Prepared by Extremism and Terrorism Studies Unit
Lars Adaktusson, Swedish politician and member of the Swedish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, has called for freezing support and funding for Islamic Relief. He has also called for an official investigation into any thing that links the British charity to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). These occurrences came in a time when senior employees of Islamic Relief Worldwide had published posts on social media showing their support for Hamas and the MB in Egypt.
Concurrently, the Swedish International Development Agency has faced pressure to reconsider its support for the Islamic Relief Organization after discovering that some members of the organization had published content contrary to the teachings of security and safety and calls for violence on social media. Among the most prominent of those leaders in Europe was Issam El-Bashir, the former director of IRW and a leading figure in the Muslim Brotherhood. El-Bashir is a member of the European Council for Fatwas and Research (ECFR), a group led by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the global MB.
Through investigations that the security services in Sweden carried out, they have been able to find out the close links between the MB’s activities in Sweden and Islamic Relief. These investigations come in a time the attempts of the MB to infiltrate the Muslim communities in Sweden are increasing. The attempts basically are to control Islamic organizations and bodies, including the Islamic Relief Organization. This has prompted politicians in the Swedish parliament to demand heavy censor over the Islamic Relief Organization in Sweden.
Where does Sweden stand on the statements of some members in the Islamic Relief Organization?
“It is clear to SIDA that extremist and supportive statements of violence are totally unacceptable. We have been in contact with the organization, and now that we have entered a different phase to prepare new agreements with Islamic Relief, we will ask all relevant questions and find out more,” Goran Holmqvist, director of humanitarian aid for the Swedish Agency for the Middle East and Asia, told Radio Sweden. This came after an investigation by The National revealed that three current IRW employees used personal accounts to share material the Birmingham-based charity deemed unacceptable and inappropriate.
How does the relief organization get funding in Sweden?
SIDA grants financial aid to humanitarian organizations. In 2013, it paid 24,000,000 Swedish kronor to IRW. Islamic Relief received an estimated £4.2 million between 2017 and 2019 in taxpayer money from Swedish government agencies, including £2 million from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
The relationship nature of Islamic Relief Organization in Sweden with the Muslim Brotherhood
In a report issued by the Swedish Civil Emergency Agency on the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities, it is said that the Islamic Relief Organization is a main organization supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. It provides MB with credibility and spread in Sweden, and Haitham Rahma, one of the most prominent members of the Swedish Islamic Relief Organization, is an official in the Muslim Brotherhood.
In October 2013, the news department of Swedish Radio Ekot revealed the involvement of a Swedish imam named Haitham Rahma smuggling weapons to the Syrian opposition, which is considered a breach of the law on the possession of combat weapons in Sweden known as “Krigsmatriellagen.” Rahma is known for his affiliation and loyalty to the Brotherhood and a leader in the Syrian opposition. He had previously worked for several years in the Stockholm Mosque in Medborjplatsen.
A study of the Civil Emergency Agency in Sweden, one of the most important defense ministries that acts as intelligence on the ground, has found conclusions that the MB seeks to penetrate the Islamic presence in Sweden and spread the concepts of the group, as it strives to obtain new members in Sweden.
Evaluation of the Islamic Relief Organization in Europe!
Lorenzo G. Vidino, an Italian researcher and expert on the affairs of the Muslim Brotherhood, sees in his analysis of the way the Muslim Brotherhood spread in Sweden that the mother MB depends on three categories of Swedish entities, MB members themselves, indirect MB networks and organizations affected by MB ideology, according to “Asharq Al-Awsat” on October 14, 2019.
According to Al Arab of London newspaper in its issue on 27 July 2020, British observers note that the manipulative discourse of members affiliated with the MB reveals the nature of the MB ‘s discourse, which is characterized by contradiction, duplicity and opinion fluctuation. Then, the observers wonder: How can the Islamic Relief Organization accept people who carry a discourse hostile to the society they lived in and gave them safety and protection? Or how can they issue a hostile, extremist discourse to one of the components of this society, not to mention that those who hold this extremist discourse receive leadership tasks and promotions?!
The most important conclusions reached by various investigative, analytical and intelligence reports are:
- There are figures closely related to the MB, and they run the Islamic Relief Organization in the countries of Europe.
- The ideological state of the imams with whom the Islamic Relief Organization in Europe deals is characterized by extremism and extremism.
- After carrying out comprehensive investigations into the activities of the Islamic Relief Organization and its branches in Europe, the close relationship between the Islamic Relief Organization and the Muslim Brotherhood group was clear, and this is what made many European governments call to stop funding and supporting this organization and its branches in Europe.
- The reports issued in this regard consider European governments stopping their support for the Islamic Relief Organization and its branches in Europe is tantamount to depriving the MB of the organization’s most important secret sources of funding in Europe.
- The Islamic Relief Organization has received millions of dollars during the last years from taxpayers’ money in Europe and from official and semi-official European international and governmental institutions as support to fund humanitarian and charitable works.
- Several different reports confirm that the Islamic Relief Organization has been involved in using the funds and donations it received to fund some of the MB’s organizations and institutions inside and outside Europe.
- There are also reports that the Islamic Relief Organization got involved in financing the activities of groups designated as terrorist under the guise of charitable and humanitarian work.
- Due to the many and dangerous gaps in the financial and legal system regulating the work of civil society organizations, a large number of organizations and associations that are similar to the Islamic Humanitarian Relief Organization spread in Europe spread, and with these legal and financial loopholes, these organizations will benefit doing their work and activity supporting and financing extremism and terrorism in various ways.
- The Islamic Relief Organization has admitted that some leaders of the organization made statements in support of terrorist organizations! Some members have also supported hate speech and incitement to extremism through posts on social media.
- A quick comparison between the activities, methods of work and discourse of the Islamic Humanitarian Relief Organization shows the huge similarity between it and the MB’s agenda, which leads the current political Islam in the whole world.
- The most serious concern of the authorities responsible for these investigations is that the MB and its affiliated organizations are working directly or indirectly to create a parallel society in Europe, and this is a problem that collides with European values and laws.
After the various investigations resulted in suspicious activity supporting extremism and hate speech that cause terrorist operations, the coming days will show us the extent of the seriousness of these investigations with all their sources. Will a firm and decisive stance be taken against organizations that support directly or indirectly extremist and terrorist activities or not?