Leadership shuffle at U.S. Islamic charitiesNovember 9, 2014
In May of 2013, the financial rating of Islamic Relief USA, the nation’s largest Islamic charity, was downgraded from four stars to two stars by the nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator. By October of 2013, it was announced that IR-USA’s chief executive officer, Abed Ayoub, was leaving IR-USA to take over a northern Virginia charity now known as United Muslim Relief (UMR), that had dropped its old name, “Muslims Without Borders” one day earlier.
While he was CEO of IR-USA, Ayoub presided over a period of falsely inflated growth for the well-known Islamic charity. By grossly misstating the value of deworming drugs, IR-USA gave the appearance of having over received over $160 million in donations in 2010. When it used corrected valuation techniques in 2011, IR-USA reported contributions of only $60 million. The fraudulent bookkeeping of 2001-2010 enabled IR-USA to attract larger institutional donors than it otherwise would have, along with political endorsements from top Democrats and partnerships with federal agencies. Smaller Islamic charities were some of the victims of this fraud, because federal officials have often encouraged Muslim donors to give their zakat to larger, more “trustworthy,” charities like IR-USA. During Ayoub’s final year as CEO, IR-USA donated over $100,000 to nonprofits and mosques connected with terrorism.
Ayoub was replaced by Anwar Khan as IR-USA’s new chief executive officer in June of this year shortly before Israel banned Islamic Relief Worldwide (an IR-USA partner) from operating in Israel due to its financial connections to Hamas.
As for UMR, in its last publicly available tax return for 2012, the charity reported that it received $700,000 in medicine donations, but it is unclear what method was used to calculate that value. UMR did not have its financial statements independently audited in 2012. UMR’s main charitable activities for 2012 took place in Syria. The director of UMR at the time was Shafi Khan, who is still active with UMR both as a vice president and governing board member.