European Calls to Stop Supporting Islamic Relief Organization due to Extremism Suspicions

Extremism and Terrorism Studies Unit in MENA

The Islamic Relief Worldwide (Germany Branch) has carried out a reform process and elected a new administration hoping to distance itself from the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and prove its non-affiliation with it. However, the German government departments have not been convinced by this and stopped funding the organization’s projects, in a step that, according to observers, may be followed by placing the organization under the supervision of the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution (LfV). Usually, the organizations and individuals who represent a great danger to democracy and European values, and aim to undermine the political system are the ones that get subject to LfV.

Intelligence information about suspicions surrounding the humanitarian Relief Organization!

This information has come after an official response to a request for a parliamentary briefing submitted by the opposition Free Democratic Party bloc. The response has also stated that the aforementioned organization has important personal links with the MB or with organizations close to it. The German government said that the Islamic Relief Organization in Germany, a branch of Islamic Relief Worldwide based in Birmingham, Britain, has extensive links with the MB, according to the authorities’ assessment.

The Humanitarian Relief Organization denied this through Tariq Abdel-Alim, its Executive Director. “We have no connection with the Muslim Brotherhood,” Abdel-Alim says. At the same time, Oliver Luksek, the Free Democratic Party MP, has said that German taxpayers’ money going to the Islamists is a scandal. For his part, Stefan Robert, an expert on religious policy in the party’s parliamentary bloc, has said that the government’s response indicates its unwillingness to address this urgent dilemma. According to the data, the organization obtained these funds mainly from the German Foreign Ministry and used them to provide medical supplies to citizens in Syria in particular. According to the party’s data, the organization’s branch in Germany received from public funds support for its projects worth 6.13 million euros during the period from 2011 to 2015.

“Whoever supports Hamas under the guise of humanitarian aid belittles basic decisions in our constitution related to values,” Horst Seehofer, German Interior Minister, says. “This also leads to a loss of credibility regarding the activities of many relief organizations, which are committed to neutrality under difficult circumstances,” he adds. In 2019, the German government revealed a close link between the branch of the Islamic Relief Organization in Germany and the Muslim Brotherhood, specifically the Islamist movement Hamas, which some Arab countries classify as terrorists. 

Is Islamic Relief an arm of Muslim Brotherhood?

European diplomats have gone on to consider Humanitarian Relief the MB’s cross-border financial arm, which employs charitable causes to fund their agendas around the world.

The Islamic Relief Organization is one of the largest Islamic charities in the world, and it operates in more than forty countries. In most European countries the organization faces accusations of financing extremist groups and being associated with the MB in particular, which the organization’s officials deny. Islamic Relief is one of the institutions that receive most funding from the State of Qatar, as reports indicate that the organization received millions of dollars from Qatar Charity that is linked to the group’s spiritual father, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who resides in Doha.

Conviction documents or frail documents ?

Through a document of the German Parliament dated April 15, 2019, it was revealed that the Islamic Relief Organization in Germany has close ties with foreign organizations, especially the Palestinian Hamas movement. According to the same document, the links between the Islamic Relief Organization and the Islamic Community Organization are not only institutional, but also personal. Ibrahim El-Zayat who is a member of the Islamic Relief Organization’s Supreme Committee is also the head of the Shura Council of the Organization of the Islamic Community and the former head. He is the engine of Brotherhood’s threads and activities in Germany. The document added that the Islamic Relief Organization is linked to the main organization of the MB in Germany, which is the Islamic Community Organization, and it is the main funder of its activities.

Convictions in other countries!

The Russian authorities had previously accused Islamic Relief of supporting terrorism in Chechnya in 2005. In 2012, the Swiss banking giant UBS closed relief accounts and imposed a ban on donations giving to them from customers, fearing reports accusing the bank of financing terrorism. HSBC did also the same in 2016.

In Tunisia, a leaked memorandum issued at the beginning of this year and prepared by the Tunisian Authority for Financial Analysis revealed that an investigation was taking place in the country with a prominent official in the Islamic Relief Organization.  The investigation was for fears that the funds granted to the Tunisian branch of this organization by its British branch were used to finance illegal terrorist activities in the country.

In France, The Investigative Journal-TIJ, a British newspaper, ​​published a report on August 19, 2019 confirming that the international organization of the MB had been able to infiltrate non-profit entities in the country by supporting them financially and implanting MB leaders inside to promote the group’s ideologies.

Stifling the movements of some MB members in Europe!

European experts have said that drying up the sources of funding is a pivotal factor in the struggle against terrorism and extremism, and they stressed the need to work urgently to expose the relationship between the MB and charitable associations and institutions. They have also advised to take decisive international measures and sanctions against this type of organizations. The European Union countries are seeking to clamp down on the suspicious activities of the MB that would pose a threat to the stability and security of the Union countries. The Union has stifled all organizations that have suspicious funding as part of a major campaign to stop the expansion of this extremist group. Parliamentarians across Europe have called on their governments to reconsider the relationship with Islamic Relief and stifle it.

European parliamentarians call on their governments to reconsider the relationship with Islamic Relief

“Although Islamic Relief denies any links to the MB, can you ask the Charities Committee to conduct an urgent review of all registered charities which have connections with the Brotherhood, a group banned in countries allied to the United Kingdom, and we hope it will be banned here as well,” British MP Ian Paisley Jr recently wrote to Robert Jenrick, the British Minister for Local Communities. In addition, Representative Horst Seehofer has also stated that whoever supports Hamas under the guise of aid belittles our constitution.

The Times, the British newspaper, says that a member of the Islamic Relief Organization called Heshmat Khalifa has used his Facebook page to describe Hamas as “the purest resistance movement in modern history”. He considered that declaring its armed wing a terrorist organization was a “shameful disgrace to all Muslims”. The newspaper added that the first task required of the Board of Trustees is to get rid of the legacy of hate speech and ensure that similar positions are not issued in the future by any member. Last August, Heshmat Khalifa, was forced to resign from the presidency of the suspicious body, after the British press proved that he had incited against Jews and fueled extremism discourse, as this contradicts European law and threatens the security and safety of the European community.

At the same time, Hans Wallmark, a Swedish MP, has called on government agencies to hold the Islamic Relief Organization accountable in an interrogation he submitted to Peter Erikson, the country’s Minister of Development. Karen Jamten, chief executive of the Swedish Aid Agency, Sida, said she would look into the accusations while reviewing her contract with Islamic Relief.

Islamic Relief fails to prove that there is no connection with MB!

The Islamic Relief Organization, which operates in more than 40 countries around the world, has failed to prove its independence from the global organization of MB. Therefore, the German government was prompted to stop funding the organization’s projects. Observers believe that the German move opens the door for the rest of the European countries to reconsider their relations with the organization that uses charitable work as a cover to serve the agendas of political Islam organizations hostile to democracy and Western values.

Although the Islamic Relief Organization has taken regulatory measures and changed some members, observers rule out that there will be a major change in the organization because the most of the people who run it and are active in it belong to the MB, while charitable work is just a front to serve pre-defined agendas.

It seems that the organization has become censored by all European means and institutions. We may even witness a suspension of its activity or, at the very least, a cessation of its financial support, especially after reports indicated that FBI investigators, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Office of Personnel Management had collected evidence of crimes related to Islamic Relief in 2016.

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