• The Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) is an international organization based in the UK, with offices in Gaza and the West Bank, ostensibly working as an “international relief and development charity.”
  • 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.)
  • Media sources have reported that 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.”
  • According to its financial reports, European governments, including the EU, are primary funders of IRW.

EU Funding and Evaluation

  • In 2012, the European Commission awarded £2,169,340 to IRW.
  • In correspondence with NGO Monitor, John Gatt-Rutter, the Head of Delegation to the West Bank and Gaza, refused to release substantive information, simply stating that “the Commission does not provide global funding to NGOs, but supports specific projects and well-defined actions which are carried out by NGOs in full compliance with EC rules and procedures in the management of the activities, which includes screening and check compliance on the eligibility of the organisations.”
  • Mr. Gatt-Rutter also refused to take responsibility for investigating IRW’s alleged misconduct, “At this juncture, we are not aware of anything which would suggest that IRW is not in good standing with its regulatory body.”
  • For the full correspondence between NGO Monitor and the EU, see Appendix A.
Given the serious nature of the allegations, and particularly in light of the current war with Hamas, the European Commission should immediately conduct a thorough review of Islamic Relief Worldwide, in cooperation with the relevant Israeli and other authorities, to ensure that EU taxpayer funds are not channeled to terrorist organizations.

Questions for the European Commission

  • In light of the serious allegations against IRW and its current status in Israel, is the European Commission planning to open an investigation into the activities of IRW?
  • The diversion of foreign aid to terror activities in Gaza has emerged as a central element in the conflict. How will the European Commission assure both EU and Israeli citizens that funding to IRW has not been channeled to terror groups?

European government funding to Islamic Relief Worldwide

SourceFunding MechanismAmount
UKDFID€1,400,000 (2012)
SwitzerlandSwiss Foreign Ministry€52,942 (2012)
EUEuropean Commission€2,169,340 (2012)
Sweden SIDASEK 24,000,000 (2013)
SpainAECID€243,942 (2012)