Jewish media is reporting that Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) is undertaking court action in an attempt to overturn its ban by the Israeli government which has accused the group of funneling funds to Hamas. According to a Jewish News report:
September 22, 2016 A UK-based Muslim charity is taking legal action against the Israeli government after it was barred from operating in the West Bank, the Jewish News can reveal.
Islamic Relief Worldwide – which works on health and education programmes in 40 countries and responds to disasters worldwide – was placed on a banned list by former defence minister Moshe Yaalon two years ago amid claims of funds being funnelled to Hamas.
Islamic Relief strongly denied the claims and a subsequent independent audit of its work in the territories was said to have found “absolutely no evidence” of money being passed to Hamas or of any link to terrorism.
The charity has now confirmed to the Jewish News that it is bringing court action to overturn the ban, although it’s understood a date for a hearing has yet to be set.
A statement from the charity said: “Islamic Relief Worldwide commenced legal proceedings in 2014. We are bringing a court action against the State of Israel to overturn its designation of us as an ‘unauthorised association’ by the Defence Ministry. We do not wish to prejudice legal proceedings and will be making no further comment at this time”.
Israel has not elaborated on its allegations over the past two years but Shin Bet said at the time the banning order was “based on information that has been accumulated over years, that the fund is a central player in financing of Hamas… [and]on accumulated knowledge and experience in fighting terror and financing of terror organisations”.
Islamic Relief is the largest Muslim charity in the UK and has received millions in support from the Department for International Development. The government said back in 2014 that it saw no reason not to continue its association with the charity.
The ban was announced weeks before the start of the last conflict between Hamas and Israel. Following the conflict, IRW said it would not use funds raised under the auspices of the Disasters Emergency Appeal while Israel’s claims were probed.
The charity has from time to time worked with UK Jewish charities and individuals, and was one of the key players in interfaith climate change event just yesterday.
Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) is headquartered in the UK where until recently, it’s chairman of the board of trustees was Ibrahim El-Zayat, a leader in both the European and the German Muslim Brotherhood. Sometime in 2016, El-Zayat was replaced as Chairman by South African national Tahir Salie, a former IRW Treasurer while El-Zayat remains as a trustee of the UK branch of Islamic Relief. The new IRW Chairman Tahir Salie has his own connections to the Global Muslim Brotherhood and to Hamas. According to another Islamic Relief website, Salie serves on the Board of Governors of the International Business Forum (IBF) based in Istanbul The IBF has been described by the Oxford Business Group as follows:
The International Business Forum (IBF), which has been organized every year since 1995 under the patronage of H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is a platform where economic and business related issues are discussed by leaders, decision makers, bureaucrats, academicians, and journalists.
In addition to its ties to Erdogan, the IBF is also close to MUSIAD, an Islamist Turkish businessman’s association described in a report authored by the GMBDW editor as also supported by Erdogan, pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel, and with a strong relationship with the Middle East through its Foreign Relations division. The IBF is known to have a close relationship with the Palestinian Business Forum (PBF) that holds its meetings in conjunction with the IBF and is reported by confidential sources to serve as a Hamas support network. The website of the Muslimische Jugend in Deutschland (MJD), the youth arm of the German Muslim Brotherhood, reports additionally that Salie had been expected to meet with the group for four days in 2013.
Islamic Relief Worldwide is also listed as a company in the UK where records indicate that Dr. Ahmed Al-Rawi, the former head of the Federation of islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE) and former of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) has been a director at one time. Both FIOE and the MAB are part of the U.K. and European Muslim Brotherhood. Another former member of the board of Islamic Relief Worldwide is Essam El-Haddad, a longtime Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood member a former adviser to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. El-Haddad is also known to have been a member of the IBF Board of Governors. A third former member of the Islamic Relief company was Issam El-Bashir, a Sudanese national with multiple ties to the Global Muslim Brotherhood. Islamic Relief was also one of the founding members of the Union of Good, a “coalition of Islamic charities that provides financial support to both the Hamas ‘social’ infrastructure, as well as its terrorist activities.” The Union of Good is headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi and most of the trustees and member organizations are associated with the Global Muslim Brotherhood.
In May 2006, the Israeli government announced the arrest of an IRW worker for activities related to supporting Hamas and said that IRW activities in the Palestinian territories “are carried out by social welfare organizations controlled and staffed by Hamas operatives.” In June 2014 , the GMBDW reported that the Israeli Defense Minister had banned Islamic Relief Worldwide from operating in Israel saying that it is involved in sending cash to Hamas.In December 2014, the GMBDW reported that Islamic Relief Worldwide had protested its inclusion on the UAE list of terrorist organizations.