Hand in Hand for Syria wins charity of the year at Muslim Charities Forum awards

Hand in Hand for Syria has been named Charity of the Year at the Muslim Charities Forum Humanitarian Awards.

The charity won the award for its work in Syria, which includes building an underground hospital that will be protected from bombings. The charity said it was “overjoyed” to win.

Ahead of the awards last night the MCF revealed that its 17 members were collectively responsible for raising over £162m last year and that British Muslim volunteers give 29 years of time towards charity every year.

Meanwhile, Baroness Warsi criticised the level of scrutiny and vilification faced by British Muslim charities.

The Third Sector reports that during her speech at the Muslim Charities Forum’s Humanitarian Awards, Warsi said that people from the Muslim community and the charitable sector had had a “ginormous spotlight” shone on them in recent years. “The level of scrutiny and daily vilification that you have faced makes me question how you keep going,” she said.

Baroness Warsi

Warsi criticised the government’s approach to working with the Muslim charity sector after she resigned as a foreign minister over the escalation of violence in the Israel-Gaza conflict in 2014. “Within four months of me leaving government, the wonderful partnership we had built up with the Muslim Charities Forum was stopped on accusations that were never proven,” she said.

Warsi also questioned the direction the Charity Commission had taken under William Shawcross, its chair. The regulator has been criticised by some in the charity sector for having a disproportionate focus on Islamic extremism, but the commission has rejected this.

But Warsi said that Muslim charities must raise their game. “If you look closely enough at organisations, especially voluntary ones, you will find a loose thread that you can latch on to and you can unravel the organisation,” she said. “We must strive for no loose threads. No inadequate trustees, no sitting on huge funds, no murky areas with partners.”

Nine awards were handed out on the night:

Charity of the Year: Hand in Hand for Syria

Small Charity of the Year: Sufra

Volunteer of The Year: Zakariya Sharif Nur (Muslim Action for Development and Environment)

Fundraising Campaign of the Year: Penny Appeal

Advocacy Campaign of the Year: Islamic Relief

Most Impactful International Programme: Muslim Charity

Most Impactful Domestic Programme: Human Appeal

Charity Partnership of the Year: Al-Imdaad Foundation

Corporate Partnership of the Year: Global One.

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