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 The charity added that no other bank or financial institution had withdrawn facilities.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?