In the early times of Islam, the laws of social solidarity based on charity, donations from the rich and others, formed a primary path to building a less brutal society for the poor. Instead of indigence, the poor people hoped for the help from rich ones paying to rescue them. Since the spread of Islamic religious fundamentalisms, the belief that poverty is caused by society’s distance from religion and its origins has begun to spread among the poor, which is exactly what the jurists or scholars have been working to cement. This very idea was adopted by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which imposed themselves in the religious culture and community awareness as representatives of the holy text and its deputies in controlling civil behavior and creating its social organizations. The most important organization is “Islamic Relief Worldwide”, which turned into a source of financing terrorism.
Brotherhood influence in Britain and Europe
Although the nature of the current relations between London and extremist Islamic groups have existed since the beginning of the last century, as the UK has been as a base for these groups and a center for their operations in Europe, the comprehensive reviews undertaken by the British government to determine the country’s political priorities in the post-Brexit era have highlighted the various activities of the Brotherhood as a major threat to its citizens and interests. Several studies have shown that the Brotherhood’s influence in Britain has recently expanded with over 60 institutions and centers, including charitable organizations, intellectual institutions, and even tv channels. The Brotherhood is still opening headquarters in the United Kingdom, such as its office in Cricklewood, north of London. The most active organization is still the Islamic Relief Worldwide, whose activities extend to about 40 countries around the world.
Through collecting donations and financial aid, Islamic Relief Worldwide has been able to give the MB an additional strength that could enable it to destabilize any country in which it operates. This can be demonstrated by British reports that have warned of the danger of the Brotherhood’s centers in the country, and considered MB the main suspect behind the increase in terrorist operations to an unprecedented indicator between 2019 and 2020. In addition, based on reports submitted by several security agencies in Germany, a parliamentary report was recently issued to reveal the Brotherhood’s relationship with financing terrorist organizations by exploiting the donation money granted by taxpayers to “Islamic Relief Worldwide”, founded by the brotherhood-affiliated, Hany El-Banna in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
The German parliamentary report has indicated that the organization received donations in total of 6,1 million Euro until 2016. The report stressed that the organization does not work only in Germany, and that it has a wide activity worldwide. The German Federal Court has begun examining the official grants of the Islamic Relief Organization in Germany, a branch of the Islamic Relief Worldwide, which has extensive links with the Muslim Brotherhood, according to German security authorities’ assessment.
A report by “Middle East Forum” has also stated that the organization received $80 million from Western taxpayers over the past decade, including $700,000 from the US government.
Islamic Relief and Terror Agendas
“Islamic Relief Organization is registered officially with British government agencies as a non-profit organization, but it receives billions of dollars of funding in all countries where it operates and uses those funds to execute extremist agendas. It takes charitable work as a cover to finance terrorist act and the extremist agendas of the Brotherhood. They can do all that thanks to the founders of the Islamic Relief Organization by successfully registration in Germany through the Supreme Council for Donations, which makes it easier for them to collect billions of dollars per month under the cover of charitable work,” After many reports that revealed the cover of the Islamic Relief Organization, Hussien Khedr, Vice Chair of the Working Group “Migration and Diversity” of the German Social Democratic Party
The German government, however, found the matter suspicious after tracking the funds, as they showed that the relief organization closely cooperates with all the organizations affiliated with the Brotherhood in Germany. There are a large number of non-governmental organizations affiliated with the Brotherhood in Germany, which are being tracked at the present time due to suspicious activities and their support for Terrorism, most notably the Muslim Youth Group.
The follow-up investigations into Islamic Relief and various reports, such as a German Parliament report, have proven a close relationship between the organization and financing of terrorist operations carried out by the Muslim Brotherhood in several countries, mostly in Egypt. The report prepared by Sam Westrop, a researcher at the Middle East Forum, said that Hany El-Banna, the founder of Islamic Relief and its current director, is one of the most prominent extremist Brotherhood individuals and has a close connection with supporters of terrorism. Essam El-Haddad, a co-founder of the organization and a foreign policy advisor during the era of Mohamed Morsi, the ousted Egyptian president, is a main suspect in terrorism cases in Egypt, where the Public Prosecution in Egypt said that El-Haddad had exploited the relief organization to fund the Egyptian Brotherhood, that he finances terrorism through the use of international charities such as “Islamic Relief.”
As for Amr Farouk, an Egyptian researcher in the affairs of terrorist movements, he pointed out that Islamic Relief was founded by the leaders of the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1984 in Birmingham. Among those leaders were Hany El-Banna and Essam El-Haddad. The organization has now branched in more than 40 countries. It has served as a legitimate cover for collecting funds from Arab and Islamic communities, made it possible to spread in wide geographical areas under the pretext of humanitarian work. Islamic Relief was the first Islamic non-governmental organization to receive funding from the British government in 1994, when it received 180,000 GBP to fund a community training center in North Kordofana, Sudan. Three years later, in 1997, it established TIC International Ltd for the management of clothing recycling granted to the organization in the United Kingdom.
However, the Egyptian authorities had refused to establish a branch of Islamic Relief inside Cairo during the time of former President Hosni Mubarak. This prompted them to employ the Islamic Relief committee in the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, and the Arab Doctors Union, as an alternative to the organization’s branch inside Cairo.
Establishing that committee was supervised by Dr. Ahmed Al-Malt, the Brotherhood’s deputy guide, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, and Ashraf Abdel Ghaffar, former assistant secretary-general of the Medical Syndicate and one of the accused in the case of money laundering for the international organization of the Brotherhood, who obtained Bosnian citizenship and became an advisor to late President of Bosnia and Herzegovina Alija Izetbegović for relief affairs.
Farouk explains that the Brotherhood was able to establish a branch of the organization after the events of the January 2011 revolution, but it was closed after Cairo proved that it had received money from the mother organization in London, amounting to about 20 million Egyptian pounds, 100,000 pounds transferred from one of the branches of British banks located in Egypt. Farouk stresses that the Brotherhood has raised huge funds through the organization during the wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Iraq and also benefited from the famine cases that affected Somalia, South Africa and some afflicted areas, with the aim of infiltrating them and establishing entities loyal to the international organization MB.
For her part, Dr. Dalal Mahmoud, Director of the Security and Defense Issues Program at the Egyptian Center for Thought and Strategic Studies, said that the world is alert to the great danger posed by the Brotherhood’s institutions operating under the cover of charitable work, especially after it was proven that these associations were involved in supporting and financing Brotherhood terrorism after the fall of the movement in several countries, most notably Egypt. The governments in several countries, specifically Germany and Britain, will take measures to undermine the work of institutions related to the Brotherhood, because MB is considered to be a cross-border terrorist organization, operating under a legitimate cover and represent an extreme danger.
After terrorism in the name of Islam had become a catastrophe affecting the whole world, the tricks of the terrorist Brotherhood became clear. MB used associations, charitable institutions and mosques as a cover to finance its armed operations in several countries under the name of charitable work and donation in order to “save humankind.” Terrorism will remain a major threat during the next decade with a more diverse set of material and political causes and new sources for the spread of extremism, especially with the development of planning processes, whether in making money or in recruiting the poor. This would make drying up the sources of terrorism very difficult unless exposing the relationship between the terrorist Brotherhood organization and charitable associations and institutions that have begun to turn into a treasury for terrorism. Their sources of funding must be revealed and appropriate measures against them must be taken, as they contribute to providing MB with money and human cadres.