Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW)


Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
In their own words“an international relief and development charity which envisages a caring world where people unite to respond to the suffering of others, empowering them to fulfil their potential.”


Funding Cuts to IRW


Ties to Terrorism

  • On June 19, 2014, Israel’s Defense Minister declared IRW to be illegal, based on its alleged role in funneling money to Hamas, and banned it from operating in Israel and the West Bank. (Hamas is a designated terror organization by Israel, the U.S.EU, and Canada.) According to news reports, the decision was made after “the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), the coordinator for government activities in the territories, and legal authorities provided incriminating information against IRW.”
    • On December 12, 2014, IRW announced it had commissioned an “independent investigation” that found “absolutely no evidence of any links with terrorism” and that “not one of these many audits over many years has found a shred of evidence that Islamic Relief funds terrorism or has terrorist links anywhere in the world.”
    • In a statement to the media, Israel’s General Security Service (Shin Bet) said it could not respond to IRW’s announcement “without an in-depth examination of [the audit’s] findings, its scope or who it was carried out by.” It claimed the Israeli government’s decision to declare IRW illegal was “based on information that has been accumulated over years, that the fund is a central player in financing of Hamas… [and] on accumulated knowledge and experience in fighting terror and financing of terror organizations.”
  • IRW was a “founding organization” of The Union of Good. The Union of Good is designated as a terror organization by Israel and was designated by the US government as “an organization created by Hamas leadership to transfer funds to the terrorist organization.”
  • IRW and Islamic Relief Germany (IRG) have ties to the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), an organization prohibited from operating in Germany due to its role in funneling money to terror groups. The German branch of IHH had a close relationship with Milli Görüs (IGMG), a “pan-European organization, which the German domestic intelligence agency claims is responsible for promoting extremist ideas and propagating antisemitic conspiracy theories.” (See below for further information on Islamic Relief Germany.) IHH is a member of the Union of the Good, an umbrella of 50+ Islamic organizations, which was designated by the US government as “an organization created by Hamas leadership to transfer funds to the terrorist organization.”
  • In 2017, Bangladesh banned three Muslim aid organizations, including Islamic Relief, from working in the Rohingya refugee camps as a “preventative measure against potential radicalization in the camps.”
  • In January 2016, the UK-based bank HSBC announced that it was ending all links to IRW, “amid concerns that cash for aid could end up with terrorist groups abroad.”
  • According to a 2016 report by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency on the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood, IRW is a “key organization” in providing “credibility” to the Muslim Brotherhood. The report also revealed that Haytham Rahmeh, an official of the Muslim Brotherhood, is a member of Islamic Relief Sweden, and noted that “[Rahmeh] has been involved in supporting militias linked to the Muslim Brotherhood in the Syrian conflict, through lobbying and weapons purchases.”
  • In 2014, the United Arab Emirates included IRW and IR-UK on a list of terrorist entities.
  • In 2012, UBS Bank closed Islamic Relief Worldwide’s bank account due to concerns about counter-terrorist regulations.
  • In 2006, IRW’s Gaza coordinator, Iyaz Ali, a Pakistani-born British national, was arrested and charged with transferring funds and assistance to “Hamas institutions and organizations, including the Al Wafa and Al Tzalah associations, which have been outlawed in Israel. He also admitted that he worked in Jordan and cooperated with local Hamas operatives.” The Israeli government statement also referred to documents “that attested to the organization’s ties with illegal Hamas funds abroad (in the UK and in Saudi Arabia) and in Nablus. Also found were photographs of swastikas superimposed on IDF symbols, of senior Nazi German officials, of Osama Bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as well as many photographs of Hamas military activities.”
  • In 2005, Russian authorities accused IRW of supporting terrorism in Chechnya.

Islamic Relief Palestine (IRPAL)

Islamic Relief Germany

Islamic Relief Australia

Islamic Relief Canada




2015-2020 Grants Received (amounts in £ unless otherwise noted)

Action Aid66,915215,031
Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD)45,00075,00076,830
United Kingdom (Department for International Development)1,331,1381,541,494
European Commission638,4301,273,2331,502,068775,316
Secours Islamique France1,840,7602,218,2741,986,0411,832,681
Save the Children486,677
Islamic Development Bank1,369,6834,211,542888,516
Qatar Charity1,083,370195,932171,053
World Vision Germany3,15666,230
Catholic Relief Services (CRS)20,82444,643
HelpAge International5,74425,88959,932207,472
International Rescue Committee UK262,726952,046
Lutheran World Federation (LWF)25,491
Stichting ZOA277,583316,039


  1. The Qatar Charity was named by Osama bin-Laden as a financier of Al-Qaeda.

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Further Reading