Islamic Relief Worldwide suffers new blows as Norway branch is hit by resignations and Germany withdraws funding

British charity is facing multiple investigations globally

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)

Scandal-hit charity Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) has suffered a series of setbacks after Germany cut official funding and its Norway branch was hit by new resignations over support of Hamas.

The German interior ministry announced Islamic Relief Deutschland (IRD) had its funding suspended over its alleged connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.

A report from the domestic intelligence agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, said the Islamic Relief bodies in the UK and Germany "have significant personal connections to the Muslim Brotherhood or related organisations".

The allegations follow the resignations of three senior figures from the UK’s IRW headquarters over anti-Semitism and posts supporting Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The latest resignation has been in Norway, when a second member of its three-strong team, Abdo Samie Nasri, stepped down at the weekend after he was confronted with social media posts on his Facebook page supporting Hamas terror attacks by Norwegian news site Document.

Now only one board member remains.

Earlier the chair of Islamic Relief Norway, Tayeb Abdoun, who was also IRW’s former chief executive, resigned after posting anti-Semitic remarks, publishing his support for the Muslim Brotherhood and quoting the founder of Al Qaeda.

Norway’s remaining member Kaissar Ben Bahri Bac-Alihas said a new board will be formed shortly.

In Germany, the Interior Ministry said it has stopped funding IRW and IRD over their ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

A spokesperson said it had information that both IRW and IRD had "significant connections to the Muslim Brotherhood or related organisations".

The German Foreign Office said IRD will receive a final payment in January "in order to be able to guarantee the delivery of urgently needed medicines" to hospitals in Syria.

The announcement followed a request by Germany’s FDP political party.

FDP parliamentary deputy Stephan Thomae said the move shows that IRW is "still at the very beginning" of its efforts to differentiate itself from the Muslim Brotherhood.

The aim of liberal democracy must be to "identify tendencies that disrupt the state at an early stage," 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 Sweden, the national aid agency Sida has reportedly considered increasing IRW’s funding after previously saying it was looking at the allegations as it reviewed its contracts with IRW.

A report by British consultancy Itad, commissioned by Sida, to examine the humanitarian organisations it supports concluded that IRW was a “principled and effective humanitarian actor”. Chairman of Islamic Relief Sweden is Lamia el Amri, who is also a director of IRW having survived a shake-up of the board earlier this year.

In August, IRW said it would remove all of its trustees after the first accusations emerged, but a closed door meeting resulted in Ms El Amri holding on to an office.

Ms El Amri also works for the Swedish educational network Ibn Rushd Study Association.

It has been linked through its founder, the Islamic Association of Sweden, to the Muslim Brotherhood's European umbrella organisation, the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe.

Last week, The National revealed that IRW's founder Hany El Banna had referred to Yazidis as "devil worshippers" in a lecture. He has since apologised.

The Nobel prize winner Nadia Murad has condemned the comments.

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