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.”



  • Has been “working in the Palestinian Territories since 1994, and opened an office in Gaza City in 1998.
  • International advocacy – According to its website, IRW “regularly visits the UN Head quarters in New York to speak with Member States… offering them our expertise on humanitarian issues and faith sensitive approaches to complex topics” and “organises side events with UN agencies and Governments at global forums such as the Commission for the Status of Women, the High Level Political Forum, and the UN General Assembly.”
  • 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.”
  • 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.”
  • 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.”
  • In September 2014, IRW announced that it will not accept funds from the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Gaza Crisis Appeal while it carries out an internal investigation prompted by allegations over suspected links to Hamas.
  • Launched a July 2014 urgent appeal, claiming that the “Palestinian people now face the prospect of another devastating conflict, and the worst humanitarian crisis since the eight day war of 2012.” According to IRW’s Facebook page, the financial appeal raised £250,000 and was broadcast live on the Islam Channel.
  • Initiated a November 2006 campaign, “Counting Orphans in Beit Hanoun,” presenting profiles of orphans whose parents were allegedly killed in the Gaza “massacre” and claiming that “restrictions on movement and the crippling financial embargo are creating a humanitarian crisis in Palestine.”
  • In 2006, IRW’s Gaza coordinator, Iyaz Ali, a Pakistani-born British national, was arrested and charged with transfering 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.”


2013-2015 Grants Received (amounts in $US)

Action Aid215,031248,591195,596
Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD)76,83080,899231,189
CARE International20,385869,608
United Kingdom1,541,4941,234,6441,250,000
European Commission775,3161,484,4441,529,339
Secours Islamique France1,832,6811,979,4471,464,732
Islamic Development Bank888,5161,452,9974,492,447
Qatar Charity171,053243,413

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Further Reading