Posts Tagged ‘Islamic Relief UK’

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HSBC says bye to Islamic Relief

February 22, 2016

British bank HSBC has ended its relationship with the Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), the largest international Islamic charity in the world. In other words, HSBC has closed IRW’s account with the bank and has given them their money back. The bank’s decision was a risk-based determination probably based—not just on the locations of the world where IRW operates—on a review of IRW partners and what internal controls IRW has in place to ensure that its partner organizations and field staff have been adequately screened.

IRW has a pattern of working with Hamas-affiliated entities and then claiming afterward that it didn’t know. It is either purposeful or negligent. Either way HSBC is not obliged to serve as their bank.  After being excoriated for its slipshod compliance program a couple years ago, HSBC should now be applauded for applying solid standards.

From International Business Times last month:

HSBC snaps ties with Islamic Relief over ‘terror’ fears

January 4, 2016

HSBC has snapped banking ties with UK’s largest government-funded Muslim charity, Islamic Relief, over alleged fears of terror funding. Although the bank has halted services for other Muslim groups in the past, the affected charity is one of the most high-profile ones with operations in over 40 countries.

Islamic Relief receives millions of pounds from the Department for International Development. It expressed surprise at the bank’s decision, but said that other partners are helping it maintain aid supplies in countries where it operates. The charity added that no other bank or financial institution had withdrawn facilities.

According to The Sunday Times, HSBC may have ended ties with Islamic Relief because of the charity’s work in the Middle East, including projects in Gaza and Syria. Earlier, the Israeli government had banned Islamic Relief from the West Bank in 2014. It accused the organisation of laundering money to Hamas, a claim categorically denied by the charity.

Around the same time, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had also placed Islamic Relief on a list of forbidden organisations, a move the group is in the process of appealing against. Shortly after these bans, the bank took the decision to cut ties with the organisation, but it has only just become public knowledge.

Meanwhile, the UK Charity Commission ordered an independent investigation into the incident, and cleared Islamic Relief of terror funding allegations…

Seems the Charity Commission is the odd man out, no?

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World’s biggest Islamic charity branded as terrorist group by 2nd Middle East country

November 17, 2014

Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) has been designated as a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates, the second Middle Eastern country to do so within the past five months. In June, IRW was declared illegal by Israel for being a financial conduit to Hamas, and it was banned from operating in Israel and the West Bank.

The Birmingham, England-based IRW is the largest international Islamic charity in the world with a £155 million (240 million USD) budget in 2013.  IRW has over 280 employees and is active in more than 30 countries.  IRW maintains over a dozen affiliates throughout the world, each with multi-million dollar operating budgets of their own including Islamic Relief USA, which is the largest Islamic charity in America.

IRW accepted a $50,000 check from Osama Bin Laden in 1999, had a Gaza program coordinator who aided Hamas from 2005-06, received over £60K from an Al Qaeda front group from 2003-08, has leaders who are closely aligned with the global Muslim Brotherhood, and had programs staffed by Hamas personnel in the Palestinian territories as recently as this year.  Supporters of IRW have noted that the UK’s charitable regulator has not confirmed the evidence against IRW; however, a 2013 audit found that the Charity Commission is understaffed, too passive in its investigations, and is generally unfit for its regulatory duties.

UAE calls 15 Muslim groups in the West “terrorists”

In addition to the IRW designation, the UAE named 15 other Islamic charities and advocacy groups in the U.S. and Europe as terrorist entities:

  • Islamic Relief UK (the British affiliate of IRW)
  • Muslim Association of Britain (part of the U.K. Muslim Brotherhood)
  • Cordoba Foundation in Britain (once described by David Cameron as a Muslim Brotherhood front group)
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations (the self-described civil rights group which was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas-financing trial)
  • Muslim American Society (which was created by the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood)
  • Union of Islamic Organizations of France (a French Muslim group tied to the Muslim Brotherhood that profits from halal certification)
  • Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (an alliance financed by Gulf sources with ties to Hamas)
  • Islamische Gemeinschaft in Deutschland (the “main representative” of the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany)
  • Associazione Musulmani Italiani (Italian Muslim Association)
  • League of Muslims in Belgium (La Ligue des Musulmans de Belgique)
  • Muslim Association of Sweden (Sveriges muslimska förbund)
  • Islamic Society in Denmark (Islamsk Trossamfund)
  • Islamic Council Norway (Islamsk Rad Norge)
  • Finnish Islamic Association (Suomen Islam-seurakunta)
  • CANVAS in Belgrade, Serbia

The UAE designated over 80 groups overall, most of which are located in the Middle East.  The practical effect of the designations are limited, designed for “transparency” and to “raise awareness.”  In other words, the designations include not asset freezes, travel bans, or prohibitions on transacting business with the designated groups.

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3 Islamic Relief affiliates reliant on Turkey’s IHH

September 5, 2014

The Turkish front charity IHH partnered with either Islamic Relief UK or its parent organization, Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), during earthquake recovery operations in early 2013. IHH said its work was carried out, “in cooperation with Islamic Relief from Britain,” where IRW is headquartered.

The Australian affiliate of IRW has also partnered with IHH to conduct activities in Syria in 2013 according to a report on Syrian aid issued by IR-Australia. IHH was responsible for the procurement and delivery of supplies into Syria on behalf of IR-Australia.

In addition to previous evidence of cooperation between IR-Deutschland and IHH, these finding indicate consistent international collaboration between Islamic Relief affiliates and IHH. IHH was behind the violent, blockade-running flotilla against Israel in 2010, and has also worked with terrorist groups including al-Shabaab in Somalia.

All developed countries and their charitable regulators advise their charities against working with IHH overseas, particularly in jurisdictions such as Syria where the risks of aid falling into the wrong hands are so high. Islamic Relief USA would do well to note the red flags raised by IHH. According to U.S. Treasury publications, charities should exercise due diligence over the charities with which they partner, and should refrain from working with any charities suspected of financing terrorism.

IRW is currently investigating its own activities after being banned from the West Bank by Israel for funding Hamas.  The Charities Aid Foundation, which provides services to charities, and Islamic Relief UK have ceased working together in the wake of Israel’s ban.

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Islamic Relief Worldwide programs staffed by Hamas

July 18, 2014

Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) activities in the Palestinian territories are run by Hamas operatives, according to Israeli officials.

The way it works is that IRW, a British-based charity, raises substantial funds from institutional donors, government funding, and zakat from individual Muslim donors. IRW also receives money from its affiliates around the world, including millions of dollars in gifts from Islamic Relief USA (IR-USA).

IRW then sends money to field offices and partnering organizations in the Palestinian territories. Israel’s Shin Bet security service says that several of the offices and projects that are carried out with IRW funding are being conducted by Hamas personnel.

IR-USA, a charity publicly cited by Obama appointees as a valued and trusted aid group, is privately tagged by Justice Department sources as the successor to the Holy Land Foundation, which was shuttered during the Bush administration for funding Hamas. The Clarion Project (h/t to Rushette) notes that IR-USA receives support from bigtime donors and enjoys close ties to the Obama administration.

Israel should share what information it can with the UK in order for the British to 1) strip IRW of its charity status and, 2) shut down IRW. There is no time to waste with the useless UK Charity Commission. This case should be dealt with at higher levels.

Canada Revenue Agency, which has been extremely successful in taking prompt action to remove the tax-exempt status from terror financing charities, should also review Islamic Relief Canada’s projects.

The U.S. should follow suit, and should strip IR-USA of its tax-exempt status, since IR-USA money is ultimately going toward Hamas projects, and not toward the charitable purposes for which 501(c)(3) status is intended.

Any banks providing services to IRW and IR-USA should take note of these developments, and minimize their own risks and exposure to terrorist financing by closing their accounts (as UBS already did in 2012) with these “charities.”

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Muslim NGOs demand “unrestricted” Gaza access

December 2, 2012

Members of terror funding network among those seeking waiver from charitable restrictions

A coalition of Islamic charities in Great Britain is insisting on unfettered access to distribute “humanitarian aid” to Gaza, which is code for the freedom to work with any entity in Gaza, even if it includes Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, PFLP; any other terrorist organization or their affiliated foundations, schools, orphanages, and hospitals; or for that matter, armories, safehouses, munitions depots; or whatever other group or facility these “charities” decide to work with.

The “restrictions,” which are pretty mild and reasonable, on transferring cash to Gaza (or to any overseas location for that matter) are in place for a reason.   Now is not the time for unmonitored, undisclosed, un-taxed financial transactions to Gaza under the guise of “humanitarian aid.”

The Nov. 19 letter from Muslim Charities Forum to foreign minister William Hague is signed by 17 Islamic charities.  Of these, at least three—Human Appeal International, Muslim Hands, and Muslim Aid—have been previously implicated for membership in Yusuf Qaradawi’s Union of Good—a network of charities known to fund Hamas (a charge which Muslim Aid denies).  Other signatories include the Muslim Charities Forum, which is itself an umbrella organization that unites several pro-Hamas charities in Britain; Islamic Relief, whose bank account with UBS was recently closed due to terror finance concerns; and the Ummah Welfare Trust, whose bank account with Barclay’s was closed in 2009 for the same reason.  Quite the group…

The Rt. Hon. William Hague MP
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London, SW1A 2AA

Monday 19 November 2012

Statement of concern regarding escalating conflict in Gaza

Dear Foreign Secretary,

We are writing to you regarding the recent upsurge in violence and military activity in Gaza.

As Muslim-led humanitarian agencies, we are deeply concerned for the safety and well-being of the people of Gaza following the renewed intensification of conflict and violence within the region. Gaza is still in the process of reconstruction following the previous war that ended in January 2009, where 1,400 people were killed, 5,000 injured and 40,000 forced out of their homes. Based upon our experience of supporting those affected by conflict and disasters, we fear that the recent escalation in military action threatens to cause further untold damage and human suffering to the civilian population of Gaza.

Our paramount concern is to ensure that the people affected by this conflict are protected from direct and indirect consequences of the violence, and that those in need have unimpeded access to humanitarian aid and medical services. We therefore urge the British Government to emphasise to all parties involved in the conflict that they comply with their obligations under International Humanitarian Law with respect to safeguarding the lives and dignity of the civilian population. In addition, we stress the need for affected civilian populations in Gaza to have unrestricted access to humanitarian aid as necessary, and to ensure that all humanitarian workers, medical staff and hospitals are protected.

Humanitarian agencies are committed to providing aid and relief to the most vulnerable communities regardless of the operating conditions, striving to prevent and alleviate human suffering and ensure that basic needs are met. The British Government also has a duty to ensure that those affected by conflict are not directly targeted by parties involved and are protected from the impact of fighting.

We hope the British Government can assist humanitarian organisations in providing relief to the civilian population in Gaza caught in the conflict.

Yours faithfully,

The Undersigned

Dr. Hany El-Banna OBE, Chairman, Muslim Charities Forum
Abdul Ahad Miah, UK Country Director, Al-Imdaad Foundation UK
Imam Qasim Ahmed, Chairman, Al Khair Foundation
Khalid Al-Fawaz, Chairman, Al Muntada Al Islami
Abdul Razzaq Sajid, Chairman, Al Mustafa Welfare Trust
Anjum Layla Tahirkheli, CEO, Basic Human Rights
Othman Moqbel, Chief Executive, Human Appeal International
Masood Alam Khan, Chairman, Islamic Help
Jehangir Malik OBE, Director, Islamic Relief UK
Saif Ahmad, CEO, MADE in Europe
Syed Sharfuddin, CEO, Muslim Aid
Sabooh Uddin, CEO, Muslim Charity
Syed Lakthe Hassanain, Chairman, Muslim Hands
Tufail Hussain, CEO, Orphans in Need
Tahir Begg, Chairman, Read Foundation UK
Zahid Parvez, President, UK Islamic Mission
Mohammed Athar, Secretary of Trustees, Ummah Welfare Trust

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UBS closes Islamic Relief account over terror risk

November 9, 2012

The U.K. based Muslim charity Islamic Relief has had its account closed and zakat donations to its account blocked by Swiss bank UBS due to counter-terror concerns.  Islamic Relief is the world’s largest Islamic non-governmental organization, and Israel has previously accused it of funding Hamas.

UBS’s action is similar to the decision made by Minnesota banks to cease remittance services to Somalia.  The risk that such transactions will be used for terrorism is simply too great a risk for the banks to bear.

Bravo to UBS for its gutsy and sensible move.  No doubt European financial regulators will attempt to investigate and excoriate UBS for the action…

Banking sector nerves blocking international relief, says Islamic Relief FD

Niki May Young| 8 Nov 2012

Islamic Relief has recently had its bank account closed by UBS, and is under constant scrutiny by other banks due to nervousness about counter-terrorist regulations, the charity’s director of finance told an audience of international charity regulators yesterday.

Islamic Relief, a charity launched in the UK 30 years ago with an income now over £80m annually, has both incoming and outgoing transactions stopped on a daily basis either temporarily or permanently, said Haroun Atallah, who is a former auditor…

Islamic Relief blames the closure on double standards on charities working in the Middle East and over-zealous implementation of financial regulations by the banks.  If Islamic Relief wants somebody to blame for this situation, it should first blame itself for working with Hamas and affiliating itself with Muslim Brotherhood leaders.

Do read the rest at at Civil Society please.  This is major news.

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Muslim Charities Forum bridges gap among Hamas donors

January 27, 2011
Founder of Muslim Charities Forum and Islamic Relief

Dr. Hany El Banna, Islamic Relief President

GEO Television reported on Jan. 22 that Muslim Charities Forum representatives from the U.K. visited Islamabad to be thanked by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani for their contributions to Pakistan.

A line toward the end of GEO’s article reads “The forum coordinates and bridges the gap between charitable organizations like Islamic Relief, Human Appeal, Muslim Hands and Human Relief,” according to Dr. Hany El Banna.  MCF’s website confirms that.  Some forum!  Human Appeal International, Muslim Hands, and Humanitarian Relief Foundation are all recognized by Israel as members of the notorious Hamas-financing Union of Good network of “charities.”  If El Banna wants to throw his lot in with them, then his own Islamic Relief organization might as well be listed as a Union of Good charity too.

I didn’t realize there was a “gap” among the charities that are already members of the same Hamas network.  Thank goodness that Hany El Banna is there to fill it.