Islamic Relief encourages British Muslims to speak out against the worldwide abuse of women and girls

Islamic Relief UK has today (Wednesday 4 April 2018) launched a major faith-inspired advocacy campaign to tackle all forms of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), both internationally and domestically.

As the largest Islamic inspired humanitarian organisation in the UK, Islamic Relief is using the campaign to take a proactive stance against all forms of VAWG, including domestic abuse, sexual violence, human trafficking, forced and early child marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM/C), and so-called “honour” killings. Islamic Relief UK cites Qur’anic sources in support of the campaign.

Launching at the East London Mosque in Whitechapel, the “Honour Her” campaign has the support of key organisations, such as the Muslim Council of Britain, as well as imams, activists and high-profile online influencers including H&M model and blogger, Mariah Idrissi. Attendees at the event were the first to see the campaign’s powerful new video which is available at

The campaign calls upon the UK Muslim community, as well as imams, to mobilise, raise awareness and take action on this issue within their congregations. They can also sign the “Honour Her” pledge online.

To reach a wide cross section of the community, Islamic Relief has sought endorsements from a range of influencers including Muslim blogger and model, Mariah Idrissi. Ms Idrissi is the first hijab-wearing model to be involved in a major global campaign for the multinational fashion retailer, H&M. She says:

“I’m lending my support to Islamic Relief’s campaign to end violence against women and girls around the world as gender-based violence is virtually taboo in the Muslim world and isn’t often spoken about in our community. By bringing this to global attention, we are making a powerful statement about our collective power as women and as Muslims”.

Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain supported the initiative by Islamic relief saying, “As one of the biggest Muslim charities, it sends a very strong signal and message especially against the general media narrative that associates this kind of behaviour with religion. It’s showing the disassociation with religion. Neither violence nor other acts can be justified using our religion.”

“There is no justification for the violence. To the contrary, most of the recommendations and injunctions are about honouring women and raising their status from bringing up daughters to being the best to your wife, being respectful and dutiful to your parents, raising the status of the mother – all of these things are there through the Koran and the sayings of the Prophet Mohammed are all there to raise the status of women”.

Imran Madden, UK Director of Islamic Relief, said:

“As a British Muslim charity, Islamic Relief is committed to ending violence against women and girls worldwide as part of our core mission to save lives. One way in which we seek to end harmful practices affecting women and girls is through our programmes.  As part of our work, which is firmly rooted in the Islamic principles of justice and equality, we aim to challenge the religious and cultural misconceptions that allow violence against women and girls to occur in the countries that we work in. 

“As Muslims, we recognise the role of faith in tackling this issue.   We know that religious leaders, civil society, faith institutions and men as well as women are essential to drive real change in our communities and we welcome their involvement in tackling this issue. It must also be recognised that this is not a Muslim problem but a cultural and societal issue.

“If there is one message here today; it is this: violence against women and girls, in any shape or form, is not acceptable in Islam, it is not acceptable in our communities and it is not acceptable in wider society. Today, we call on you all to join us in the pursuit of justice by supporting the campaign and signing the pledge”.


The campaign will support a global effort across the Islamic Relief family to tackle Gender Based Violence (GBV). At a major UN conference on women’s rights in March, representatives of Islamic Relief Worldwide publicly called on Muslim faith leaders, governments, institutions and civil society actors to commit to establishing gender justice globally. The organisation also published a series of policy papers on the issue of VAWG within humanitarian settings including Early and Forced Marriage and FGM/C.



For more information please contact Hasina Momtaz, Media Relations Manager at Islamic Relief UK, on 020 7593 3232, email / Sultan Ahmed, Media Coordinator, on 020 7593 3217, email / James Tweed, Media Coordinator, on 020 7593 3219, email:


Notes for Editors

  • To support the campaign, please go to where supporters can access and share the pledge, video and more information.
  • Violence against women, particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence, is a major public health problem and violation of women’s human rights. An estimated 100m to 140m women and girls currently live with the consequences of FGM and more than 700m women alive today were married below the age of 18, with one in three of those married before the age of 15.
  • Islamic Relief is an international aid and development charity that aims to alleviate the suffering of the world’s poorest people in more than 30 countries, mainly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. As well as responding to disasters and emergencies, Islamic Relief promotes sustainable economic and social development by working with local communities – regardless of race, religion or gender.
  • Islamic Relief Worldwide’s three policy papers on Early and Forced Marriage, Domestic Abuse, and Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting were launched at the UN’s 62nd Commission on the Status of Women in March 2018 and can be downloaded from
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that globally one in three women have or will experience violence in their lifetime, and that women and girls are disproportionately affected by Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
  • The full list of campaign ambassadors are as follows:


  1. Mariah Idrissi – First hijab-wearing model to appear in multinational fashion campaign
  2. Harun Rashid Khan – Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain
  3. Safwan ‘SuperSaf’ Ahmedmia –Largest YouTube tech blogger in the UK
  4. Myriam Francois Cerrah – British writer, broadcaster and academic
  5. Shaykh Fahimul Anam – Muslim scholar
  6. Shayka Selina Begum Ali – Muslim scholar
  7. Zain Bhikha – International Nasheed Artist
  8. Shelina Janmohamed – Author of ‘Generation M’ and ‘Love in a Headscarf’
  9. Imam Abdul Qayyum – Chief Imam of the East London Mosque