How Muslims Helped Ireland During The Great Famine

160 years ago, during the Great Famine in Ireland, the Ottoman Empire sent £1,000 sterling (about $1,052,000 today) and 3 shiploads of food to Drogheda, Ireland.

Ireland was ridden with famine and disease between 1845 and 1849. Also known as the Great Hunger, this famine had lasting effects: at least one million people died due to famine-related diseases and more than one million Irish fled, mainly to the United States, England, Canada, and Australia.

The Islamic State (Ottoman) ruler at that time Sultan Khaleefah Abdul-Majid declared his intention to send £10,000 sterling to Irish farmers but Queen Victoria requested that the Sultan send only £1,000 sterling, because she had sent only £2,000 sterling herself. The Sultan sent the £1,000 sterling but also secretly sent 3 ships full of food. The British administration tried to block the ships, but the food arrived secretly at Drogheda harbour.

This generous charity from a Muslim ruler to a Christian nation is also important, particularly in our time when Muslims are often unfairly accused of human rights violations. Likewise, the appreciative plaque and overall reaction of the Irish society in return for this charity deserves to be applauded. We hope that the Turkish-Irish friendship sets a model for peace among different nations.


In commemoration of the Ottoman aid, Drogheda added the Ottoman crescent and star to its coat of arms. Their football club’s emblem retains this design til this day.

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  • Reply
    When Muslims helped the starving Irish
    August 5, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    […] of Drogheda and it's interesting that the crest of Drogheda FC commemorates this 160 years later. How Muslims Helped Ireland During The Great Famine | Archive Islam Sign in or Register Now to […]

  • Reply
    Damien Flinter
    August 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    I hope this is commemorated annually. It seems like an excellent reason for strengthening ties. I have been in Turkey(1973/4)..and had many Turkish friends in Germany and Netherlands.
    The native American Choctaw tribe also sent money they collected as an act of solidarity on their Trail of Tears as a result of the predations of the same Brutish(sic) empire.

  • Reply
    mark matthews
    August 10, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    We are all brothers and sisters under the same sun. We should all be prepared to help each other, especially so when we are struggling. It should never matter what our gender is, our race, our social position, our political choices, the country we live in or our religious choices.

    • Reply
      May 3, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      True ….this is my everyday wish that everyone want what they want themselves. If one feel pain consider us if we are in pain and help. If one is hungry help as you need to be helped when your in need.

    • Reply
      Brendan Murphy
      September 7, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      Well said Mark, very true statement.

  • Reply
    patricia moore
    August 19, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    it wansn’t told that queen victoria told them to donate just £1,000 instead of£10,000 they wanted to donate!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Very inspiring. ..this is what we supposed to do everyday, helping one another instead of looking down on one who is not on our level. Just think if one person is struggling, your struggling. If we have mercy on each other our creator(Allah) will have mercy on us.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2015 at 10:10 am

    If only leadership of today still the same as before …….

  • Reply
    August 3, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    The Great Hunger as you call it was not a famine but a cull of the irish people, only the potato crop failed, what about all the other food which was taken from the country by gunpoint by British soldiers. You figure of 1 million is way off the mark too …

    The Irish famine was not a famine it was a cull, it was genocide by crown forces.

  • Reply
    May 7, 2020 at 2:16 am

    While it is true that the Ottoman Empire assisted provided welcome and generous support in 1847. The crest is traced to much earlier times of King John. However the teams colors are borrowed from Trabzonspor FC in acknowledgement of that support.

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