Germany’s FDP urges probe into Islamic Relief funding and ties to Muslim Brotherhood

Demands for background checks on Islamic Relief leaders before the government issues millions of euros in grants

A view of the tented village of Jellozai camp for Internally Displaced People (IDP) under Islamic Relief at Pabi on April 25, 2009. Photo by Muzammil Pasha for The National
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Politicians in Germany are demanding urgent answers over the government’s funding of charity Islamic Relief and its links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Germany’s Free Democratic Party (FDP) is demanding an inquiry into the Muslim Brotherhood’s ties in the nation.

It follows previous warnings by security officials in Saxony that the group’s activities were a “bigger long-term threat” to Germany than Al Qaeda or ISIS.

In a list of 19 questions submitted to the Bundestag on Tuesday, the FDP is calling for the government to reveal the extent of the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence and its ties to Islamic Relief Germany, which has received millions in funding from taxpayers.

The party wants to know if background checks were carried out prior to the government issuing grants to Islamic Relief.

The FDP wants answers in relation to allegations Islamic Relief has helped to finance Hamas and what monitoring processes the government has in place – and it claims the German government has previous knowledge of the charity’s “significant personal connections” to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Islamic Relief Worldwide was designated by the UAE in 2014 as a terrorist organisation, because of its links to the global Muslim Brotherhood.

Burkhart Frier, who heads Germany's domestic intelligence agency the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz in North Rhine Westphalia, told The Focus magazine last year that the Muslim Brotherhood's activities were a bigger long-term threat to German democracy than Al Qaeda or ISIS.

It followed warnings from his colleague Gordian Meyer-Plath in 2017 that the Muslim Brotherhood was working to subvert democracy in his country.

A report published last week by leading British think tank the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King's College London, titled The Islamic Movement in Britain, named Islamic Relief among a list of networks linked to the bankrolling of the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe.

In July, the charity’s board was forced to step down after it emerged one of its trustees, Heshmat Khalifa, had written anti-Semitic messages on Facebook in a tirade that lasted from 2014 to 2015.

The National revealed a further three senior employees of Islamic Relief Worldwide published social media posts showing support for Hamas and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.

German aid alliance group Aktion Deutschland Hilft has suspended Islamic Relief Germany’s membership until December 2021, with the charity’s funding frozen.

“The background to the current decision is the fact that, from the point of view of the alliance, there is no decisive way of dealing with the violations of individuals in the organisation,” it said in a statement.

“This cannot be reconciled with Aktion Deutschland Hilft's code of values. Aktion Deutschland Hilft expects each of its member organisations to act quickly and decisively in the event of misconduct, as well as strong review mechanisms, especially in the treatment of racist, anti-Semitic or discriminatory statements.

“During the period of inactive membership, Islamic Relief Germany has the opportunity to deal with structural problems in this regard and to improve them.”

Swedish politicians are also calling for an immediate freeze on support for Islamic Relief and for an official investigation into any links the British-registered charity has with the Muslim Brotherhood.