These Islamic Charities Are Helping People All Over the World

Helping supportive hand
Mansoreh Motamedi / Getty Images

Muslims generally strive to be generous and humble in their charitable contributions, but it is getting harder to do so in today's climate of suspicion and fear. Some Islamic charities have been shut down on allegations or proof that they have re-routed funds to terrorist causes, causing Muslims to become wary of where their money is going.

For your reference, here is a list of reputable Islamic charities with a history of legitimate engagement of helping the poor and needy throughout the world—both Islamic and non-Islamic people.

This is far from a comprehensive list of all the legitimate, safe charities you can donate to. But if you are contributing to a new charity with a short history, it is always recommended that you research the organization before sending a donation. Should you accidentally contribute to a charity involved in supporting extremist violence, there is the potential for becoming the subject of legal scrutiny yourself. 

01
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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. Mercy–USA has received a 4-star rating by Charity Navigator. Mercy–USA partners with United Nations and U.S. governmental organizations and programs.

02
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Life for Relief and Development (LIFE)

LIFE is 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. Charity Navigator rates LIFE as a 4-star charity. 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.

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Islamic Relief

Islamic Relief is an international relief and development organization with permanent offices in 35 countries. Islamic Relief's U.S. office has been given a 3-star rating by Charity Navigator. Islamic Relief works in partnership with other international aid organizations, church groups, and local relief agencies in the areas they serve.

04
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Muslim Aid

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.

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ICNA Relief USA

A program of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), ICNA Relief is a humanitarian relief and development organization that 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.

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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 Islamic 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.

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U.S. Treasury Department List of Suspect Organizations

As the "war on terrorism" continues, some Islamic charitable organizations have been targeted and shut down by the U.S. government under accusations of terrorist ties. The U.S. Treasury Dept. is responsible for administering sanctions against terrorists and other criminals. To ensure that your contribution reaches its intended recipients, steer clear of questionable groups and contribute through reputable, international organizations.

See the Treasury Department's list dedicated to Protecting Charitable Organizations for an up-to-date, alphabetical list of charities with a summary of information. The website lists dozens of charities you should avoid in order to steer clear of contributing to terrorist support.