The organisation under scrutiny, Samaritan's Purse, is run by Christian evangelist Franklin Graham, which the UK-based Islamic Affairs Central Network (IACN) describes as a "hatemonger with a history of anti-Islam comments such as describing the religion as 'wicked and evil'."

The IACN objected to DHL's support of the group's project Operation Christmas Child which the IACN said "exploits the suffering of people, particularly in Muslim countries to promote their work under the disguise of humanitarian (missions)".

The UK-based IACN said that Graham's organisation "has been very instrumental in deteriorating Christian-Muslim relations".

Defending its policy, DHL Head of Communications and Corporate Affairs, Sharon Dance told the IACN:

"Initial enquiries show that our staff agreed this support (to Operation Christmas Child or Shoebox Appeal) with good intentions ie being (sic) to help needy children at holiday time".  DHL apologised for "causing any offence".

'Key issue'

The IACN, however, felt the response failed to address the key issue of supporting "a genuine relief organisation and not organisations like the Samaritan's Purse".

"We find it appalling that the likes of Franklin Graham firstly supports invasion of countries including Iraq and then they are one of the first to go in for 'aid'"

Islamic Affairs Central Network (IACN)

The organisation added that already, "many establishments such as 10 Downing Sreet, Co-Op, Asda, South Wales Fire Service and Enterprise Rent-A-Car" retracted their support "for this organisation as they were made aware of the reality".

In subsequent correspondence, DHL informed the IACN that it would use "all reasonable endeavours to not knowingly support the organisation".

The IACN said it did not object to missionary work.

However, it said "we find it appalling that the likes of Franklin Graham firstly supports invasion of countries including Iraq and then they are one of the first to go in for 'aid'."

Franklin caused uproar after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US when he called the Islamic religion "wicked", "violent" and "evil".