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  • 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 Sweden, are primary funders of IRW.

Funding and Evaluation

  • In 2013, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) awarded SEK 24,000,000 to IRW.
  • In correspondence with NGO Monitor, SIDA provided updated information on Swedish funding for IRW, but did not give specific examples in support of its claim that effective monitoring and audit systems are in place.
  • For the full correspondence between NGO Monitor and SIDA, see Appendix A.

Given the serious nature of the allegations, and particularly in light of the current war with Hamas, the Swedish government should immediately conduct a thorough review of Islamic Relief Worldwide, in cooperation with the relevant Israeli and other authorities, to ensure that Swedish taxpayer funds are not channeled to terrorist organizations.

Questions for SIDA

  • In light of the serious allegations against IRW and its current status in Israel, is the Swedish 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 Swedish government assure both Swedish 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)