Accordingly, along with former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams (who once made an ass of himself by supporting the formal integration of aspects of sharia law in Britain), "Red Ed" was on hand the other evening to pay tribute to the charity Islamic Relief.
Said Ed inter alia:
“I want to congratulate Islamic Relief on its campaign on the War on Hunger. It’s an important campaign because it looks beyond conflict – whether it’s in Syria or in Afghanistan or elsewhere – and it asks the question that all right-minded people would ask, which is: ‘What can we do to make a difference to the most vulnerable people in this country?’ ...."All very well and noble, no doubt.
But, as Samuel Westrop, Associate Director at the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy, wrote recently:
'Islamic Relief Worldwide [IRW] is the poster-child of an exemplary Islamic charity. Headquartered in the UK, and given tens of millions of dollars by Western governments, the United Nations and the European Union, IRW consists of a "family of fifteen aid agencies" which "aim to alleviate the suffering of the world's poorest people".
New information, however, indicates that IRW -- which counts Islamic Relief UK and Islamic Relief USA as its most important branches -- is an extremist organization with a pro-terror agenda. IRW has worked with a significant number of organizations linked to terrorism.
IRW's accounts show that it has partnered with a number of organizations linked to terrorism and that some of charity's trustees are personally affiliated with extreme Islamist groups that have connections to terror.
In 2006, the Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs designated IRW itself a terrorist front, and claimed that:
"The IRW provides support and assistance to Hamas's infrastructure. 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's ideology among the Palestinian population."
In May of 2006, Israeli police arrested IRW's Gaza coordinator, Ayaz Ali. The Israeli government stated Ali had assisted Hamas-related institutions and groups such as Al Wafa and Al Tzalah, both of which are designated terror organizations in Israel. According to the Israeli government, Ali also said that he had cooperated with local Hamas operatives in Jordan:
"Incriminating files were found on Ali's computer, including documents that attested to the organization's ties with illegal Hamas funds abroad (in the UK and in Saudi Arabia) and in Nablus. Also found were photographs of swastikas superimposed on IDF symbols, of senior Nazi German officials, of Osama Bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as well as many photographs of Hamas military activities … Ali admitted that he was aware that several of the organizations supported by the IRW in Judea, Samaria and Gaza were indeed identified with Hamas." [Author's emphasis]
For several years, IRW has supported the Islamic University of Gaza, where, during 2008, rockets and explosives were produced for use by Hamas. One of the most senior Hamas leaders, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, founded the university in 1978, and sixteen of the university's lecturers and teachers are elected Hamas members of the Palestinian legislature.
In 2002, the Russian Federal Security Service also accused Islamic Relief of being part of a radical Islamist network, providing support to terrorists in Chechnya.
Islamic Relief has denied the charges against them. These denials would be more convincing, however, were it not that IRW appears to be a hub for donations from charities accused of links to Al Qaeda and other terror groups.
In 2004, 2007 and 2009, IRW accounts revealed donations of tens of thousands of pounds from the Charitable Society for Social Welfare [CSSW], a charity founded by Al Qaeda terrorist and "Bin Laden loyalist" Abdul Majeed Al-Zindani. In 1998, the Al Qaeda terrorist Anwar Al-Awlaki, eventually killed by a U.S. drone strike, served as vice-president of CSSW's San Diego branch.
During a terrorism trial in 2004 in the U.S., Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Brian Murphy testified that CSSW was a "front organization to funnel money to terrorists."
In 1999, Human Concern International, a charity that Osama bin Laden told an Egyptian interviewer in 1995 was funding an al-Qaeda charitable front called Blessed Relief, gave IRW a $50,000 donation. IRW continues to refer to Human Concern as a partner. In 2008, Human Concern granted IRW a further £25,000.
Human Concern has also funded the Global Relief Foundation, an organization shut down by the American government on the grounds that it had been laundering money for al-Qaeda and was linked to the Taliban. Similarly, in 2009 another funder of the Global Relief Foundation, the International Development and Relief Foundation, gave IRW just under £200,000.
Further, in 2008, IRW's accounts revealed a donation of £13,437 from the Yemeni Al-Eslah organization -- a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood whose leaders include Sheikh al-Zindani, whom the US Government has designated a "Global Terrorist."
The same year, the UK-based charity Human Appeal International gave IRW £34,081. A 1996 CIA report claimed Human Appeal International was one of a number of Islamic charities used as conduits for funds to terrorist organizations, and tied it to the Saudi-based Muwafaq, an Al-Qaeda front group. The FBI, in 2003, claimed there was a "close relationship between Human Appeal International and Hamas." In February 2005, Hamas's website had already openly announced the receipt of funds from HAI.
One of Human Appeal's trustees is Dr. Nooh al Kaddo, who also serves as executive director of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland. In 2009, this organization gave £2,707 to IRW.
The Islamic Cultural Centre is part of the Muslim Brotherhood's European network and hosts the European Council for Fatwa and Research, of which former IRW director Issam Al-Bashir is a leading member. The head of the council is Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who believes Hitler was "divine punishment" for the Jews and is a supporter of suicide bombings.
In 2010 and 2011, the Kuwait-based International Islamic Charitable Organisation provided IRW with hundreds of thousands of pounds. According to counter-terrorism expert Matthew Levitt, a leaked CIA report identified this Kuwaiti charity as a key supporter of terrorism.
It is not just the charity, however, that has partnered with extremist groups. A number of IRW trustees and officials are also personally affiliated with state sponsors of terror, extremist groups and pro-terror organizations ....'Read all of Westrop's article here