Islamic Relief has officially welcomed new trustee leadership to the organisation.

Mr Tahir Salie, who was actively involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, has been appointed chair of the Board of Trustees, and Lamia El Amri, a Muslim women’s rights activist, has become the new vice chair.

Islamic Relief began in 1984

Islamic Relief began in 1984

Speaking to staff, Mr Salie said he had recently visited the office where Islamic Relief had started more than 30 years ago. “I have to say to all and to myself as well that we must never forget where we started and where we came from; from those very humble beginnings to an organisation that has become a major global player in the world.”

He referred to the responsibility of the organisation and all those who work for and within it, and paid tribute to the work of staff, directors and trustees, old and new.

Islamic Relief staff welcome the new leaders of the Board of Trustees

Islamic Relief staff welcome the new leaders of the Board of Trustees

“All of the work that has been done in the past has made it possible for us to do things even bigger and better, but we need to go back to basics,” he said, urging everybody to keep the values of Islamic Relief – sincerity (Iklas), Excellence (Ihsan), Compassion (Rahma), Social Justice (Adl), and Custodianship (Amana) – at the heart of the organisation and the heart of their work.

He admitted that he was somewhat overwhelmed to be chair of the Board of Trustees because he recognised Islamic Relief’s impact across the world, and the responsibility that came with being a global organisation.

A noble cause

He explained that when meeting external stakeholders they always valued the work Islamic Relief was doing, and openly praised the organisation for its contribution to the humanitarian sector.

“I know for a fact that those offices I’ve visited and those individuals who have communicated with me, who have spoken to me, that each and every one has the loyalty, and has the concern and commitment of Islamic Relief at heart,” he added

“We must remember that when we’re talking about poverty alleviation, we’re doing something that is a noble cause.”

The new chair of the Board of Trustees Tahir Salie

The new chair of the Board of Trustees Tahir Salie

In a rallying call for action, Mr Salie asked for “business unusual”, asking for renewed efforts, energies, passion and commitment for the work ahead.

Islamic Relief’s CEO Dr Mohamed Ashmawey said: “This is the first time ever in the history of the organisation that none of the founders is still a member of the board of trustees. This means a lot of trust from them that their organisation, that they worked so hard to build, is in good hands.”

Mr Salie, from South Africa, joined the Board of Trustees in 2007 and took up the chairmanship in July. He has vast experience with local, national and international NGOs. He replaced Ibrahim El-Zayat as chair.

Lamia El Amri

The new vice chair of the Board of Trustees Lamia El Amri

Lamia El Amri joined the Board of Trustees in 2013. She works at the Swedish Labour Agency as a senior manager and also began her new role within Islamic Relief in July.

Islamic Relief’s governance structure is an important element of our work.

At the beginning of the year, we changed our governance in order to be more inclusive of our offices around the world, and to offer greater transparency and accountability.

This new era in Islamic Relief’s management has also been designed to help us reach people in vulnerable situations more quickly and more efficiently, and to support our consistent high standards in the work we do across the world.