- 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 Spain, are primary funders of IRW.
- In 2012, Spain awarded £243,942 to IRW.
- It is not clear whether Spain continued to fund IRW in 2013 and 2014.
Given the serious nature of the allegations, and particularly in light of the current war with Hamas, the Spanish government should immediately conduct a thorough review of Islamic Relief Worldwide, in cooperation with the relevant Israeli and other authorities, to ensure that Spanish taxpayer funds are not channeled to terrorist organizations.
Questions for the Spanish government
- In light of the serious allegations against IRW and its current status in Israel, is the Spanish government 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 Spanish government assure both Spanish and Israeli citizens that funding to IRW has not been channeled to terror groups?
European government funding to Islamic Relief Worldwide
|Switzerland||Swiss Foreign Ministry||€52,942 (2012)|
|EU||European Commission||€2,169,340 (2012)|
|Sweden||SIDA||SEK 24,000,000 (2013)|