Islamic Relief Worldwide appoints new chief executive

Waseem Ahmad has been promoted to the top job after 15 years with the charity

Waseem Ahmad
Waseem Ahmad

Islamic Relief Worldwide has appointed Waseem Ahmad as its new chief executive. 

Ahmad is director of IRW’s international programmes division, managing the design and delivery of the charity’s global humanitarian and development work. 

He succeeds Naser Haghamed, who stepped down at the end of January for health reasons

Acting chief executive Tufail Hussain will return to his role as director of Islamic Relief UK when Ahmad takes up his new position next week, the charity said. 

Ahmad has been at the charity for 15 years, having joined as a programme officer in the Balochistan region of Pakistan. 

He has also served as head of programme funding and partnerships, a role that involved strengthening relationships with major institutional partners, including the then-UK Department for International Development.

Ahmad said he was honoured to lead the charity at a critical time.

“Our duty to humanity is greater than ever right now,” he said. “We want to work together with communities and partners around the world to create a just and fairer future for everyone.” 

Ihab Saad, chair of IRW’s board of trustees, said Ahmad had led the charity’s response to some of the biggest emergencies around the world. 

“Under his leadership our aid and development programmes have gone from strength to strength, reaching more people than ever before and empowering communities in innovative and sustainable ways,” said Saad. 

“Waseem is passionate about integrating Islamic humanitarian principles with contemporary humanitarian approaches and has helped us to form and strengthen our partnerships with international organisations and donors around the world.” 

Three senior figures were forced to step down from the charity last year after it emerged they had posted antisemitic comments on social media.

The comments prompted a review by the former attorney general, Dominic Grieve, into the charity’s governance structures and practices, policies on social media and the vetting of trustees and senior executives.

But Grieve found no evidence to suggest that the antisemitic comments of those former leaders at the organisation had any link to its charitable work.

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