The Obama administration granted big bucks to an Islamic charity that has been banned in multiple countries due to ties with Islamic terrorist groups.
Israel and United Arab Emirates banned Islamic Relief Worldwide in 2014 for links to Hamas, al-Qaida, and similar organizations, yet it recently received $270,000 in U.S. grants via the Department of Health and Human Services. IRW has been accused for years of funneling donations to extremists while officially operating under the guise of a health-services provider.
Patrick Poole, a reporter and counter-terrorism analyst for Unconstrained Analytics, told the Washington Free Beacon on Friday that United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, has also donated funds to IRW.
“Time and again we see federal agencies and departments using taxpayer money to support the enemies of the United States and our allies,” Poole told the website. “USAID is a persistent culprit in this regard.”
Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has warned against IRW since 2006, saying its operations “in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip are carried out by social welfare organizations controlled and staffed by Hamas operatives.”
An investigation by the Gatestone Institute in 2013, a nonpartisan think tank that studies military and diplomatic threats to the U.S. and its allies, concurred.
“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-Qaida and other terror groups,” Gatestone researchers wrote July 3, 2013.
“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-Qaida terrorist and ‘Bin Laden loyalist’ Abdul Majeed Al-Zindani. In 1998, the Al-Qaida 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,'” the report continued.
The Beacon noted that IRW attempted to repair its image with an internal audit in 2014, but was criticized by the watchdog organization NGO Monitor for a lack of transparency.
“The information provided by [Islamic Relief] on its internal investigation is insufficient to assess the veracity of its claims,” NGO Monitor wrote in a 2015 analysis, the website reported. “NGO Monitor recommends that a fully independent, transparent, and comprehensive audit of IRW’s international activities and funding mechanisms be undertaken immediately.”
IRW, which opened in 1984, operates in 40 countries around the world. It touts itself as a humanitarian organization that provides emergency relief during disasters, helps developing nations gain access to basic services, and studies “the root causes of poverty.”
“We are guided by the timeless values and teachings of the Quran and Prophetic example (Sunnah), which recognize that people with wealth have a duty to those who are less fortunate,” IWR’s website states.
The Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to the Beacon’s request for comment.