Arab media is reporting on efforts by the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) to dispute charges that it is tied to terrorism. According to a report in the Arab News:
The International Islamic Relief Organization Saudi Arabia (IIROSA) has stepped up efforts with the help of US attorneys to clear its name in the highly-publicized terror-funding case filed by the families of people who died in the 9/11 attacks. This was disclosed by Abdullah Al-Turki, chairman of the IIROSA’s board of directors who is also secretary-general of the Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL), and Adnan Khalil Basha, IIROSA’s secretary-general, in separate interviews. Al-Turki and Basha both made their comments on the sidelines of a reception hosted by the MWL for foreign diplomats at the Cultural Palace in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter. The event was attended by a large number of Saudi officials and foreign diplomats. It also included a visual presentation explaining the role and activities of the MWL and the IIROSA. “We are dedicated to humanitarian activities to support the needy and have been closely working with major local, international and UN aid agencies … Our operations are transparent … we are working in daylight,” said Al-Turki who referred to the charges as a “bunch of lies.” He added that truth would eventually prevail as is evident from the fact that US courts have already cleared some Islamic charities. The now-defunct Al-Haramain Foundation, which was based in Riyadh, was acquitted along with several Saudi aid organizations and philanthropists by a New York court earlier this month. Basha said the IIROSA has not been acquitted and that “only two of its operations — the Philippines and Indonesian branches — have been falsely accused of involvement in terror funding.” These two branches were identified as “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” entities by the US Treasury Department, a move that empowers US agencies and cooperating global agencies to freeze the organization’s assets. The secretary-general denied that IIROSA has been involved in terrorist activities, adding that the case against IIROSA has been in court for nine years. Basha said the charity has signed an agreement with the Palestinian Authority to open a chapter there that will mainly focus on social welfare programs like sponsoring orphans and distributing small loans among families. “We are waiting for the green light from the Palestinians,” he said, adding that the branch should be operational by the end of the year. He also said that the charity has been helping Palestinians through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and other international aid agencies. The UNRWA’s general commissioner, Peter Ford, met Basha at his office in Jeddah early this year and appreciated IIROSA’s concern for Palestinian people. “We are currently sponsoring some 19,000 orphans worldwide … and have set up 31 academic institutions including schools in different countries where enrollment exceeds 30,000 students,” he said, adding that the IIROSA has a presence in 32 countries. The charity is a MWL-affiliate created by a royal decree on Jan. 29, 1979. It is a member of the International Islamic Council for Dawa and Relief (IICDR) and holds an observer status at the OIC.
An earlier post discussed IIRO plans to enhance its international reputation.
The IIRO is an affiliate of the Muslim World League (MWL) which was established in 1962 as a means for the propagation of Saudi “Wahabbi” Islam. Muslim Brothers played an important role in its founding and, to date, the League has been strongly with the Brotherhood. The MWL, together with the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), are Saudi organizations believed by U.S. government officials to have helped to spread Islamic extremism around the world as well as sponsoring terrorism in places such as Bosnia, Israel, and India. In 2006, the U.S. Treasury Department designated the Philippine and Indonesian branch offices of the IIRO as well as one of its executives in connection with fundraising for al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda affiliates. Previous posts have discussed the history of the IIRO in the US and its ties to the US Muslim Brotherhood as well as the recent registration of its new US office in Florida.