Islamic Relief Worldwide’s income up £34m to reach record high for fifth year in a row

Income at Islamic Relief Worldwide rose to record levels last year, just 12 months after the charity was rocked by accusations of antisemitism.

It is the fifth year in succession that the charity’s income has reached a new record

The charity raised £182.9m in 2021, up from £148.9m in the previous year, according to accounts filed with the Charity Commission this week.

The increase was driven by money transferred to IRW by affiliated Islamic Relief charities elsewhere in the world. This figure rose from £90.8m in 2020 to £122.7m last year.

The charity’s spending also rose sharply, from £129.4m to £173.6m, leaving IRW with a surplus of £8.6m.

It has added another £1m to its reserves, which stand at £8.4m.

The charity has set up a sponsorship programme to support the children of staff working for IRW affiliates around the world who died of Covid-19, the annual report reveals.

The number of staff directly employed by IRW, measured by annual average headcount, fell by just under 4 per cent, from 465 to 448, while gross spending on salaries was stable at £13m.

IRW operates across the world through more than a dozen affiliated organisations and in-country offices. 

The annual accounts say the charity dismissed five members of staff from those in-country offices over safeguarding concerns last year, as part of disciplinary action in nine separate cases.

The Charity Commission concluded a compliance case into IRW in January last year, following media reports about antisemitic social media posts by senior figures at the charity.

The commission said it was satisfied with the progress trustees had made addressing the issue. 

The charity said at the time: “The actions of these three individuals fell far short of the standards that we expect from our organisation. Their comments were deeply offensive and in clear violation of our core values and beliefs. 

“We are determined to do all in our power to make sure this kind of misconduct does not happen again.”

The annual report does not directly address that scandal, but does say: “Islamic Relief Worldwide continues to refute false or misleading adverse media reports.”

Writing in the introduction to the annual report, Waseem Ahmad, chief executive of IRW, says: “2021 was when the profound and lasting human and economic impact of the pandemic became clear for all to see.”

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