Press Release: Islamic Relief Canada Outraged at the Killing of 117 Sponsored Orphans in Gaza Since October 7

16 mai, 2024

Burlington, Ontario (May 16, 2024) - Islamic Relief Canada is devastated to announce the killing of Canadian-sponsored Gaza orphans and is appalled by the lack of urgency displayed by the Canadian Government in addressing the catastrophic situation unfolding on the ground.

The first list of names of the Gazan orphans who have been killed in Israel’s assault over the past few months has just been received by our teams, with the youngest being only three and a half years old. This list is the first of many we expect to receive in the coming weeks and months.

Islamic Relief's orphan sponsorship program allows Canadians to sponsor children in countries where they have lost their caretakers due to conflict and/or natural disasters. Donations to the charity for the orphan sponsorship program provide children with food, water, shelter, education, and other necessities.

Usama Khan, Islamic Relief’s CEO says:

“Since October 7th, our teams on the ground in Gaza have been coming to us with names of children every day, asking us to find sponsors for them to provide shelter, food, and other basic needs. The need for supporting children in Gaza has surged in the past few months. It is expected to worsen as Israel continues its offensive in Rafah - where millions were forced into and were promised as being a verified safe zone."

Ahmed* from Alberta has sponsored Anwar*in Gaza since 2017.

“Anwar lost his dad in 2014 and I’ve been sponsoring and befriending him for the past couple of years. Anwar was in high school. Last week, I found out that he was killed due to the Israeli attack on Gaza. I am still trying to cope with the news. Anwar had so much life ahead of him. He did not deserve this. I believe our government should be doing much more. We cannot be complicit in the killing of innocent children. We must take decisive and urgent action now. We owe it to Anwar and all the unknown children whose lives have been unjustly taken.”

Maha* from Ontario had been sponsoring teenager Saleem* for four years in Gaza:

“The past few months, seeing all the death and destruction taking place in Gaza with little movement from world leaders has been heartbreaking and frustrating. But the day I got the call that Saleem the teenager I was sponsoring in Gaza has become the latest victim of the ongoing assult by Israel on Gaza, my heart shattered. I am currently pregnant and hearing this was even more emotional for me. No child deserves this - no person deserves this - we need action now to stop this senseless killing.”

Nour*, an orphan living through the Israeli assault on Gaza:

"War isn't just bombs and explosions. It's also the sadness on our faces and the despair that fills our hearts. Every night, we go to sleep wondering if we'll wake up the next morning."

Islamic Relief Canada continues to call for an immediate ceasefire and for the Canadian government to halt the transfer of weapons and immediately suspend all arms export permits to Israel. All children deserve basic human rights – food, water, shelter, and safety.

Notes to Editors

* Names have been changed 

To coordinate interviews, please contact [email protected] or Mashaal Saeed,  Media and Campaigns Lead, at [email protected] or 647-919-1580. 

Islamic Relief Canada is a registered charity in Canada that works in more than 40 countries to provide humanitarian relief and build resilient, prosperous communities. Visit www.islamicreliefcanada.org for more information.

The release was amended to report the updated number of orphans killed, which is 117. The original count of 168 included the number of guardians who were also tragically killed, leaving behind young children. 

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