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Response to the article in The Daily Star 19th March 2009

Sorry, no aspersions please!

We are Muslim Aid, a humanitarian body par excellence.

On 19th March 2009, the Dhaka newspaper, Daily Star, published a story headlined ‘NGOs under scanner for “funding militancy”, mentioning among them Muslim Aid Field Office Bangladesh along with some quasi-governmental bodies in the Gulf, like Rabita al-Alam al-Islami, International Islamic Relief Organisation, Qatar Charitable Society etc.

Sorry, no aspersions please, we are Muslim Aid, a humanitarian body par excellence, wrote H. Fadlullah Wilmot, Country Director Muslim Aid Bangladesh, to the newspaper. Mr Wilmot outlined (as below) the objectives and service record of Muslim Aid worldwide and in Bangladesh in particular:

1. Muslim Aid Bangladesh is one of the 10 Field Offices of the premier British Muslim charity, Muslim Aid. The Bangladesh office was set up in 1991. 2. The parent body Muslim Aid UK, founded in 1985, a British charity (Registration Number 295224), is regulated under British charity laws and reports to the British Charities Commission and other financial regulatory authorities in the U.K. Details of Muslim Aid and our audited accounts can be viewed on the British Charities Commission website at http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk. In Bangladesh, as in other national jurisdictions, the Field Offices report to the local regulatory bodies. In Bangladesh we fully report all our activities and provide our audited accounts to the NGO Affairs Bureau.   3. Muslim Aid is presently working in over 70 countries with offices in Bangladesh, Bosnia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, and Sudan. As a signatory to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Code of Conduct for NGOs in Disaster Relief, Muslim Aid delivers relief to all without any discrimination. In Bangladesh we have helped people of all faiths and persuasions. 4. The Muslim Aid Bangladesh Field Office is working mainly to eliminate poverty and assist the victims of natural disasters. In this regard, while trying to relieve immediate needs, our strategic focus is long-term -- on capacity building and building self-reliance. This is done through:

Education Skills training Provision of clean water and sanitation Healthcare Income generation projects for the poor
6. Being an open, transparent and publicly accountable body, Muslim Aid has no problem with the NGO Bureau looking into the activities of NGOs including ourselves and the sources of funding and their distribution.  For one, it will help to separate the black sheep, if any, from genuine and reputable humanitarian INGOs like ours.  7. However, while we fully share your staff correspondent’s concern about identifying and punishing those guilty of funding militant groups, we believe that instead of using a very wide brush which seems to cover almost all Muslim INGOs, it would have been more in accord with your own high journalistic standards to have at least counter-checked the story with us. 8. We in Muslim Aid do not believe in blowing our own trumpet, we believe that our work and our beneficiaries speak for Muslim Aid. But just as a matter of reference, ten years apart, two successive British prime ministers, Rt. Hon. Mr Tony Blair and Rt. Hon. Mr Gordon Brown, are on record testifying to the noble work of Muslim Aid. The former about its work for the Kosovan refugees in 1999 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/336339.stm) and most recently by Prime Minister Gordon Brown commending Muslim Aid at the UN Interfaith Conference at New York the 13th of November 2008. (http://www.number10.gov.uk/) for its interfaith humanitarian partnership with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)

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