The coordinating body for international emergencies has agreed that a Muslim charity accused by Israel of being in bed with Hamas has no links to terrorism.
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which raised over £15 million for help in Gaza this summer, agreed with the findings of an investigation into Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), which provides aid in over 40 countries.
In June, only days before the 50-day war began, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon banned IRW from working in Israel and the Palestinian territories, accusing it of helping to fund terrorism.
The charity froze its activities in the West Bank, where it had been providing aid to 78,000 people, and refused to access any funds from the DEC’s subsequent Gaza appeal, pending the outcome of an investigation. That investigation looked at the groups’s projects, partnerships, finances and staffing.
“[The investigation] found that those systems and processes are working well and there is absolutely no evidence of any links with terrorism,” said an IRW spokesperson.
“Not one of the many audits over many years has found a shred of evidence that Islamic Relief funds terrorism or has terrorist links anywhere in the world.”
The DEC reacted to the findings, saying: “We are satisfied that Islamic Relief has robust systems in place to ensure aid money is properly accounted for and spent appropriately… We are not aware of any evidence that Islamic Relief has used aid funds inappropriately in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
Islamic Relief added: “For nearly six months 78,000 poor, marginalised and vulnerable people in the West Bank have been denied support by the suspension of these programmes. They include orphans and premature babies, widows and small farmers, the sick and the unemployed. We want to get back to meeting the fundamental needs of people whose average family income is just $46 a month.”