Islamic Relief Worldwide promotes international programmes director to CEO

Islamic Relief Worldwide has promoted its director of international programmes Waseem Ahmad, who will become its next chief executive officer.

He takes up the role on May 17 after six years heading the aid charity’s international programmes and first joining the charity 20 years ago.

He started his initial stint at the charity as programme officer in Pakistan.

He has also worked at Oxfam and Tearfund before rejoining Islamic Relief Worldwide in 2006.

The charity says that Ahmad has been “pivotal in forming and strengthening partnerships” with institutional donors at the Islamic Relief Worldwide in recent years.

“With Waseem Ahmad as CEO, Islamic Relief will benefit from having a hugely experienced aid and development practitioner at the helm in this next chapter of our story,” said the charity’s chair Dr Ihab M.H. Saad.

“With strong personal and professional integrity, Waseem comes from one of the communities we serve in South Asia and has extensive field experience.

“As a person of faith and of high professional standards, our new CEO is passionate about integrating Islamic humanitarian principles with contemporary humanitarian approaches – and well equipped to do so.

“I look forward to working closely with him to further build and strengthen the work of this great organisation for the benefit of those we serve.”

Ahmad rakes over from Islamic Relief UK director Tufail Hussain, who been interim CEO following the resignation due to ill health of CEO Naser Haghamed.

An interim replacement for Ahmad, heading international programmes, is to be announced later this month.

“The need for Islamic Relief’s work has never been greater, or more urgent,” said Ahmad. “The Covid-19 pandemic is worsening what were already huge, global challenges including hunger, violence against women and children, and the climate emergency.”

Earlier this year the Charity Commission announced it had concluded an investigation into Islamic Relief Worldwide after two trustees and a director were found to have posted “offensive and anti-Semitic social media comments”.

The regulator said it was “satisfied” the charity took swift action once concerns were raised about the comments. This included condemning the social media posts and ensuring all three individuals involved left their roles, which they did of their own accord.

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