In a dramatic move, the entire board of Islamic Relief WorldWide (IRW) stepped down after a board member of the UK charity was discovered to have posted pro-terror and antisemitic social media posts. These posts followed the discovery of deeply antisemitic posts by another IRW official last month.
A few weeks ago a director at Islamic Relief stepped down after praising Hamas and making antisemitic social media posts, today, the entire board has resigned after another trustee’s pro-terrorist & antisemitic posts were uncovered:https://t.co/NwKgd2tkVg
— Liam Duffy (@LiamSD12) August 22, 2020
The organization already had a long history of ties to terror funding and the Muslim Brotherhood, an oftentimes violent group.
In 2014, the United Arab Emirates designated Islamic Relief Worldwide as a terrorist group. The same year, the Israel government banned IRW from operating in Israel because of evidence that the organization was funneling money to the Hamas terror group.
Yet the United States did not follow. In 2015, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded the organization a grant of $100,000.
The current story with IRW began developing in July when it was discovered that Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) trustee Heshmat Khalifa had published antisemitic Facebook posts.
Khalifa was connected to high profile influencers in the UK, and in the past has had access to royal dignitaries as well as the royal family. On his social media posts he:
- Described Hamas as “the purest resistance movement in modern history”
- Called Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi a “pimp son of the Jews”
- Labeled Israeli authorities the “grandchildren of monkeys and pigs”
In addition to being a trustee, 63-year-old Khalifa had been with Islamic Relief WorldWide since 1999, serving as chairman of Islamic Relief Australia and as a director in both Germany and South Africa. Upon being discovered, Khalifa said he was sorry for publishing the posts and regretted the “language and sentiments expressed,” according to The Times.
“I did not intend to insult the Jewish community and neither do I hold views which are antisemitic,” the UK paper quoted him as saying.
At that time, IRW chief executive Naser Haghamed said he was appalled at the remarks and promised to bring greater screenings and system processes into the organization.
“We will do everything in our capacity to makes sure this does not happen again,” Naser Haghamed, IRW chief executive said.
Dr. Almoutaz Tayara, IRW trustee, director and chairman of Islamic Relief Germany, was set to take over Khalifa’s position. However, it was then discovered that Tayara also had made antisemitic Facebook posts dating back to 2014 and 2015. The posts glorified terrorist attacks against Israel and showed the former American president Barack Obama in clothing branded with the Star of David.
As Clarion Project reported, Germany clamped down IRW in 2019, after an investigation that included carrying out a series of raids on the organization. Germany acknowledged IRW’s close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is categorized as a terror organization in a number of countries.
Islamic Relief USA
In 2014, the CEO of the organization’s American branch, Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), was an adviser to the State Department (as was its former CEO). That same year, Clarion Intelligence Network Director Ryan Mauro triggered a U.S. government investigation into the U.S. organization.
As early as 2013, Clarion Project reported that officials of IRUSA had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Yet, despite this controversy surrounding IRUSA, the organization is perceived as one of the most trusted Muslim charities globally. Secular American Muslims regularly attend charity fundraisers and generously give to the organization without question or critical inquiry into where those funds are directed.
And as late as 2019, Charity Navigator gave the organization a 4-star rating. It also gave it a 87.50 mark for financial credibility and a 100/100 rating for accountability and transparency.
In the metrics detailing the method by which those high mark were calculated, there was no critical inquiry into the organization’s ideology or (apparently) into its nefarious activities. There should have been.
In terms of the international organization, The Times UK reported that IRW netted an income of over $746 million in the last five years, which included contributions from the United Nations and the European Commission.