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Islamic Relief cleared of funding terrorism

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As an audit cleared the Islamic Relief Worldwide of terror funding claims, the leading Islamic charity has announced plans to resume its humanitarian work in Palestine, despite a ban on its activities by the Israel occupation.

“Now we are contemplating resuming business because we are talking about 78,000 people – that is, orphans, widows, the elderly, the sick – and feeding them or caring for their health,” Islamic Relief’s chief executive, Mohamed Ashmawey, told the Guardian.

“These people have suffered over the past few months because of the Israeli ban.”

Branded a “terrorist organization” by the Israeli defense minister, the operations of Britain’s biggest Islamic charity have been halted in Palestine for months after being accused of financing Hamas.

Meanwhile, the group’s offices in the West Bank were raided, computers smashed, files seized and the safe blown apart by Israeli forces.

Starting its own investigation after links to terrorism allegation, the charity has hired external consultants to probe its activities.

The audit on its operations in West Bank found “no evidence” of financing radicalism.

The 2,500 employees of the charity have been screened for “terror link”, facing problems due to its work in the Islamic University of Gaza that is described as a terrorist organization only by Israel.

The UK announced its support for the Birmingham-based charity that works in 44 countries, shortly after revealing the results of the audit.

“The DEC has considered the independent audit report which reviewed Islamic Relief’s operations in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories,” the Disasters Emergency Committee, an umbrella group comprising 13 of the biggest UK charities said in a statement.

“We are satisfied that Islamic Relief has robust systems in place to ensure aid money is properly accounted for and spent appropriately.

“The DEC is not aware of any evidence that Islamic Relief has used aid funds inappropriately in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.”

UAE Terror List

In November, the Islamic Relief was added to UAE Terror list that designated 83 organizations and groups as “terrorist”, drawing ire of several Muslim activists and rights groups.

“It was shocking to us,” said Ashmawey.

The charity’s chief executive believes that the main reason of putting his group in UAE black list was related to the belief that its founders were affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood.

“No external organization or political agenda influences, let alone controls Islamic Relief,” Ashmawey said.

“If this is a crime to have someone as a founder as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood they will have to close 50% of the mosques in the west because they also had founders from this group.”

A week after releasing its terror list, the Emirates officials declared that groups labeled terrorist can appeal in courts to remove their names from the much-criticized list.

Islamic Relief has 60 days to challenge the decision in the UAE courts, but was “still working to find a (local) law firm who is willing to fight our case. If we cannot find one then we may have to hire from London,” the charity executive said.

The charity commission says that “Islamic Relief’s trustees have acted appropriately by informing the regulator proactively and promptly, both in relation to the designation and the more recent designation by the United Arab Emirates.”

Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) is an international relief and development organization consisting of a family of 15 aid agencies that aims to alleviate the suffering of the world’s poorest people.

Founded in the UK in 1984 with the stated mission of alleviating suffering, hunger, illiteracy and diseases worldwide regardless of color, race or creed, Islamic relief is now the biggest Muslim international relief and development charity in the West. ONISLAM

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