German MP calls for inquiry into Islamic Relief to nip ‘seditious sentiments in the bud’

Germany has stopped funding the charity, citing its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood

Islamic Relief Worldwide in Digbeth, Birmingham, England, United Kingdom. Digbeth is an area of Central Birmingham, England. Islamic Relief Worldwide is an international humanitarian organisation that provides development programs and humanitarian relief around the globe, regardless of race, political affiliation, gender or belief. Following the destruction of the Inner Ring Road, Digbeth is now considered a district within Birmingham City Centre. As part of the Big City Plan, Digbeth is undergoing a large redevelopment scheme that will regenerate the old industrial buildings into apartments, retail premises, offices and arts facilities. There is still however much industrial activity in the south of the area. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images Images)
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A German politician is calling for an investigation to identify the structures and networks surrounding international aid group Islamic Relief to "nip seditious sentiments in the bud".

The German Interior Ministry stopped funding Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) and Islamic Relief Deutschland (IRD), citing “significant connections” to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The vice chairman of Germany's Free Democratic Party in the Bundestag, Stephan Thomae, who sits on the security committee, told The National the Muslim Brotherhood is a danger and that Islamic Relief has a long way to go.

His warnings come after months of scandals faced by IRW, with the resignations of three senior figures from its UK headquarters over anti-Semitism and posts supporting Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

"Despite the steps already taken by Islamic Relief to counter allegations of ties to the Muslim Brotherhood – the Federal Government still assumes the existence of significant personal links to the Muslim Brotherhood or allied organisations,” he said.

“This shows that Islamic Relief's work is only just beginning.

“The Muslim Brotherhood is pursuing anti-constitutional goals in a planned and determined fashion. What makes the Muslim Brotherhood so dangerous is that it is not a centralised organisation; it is a wide international network of individuals and associations that are formally independent and deny any connections to the Brotherhood.

“The threat posed by extremist and subversive tendencies does not only begin to exist once they have achieved a certain size or can be clearly linked to concrete terrorist attacks, our liberal democracies must aim to recognise such tendencies early on, identify structures and networks, dismantle them and nip seditious tendencies in the bud.”

The German Foreign Office cut IRD’s funding and said it will receive a final payment in January "to be able to guarantee the delivery of urgently needed medicines" to hospitals in Syria.

Mr Thomae said the government needs to be vigilant.

“Once a breeding ground for extremism has become established, it is only a matter of time until radicalised lone wolves actually carry out attacks, in which they feel underpinned by support from a broad body of sympathisers,” he said.

The managing director of IRD, Tarek Abdelalem, told German news site Handelsblatt that the charity is doing everything it can to reassure the German government.

"We are doing everything within our means to create clarity and hope for the support of the federal government,” he said.

“We hope that in the future we will be able to carry out projects such as the health project in north-west Syria with the support of the Federal Foreign Office.”

In 2014, IRW was banned by the UAE because of its perceived links to the Muslim Brotherhood.