Click here for PDF version.


  • 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 Switzerland, are primary funders of IRW.

Funding and Evaluation

  • In 2012, Switzerland awarded £52,942 to IRW.
  • Due to a lack of transparency, it is not clear whether Switzerland has continued to fund IRW in 2013 and 2014.
  • The Swiss Development Cooperation Agency (SDC), the governmental body responsible for foreign aid, did not respond to NGO Monitor’s inquiry concerning Swiss funding for IRW and evaluation reports pertaining to the activities of the subsidized organization.
  • For the full correspondence between NGO monitor and the SDC see Appendix A.

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

Questions for the Swiss government

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