Islamic Relief USA

Clarion Project
Article Source: Clarion Project

Article Source: Clarion Project

IRUSA is the American branch of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) based in the UK. It's leadership has numerous ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) says it “strives to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy, and diseases worldwide regardless of color, race, religion, or creed, and to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner. Islamic Relief USA aims to provide rapid relief in the event of human and natural disasters and to establish sustainable local development projects allowing communities to better help themselves.”[1]

IRUSA is the American branch of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), based in the United Kingdom.

Three IRW offices have a confirmed relationship with IHH, a Hamas affiliate in Turkey. IRUSA says it delivers aid to Syria “through Islamic Relief partner offices in Turkey,” indicating the U.S. branch may also work with IHH.”[1a]

The IRW leadership has numerous Muslim Brotherhood links, including one official that used to be the Minister of Religious Affairs in Sudan.[2] IRW was founded by Hani Al-Bana, a former trustee of a group called Muslim Aid.[3] The British government cleared Muslim Aid in 2010,[4] raising objections[5] from some terrorism researchers.[6]

In 2014, the United Arab Emirates banned IRW as a terrorist group.[6a]

In 2006, Israel arrested the project coordinator of IRW’s Gaza office, Iyaz Ali, for funneling money to Hamas. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “The IRW’s activities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip are carried out by social welfare organizations controlled and staffed by Hamas operatives. The intensive activities of these associations are designed to further Hamas’ ideology among the Palestinian population.”

The Israeli government said that Ali admitted knowing that the organizations supported by the IRW office were Hamas entities. The assisted entities incited acts of terrorism and provided material aid to the families of Hamas members that are wounded or in Israeli custody.[7]

In June 2014, the Israeli Defense Minister signed a decree banning Islamic Relief Worldwide because it is “another source of funds for Hamas.”[7a]

In 2013, an Egyptian newspaper published a list of 30 alleged Muslim Brotherhood operatives in the U.S. that included five current or former senior IRUSA leaders. [7b]

Around November 2012, the British bank UBS closed IRW’s bank account and blocked its customers from donating to it. IRW blamed unfair counter-terrorism regulations.[8] The IRW Finance and Services Director said that many other banks stopped doing business with it and that the regulations could act as a “recruiting sergeant” for terrorist groups.[9]

Although IRUSA says it is a “legally separate and independent” affiliate of IRW, the two share leadership and resources. IRUSA transferred $4.8 million, $5.9 million and $9.4 million to IRW in 2007, 2008 and 2009, respectively.[10] IRUSA’s December 31, 2010 financial report states, “The majority of IRUSA’s programs are administered through grants with [IRW],” with a total of nearly $22 million that year alone.[11]

IRUSA founder Ahmad Esmat El-Bendary was its chairman and CEO from 1993 to March 2006, and he remains a senior adviser to the board.[12] He is now the president of the Muslim American Society (MAS).

IRUSA’s Registered Agent in 2007 was Kazbek Soobzokov, who was the attorney for a radical imam named Wagdy Ghoneim. He was arrested in 2004 because of evidence that he was fundraising for Hamas and voluntarily left the U.S.[13]

IRUSA CEO Abed Ayoub is also a governance committee member of IRW.[14] He was born in a Palestinian refugee camp and was raised in Jordan. He moved to Yugoslavia after high school and then Germany before ending up in California.[15]

IRUSA President and Board Chairman Mohamed Amr Attawia is listed as the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood New England director in a 1991 phone directory. He is a former Vice President of MAS.[16] He also sits on IRW’s board of trustees.

IRUSA Operations Manager Ahmed Shehata is from Alexandria, Egypt and he “liked” at least 18 pro-Muslim Brotherhood pages on Facebook in 2012 and three pages supportive of Egyptian Salafists. He also stated on his Facebook page that Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi is the preacher he most trusts.[17] In January 2009, the Egyptian government arrested 21 Brotherhood leaders in Alexandria, including one by the name of Ahmed Shehata.[18] Shehata “liked” a page for the Brotherhood’s Alexandria branch and a page for the Brotherhood students of Alexandria University, suggesting this is the same person.[19]

Khalid Lamada, the Vice Chair of the board of directors, is from Egypt and endorsed Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential candidate in Egypt, in 2012.[20] He has served as a board member of the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge and co-chairman of the joint national convention of MAS and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA).[21] The MAS-ICNA conferences feature radical speakers, often including defenders of Hamas and activists linked to the Brotherhood. For example, the 2012 conference had at least a dozen Islamist speakers.[22]

Lamada was also the outreach director for MAS in 2006.[23] He was identified as the outreach director for the New Brunswick Islamic Center in 2004.[24]

Hamdy Radwan, a member of the board of directors since November 2012,[25] is also originally from Egypt. He “liked” at least six pro-Muslim Brotherhood pages on Facebook, including one for Qaradawi.[26] In November 2006, he said he does not consider Hamas to be a terrorist group, calling them “freedom fighters, in other countries.” At the time, he was the president of the Raleigh chapter of MAS. He said that his goal is non-violent “revolution with the law of the land” but that the idea of ruling America by Sharia “never came to anyone’s mind” at MAS. However, in a “[Muslim] majority country, that all elected themselves to be ruled by Sharia Law, that’s their option.”[27]

Sheikh Omar Shahin is identified as an IRUSA representative in March 2012.[28] In February 2010, Shahin identified himself as IRUSA’s Public Relations Director.[29] An online biography states that he became IRUSA’s Public Relations director in 2007.[30] He served as the imam of the Islamic Center of Tucson  from 2000 to 2003.

He raised money for the Al-Qaeda front called the Global Relief Foundation and the Hamas front called the Holy Land Foundation. He said he raised $7,000 for the Holy Land Foundation in November 2001 alone before it was closed down.[31] Shahin was also a representative for Kind Hearts, another charity that was shut down for financing Hamas. He also says that ICT hosted Islamic Association for Palestine conferences, a pro-Hamas creation of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.[32]

On October 4, 2002, Shahin said in a sermon, “ Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him said: ‘You will keep on fighting with the Jews until the fight reaches the east of Jordan river then the stones and trees will say: oh Muslim, oh (servant) slaves of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him…’”[33]

Shahin defended the mosque’s involvement with Bin Laden in the 1980s, saying “Osama bin Laden was made in America. Our government was sponsoring and supporting him. We are following our government.”[34] He also believes in 9/11 conspiracy theories, saying “I think the [9/11] investigation is not headed in the right direction. They are focusing on the Arabs, the Muslims. And all the evidence shows that the Muslims are not involved in this terrorist act.”[35] He suggested that the FBI and CIA staged the attacks.[36]

In 2006, Shahin was one of six imams that were removed from a flight for suspicious behavior. The imams then sued U.S. Airways for discrimination.[37]

Azhar Azeez is the Director of Fund Development. [37a] He has been a member of the Executive Council of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity and unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, another Brotherhood front that was prosecuted for financing Hamas. He became Vice President of ISNA in 2010.

Azeez’s bio says he is a founder and past president of the Dallas/Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). It also says he is president of the North Texas Islamic Council, presumably another name for the Islamic Association of North Texas. The association has Islamist radical ties and was linked to the Holy Land Foundation. [37b]

IRUSA Director of Policy and Institutional Affairs in 2006, Seyed Rizwan Mowlana[38], used to be the executive director of the Maryland-Virginia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, (CAIR), which he launched in 2002.[39] His name no longer appears as an IRUSA official.

IRUSA fundraisers often feature Islamist speakers, including some linked to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.[40] At least nine events held in 2012 featured the chairman of American Muslims for Palestine.

IRUSA also donated to events held by other groups tied to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. For example, it donated to a fundraiser for the Chicago chapter of CAIR in March 2012[41] and the annual joint MAS-ICNA conference in December 2012.[42]

In April 2011, an anonymous high-ranking Justice Department official was quoted as saying, “Ten years ago we shut down the Holy Land Foundation. It was the right thing to do. Then the money started going to KindHearts. We shut them down too. Now the money is going through groups like Islamic Relief …”[43]

[1] “About Us,” IRUSA website, https://www.irusa.org/islamic-relief-usa/.

[1a] Mauro, Ryan. “U.S. Muslim Charity Linked to Turkish Hamas Affiliate IHH,”Clarion Project, September 21, 2014. https://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/us-muslim-charity-linked-turkish-hamas-affiliate-ihh

[2] “Islamic Relief Income Up 69% Since 2006 Annual Report Shows,” Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report, November 7, 2011. https://globalmbreport.org/?p=5255

[3] Kaufman, Joe. “American Islamic Hamas Relief,” FrontPage Magazine, December 4, 2007. https://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=29100

[4] Holt, Andrew. “Regulator Publishes Report on Muslim Aid,” Charity Times, December 20, 2010. https://www.charitytimes.com/ct/Muslim_Aid_investigation.php

[5] Gilligan, Andrew. “Muslim Aid: Hopeless Charity Commission Whitewashes Yet Another Islamist Group,” The Telegraph, December 17, 2010. https://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/andrewgilligan/100068829/muslim-aid-hopeless-charity-commission-whitewashes-yet-another-islamist-group/

[6] Blackburn, Chris. “Muslim Aid’s International Network,” EBangladesh, February 28, 2011. https://www.ebangladesh.com/2011/02/28/muslim-aid%E2%80%99s-international-network/#_edn1

[6a] www.clarionproject.org/analysis/united-arab-emirates-ban-cair-other-us-brotherhood-groups

[7] “British National Arrested for Assisting Hamas,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, May 29, 2006. https://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Terrorism+and+Islamic+Fundamentalism-/British+national+arrested+for+assisting+Hamas+29-May-2006.htm

[7a] Levi, Yaakov. “Israel Bans ‘Islamic Relief’ Charity for Funding Hamas,” Israel National News, June 19, 2014. https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/181938#.U8P6l_k7tEE

[7b] Mauro, Ryan. “Egyptian Paper Names 30 Brotherhood Operatives in U.S.,” Clarion Project, November 5, 2013.https://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/egyptian-paper-names-30-brotherhood-operatives-us

[8] Young, Niki May. “Banking Sector Nerves Blocking International Relief, Says Islamic Relief FD,” Civil Society, November 8, 2012. https://www.civilsociety.co.uk/finance/news/content/13757/banking_sector_nerves_blocking_international_relief_says_islamic_relief_finance_director

[9] Ainsworth, David. “Anti-Terrorist Measures Are Threatening Work of Islamic Charities, Charity Tells Regulators,” Third Sector, November 8, 2012. https://www.thirdsector.co.uk/news/1158926/anti-terrorist-measures-threatening-work-islamic-charities-charity-tells-regulators/%20

[10] “Islamic Relief Worldwide & Islamic Relief USA,” Money Jihad, September 7, 2011. https://moneyjihad.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/islamic-relief-worldwide-islamic-relief-usa/

[11] “Islamic Relief USA and Affiliate,” Consolidated Financial Report, IRUSA website, December 31, 2010. https://b.cdn.irusa.org/content/uploads/2011/11/Islamic-Relief-USA-12-31-10.pdf

[12] “Speaker Biographies: Dr. Ahmed El-Bendary,” MASGreaterLA.org, https://www.masgreaterla.org/convention/index.php/speakers.

[13] Kaufman, 2007.

[14] “Executive Staff,” IRUSA website, https://www.irusa.org/staff/.

[15] Hopkins, Christopher Snow. “Reaching Out to Islamic Cultures,” National Journal Daily, December 14, 2011. https://a.cdn.irusa.org/content/uploads/2011/12/Abedayoubs-interview.pdf

[16] “Islamic Relief,” Americans for Peace and Tolerance, https://www.peaceandtolerance.org/docs/irmemo.pdf. The Brotherhood phone directory can be viewed here: https://media.radicalislam.org/misc/pdf/Muslim+Brotherhood+1991+Phone+Directory.pdf

[17] Mauro, Ryan. “$200 Million U.S. Islamic Charity Linked to Muslim Brotherhood,” RadicalIslam.org, January 29, 2013. https://www.radicalislam.org/analysis/200-million-us-islamic-charity-linked-muslim-brotherhood

[18] Radwan, Mustafa. “21 Muslim Brotherhood Leaders Arrested in Alexandria After Massive Gaza Demos,” IkhwanWeb.com, January 11, 2009. https://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=19021

[19] Mauro, 2013.

[20] “dr khaled lamada supports dr morsi from new york,” bayadneurosurgeon YouTube channel, June 5, 2012. https://youtu.be/PIVMLgjY7Vs

[21] “Board of Directors,” IRUSA website, https://www.irusa.org/board/.

[22] Mauro, Ryan. “American Islamist Conferences Comes to Chicago,” RadicalIslam.org, November 20, 2012. https://www.radicalislam.org/analysis/another-american-islamist-conference-comes-chicago

[23] Barbaro, Michael and Steven Greenhouse. “Wal-Mart Image-Builder Resigns,” New York Times, August 18, 2006. https://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/18/business/18walmart.html?pagewanted=print&_r=0

[24] Parry, Wayne. “Friends Say N.J. Webmaster No Terrorist,” Associated Press, August 11, 2004. https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/news/2004-08-11-nj-terror-case_x.htm

[25] “Board of Directors,” IRUSA website, https://www.irusa.org/board/.

[26] Mauro, 2013.

[27] “Friday Interview: Dr. Hamdy A. Radwan,” Carolina Journal, January 12, 2007. https://www.carolinajournal.com/exclusives/display_exclusive.html?id=3823

[28] “Events: Elk Grove, CA: Fundraising Dinner for Palestine,” IRUSA website, March 17, 2012. https://www.irusa.org/events/elk-grove-ca-fundraising-dinner-for-palestine/

[29] Mayer, William. “John Brennan’s ‘Al-Quds’ NYU Address—Provide Aid and Comfort to the Islamists,” Pipeline News, May 25, 2010. https://www.pipelinenews.org/2010/may/25/John-Brennans-Al-Quds-NYU-Address-Providing-Aid.html

[30] “Imam Omar Shahin’s Profile,” Islamic Center of Eastside (Bellevue Masjid) website, https://bellevuemasjid.org/FundraiserDetails/SpeakerBios/tabid/59/EVENTDETAILS/SPEAKERBIOS/tabid/59/Default.aspx.

[31] Wichner, David, “Mosque aids group accused of Hamas tie,” Arizona Daily Star, November 18, 2001.

[32] Lisa Getter, Chuck Neaubauer and Robert J. Lopez. “Islamic American Nonprofits Face Increased Scrutiny in U.S.,” Los Angeles Times, November 4, 2001. https://articles.latimes.com/2001/nov/04/news/mn-79/2

[33] “Omar Shahin’s ICT Lectures,” Americans Against Hate, https://www.americansagainsthate.org/Omar_Shahin’s_ICT_Lectures.htm

[34] Getter, Neaubauer and. Lopez, 2001.

[35] Wagner, Dennis and Tom Zoellner. “U.S. Muslims Torn Between Love of Islam and America,” Arizona Republic, November 4, 2001.

[36] The Arizona Republic, Sept. 28, 2001, as reported in “Exposing the ‘Flying Imams” by M. Zuhdi Jasser, Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2008, p. 3-11, https://www.meforum.org/1809/exposing-the-flying-imams

[37] Jasser, M. Zuhdi. “Exposing the ‘Flying Imams,” Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2008, p. 3-11, https://www.meforum.org/1809/exposing-the-flying-imams

[37a] “Executive Staff,” IRUSA website. https://www.irusa.org/staff/

[37b] Mauro, Ryan, “Islamist Village Slated for Texas, Revenue Goals at $1 Million/Yr, Clarion Project, April 16, 2014.https://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/islamist-village-slated-texas-revenue-goals-1-millionyr

[38] “Woodrow Wilson Center and Islamic Relief to Hold Briefing on Humanitarian Impact of Drought in Horn,” IRUSA website, April 11, 2006. https://www.irusa.org/press-releases/woodrow-wilson-center-and-islamic-relief-to-hold-briefing-on-humanitarian-impact-of-drought-in-horn/

[39] “CAIR-Maryland Relaunches Under Leadership of New Generation,” The Muslim Link, August 30, 2012. https://www.muslimlinkpaper.com/community-news/community-news/3160-cair-maryland-relaunches-under-leadership-of-new-generation.html

[40] Mauro, Ryan. “Islamist Adviser to the State Dept and USAID Exposed,” RadicalIslam.org, October 24, 2012. https://www.radicalislam.org/analysis/exclusive-islamist-adviser-state-dept-and-usaid-exposed

[41] Karoluk, Agnieszka. “CAIR-Chicago’s 8th Annual Banquet: A Future Without Bigotry,” CAIR-Chicago website, March 8, 2012.  https://www.cairchicago.org/2012/03/05/cair-chicagos-8th-annual-banquet-a-future-without-bigotry/

[42] Mauro, Ryan. “DISH Network, Turkish Airlines Support Islamist Conference in U.S.,” RadicalIslam.org, January 17, 2013. https://www.radicalislam.org/analysis/dish-network-turkish-airlines-support-islamist-conference-us

[43] Poole, Patrick. “Did Obama and Holder Scuttle Terror Finance Prosecutions?” PJ Media, April 14, 2011. https://pjmedia.com/blog/did-obama-and-holder-scuttle-terror-finance-prosecutions/2/