in Spring Beautification

Islamic Relief USA was joined by the Alexandria Bar Association for the Third “Annual Spring for Alexandria” service event last Friday. IR USA team captain Fatima Issa led 10 volunteers and staff from IR USA as they planted flowers and trees at the local recreation center while Nazia Hossain, IR USA's national volunteer coordinator, worked with the bar association to clean shrubs and do other landscaping work around IR USA headquarters.

This is the begining of a new partnership with the Alexandria Bar Association. The two groups are scheduled to meet again in the next few weeks to find other projects they can coordinate on. There are over 400 nonprofits in Alexandria, Virginia, and many of the nonprofits participated for the cause. It was IR USA’s second year participating in the day of beautification. Ahmed Zaki Yusuf, a World Bank consultant and IR USA volunteer, said help should begin with one’s home community: "Islamic Relief has a good vision in how it wants to be a helping hand,” he said. Hossain added that every little thing a person does for their community “will make the world better.”

For more information on Islamic Relief USA’s relief efforts and campaigns, visit the site. Click here to donate to IR USA.