Leading European MP calls for halt to Islamic Relief funding over alleged Muslim Brotherhood links

Nicola Beer demands investigation into potential ties between hate groups and charity

Nicola Beer called for an investigation into alleged links between Islamic Relief Worldwide and the Muslim Brotherhood. Getty
Nicola Beer called for an investigation into alleged links between Islamic Relief Worldwide and the Muslim Brotherhood. Getty

A vice president of the European Parliament has urged a suspension of funding to Islamic Relief while its alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood are investigated.

Nicola Beer wrote to the European Commission and said it was unacceptable for Islamic Relief to receive funding if it has connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.

"European funds must not fall into the hands of organisations that are responsible for anti-Semitism or other hatred," she said.

The German lawyer, who is a member of the Free Democratic Party and has served as a Member of the European Parliament since 2019, asked for an investigation into the co-operation between the Commission’s Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG Echo) and NGOs with links to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

"The DG Echo includes in its list of non-governmental organisations certified as EU humanitarian partners for the period 2021-2027 Islamic Relief Germany and Islamic Relief Sweden," she wrote.

"In 2017 and 2019, the German Federal Government stated that there were significant personnel connections between Islamic Relief Germany and the Muslim Brotherhood.

"Additionally, Islamic Relief Germany and Islamic Relief Sweden are co-operation partners of Islamic Relief Worldwide, which was banned by the Israeli authorities in 2014 for being part of the Hamas funding apparatus.

"Again, there are close personnel connections between Islamic Relief Germany and Islamic Relief Worldwide. Board members of Islamic Relief Germany, for example, also occupy executive positions at Islamic Relief Worldwide."

She asked the EU Commission to reveal if it was aware of any connections between the groups and to clarify its mechanisms for reviewing organisations with links to terrorists or anti-Semitics.

"Can the Commission guarantee that it will immediately end funding for and co-operation with non-governmental organisations with links to terrorist or anti-Semitic organisations?" she asked.

Her questions were submitted in April and the Commission has six weeks to respond.

Ties between the British-based Islamic Relief charity and the Muslim Brotherhood have recently been under scrutiny.

The Netherlands and Germany banned Islamic Relief Worldwide from receiving funding and it is now being forced to provide monthly compliance reports after an urgent review by USAid, America's national aid agency, after its links to the Muslim Brotherhood were exposed.

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

Sigrid Kaag, the Netherlands' Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, banned any release of government funds to the organisation in January, after an investigation by the UK-based Charity Commission into anti-Semitism at Islamic Relief Worldwide.

The aid watchdog began its investigation last July, when Islamic Relief Worldwide trustee Heshmat Khalifa resigned over more than a dozen offensive Facebook posts from 2014 and 2015 relating to anti-Semitism and support of militant group Hamas.

Another IRW trustee, Almoutaz Tayara, admitted he had posted offensive material praising Hamas and an anti-Semitic cartoon, and fundraising co-ordinator Abdul Mannan Bhatti regularly posted quotes from Sayyid Qutb, a founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Charity Commission said in January it was satisfied with the measures taken by the charity to address the publication of hate posts.

Updated: May 24, 2021 06:03 PM

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