The Daily Express revealed last week that Islamic Relief Worldwide, a British charity accused of links to terrorism, was presented with £398,000 of the taxpayers' money by the Scottish Government last year, as part of its £9 million International Development Fund.
The funding was announced by Scottish politician Humza Yousaf, formerly the Media spokesperson for Islamic Relief Worldwide, and currently a Scottish National Party Member of the Scottish Parliament and Minister for External Affairs and International Development. This grant comes in addition to the European Union's grant of €22 million provided to Islamic Relief Worldwide between 2007 and 2011.
In 1999, Islamic Relief Worldwide received a payment of $50,000 from a Canadian charity that the US Department of the Treasury identified as a "Bin Laden front". In 2005, the Russian Government accused Islamic Relief of supporting terrorism in Chechnya.
In 2006, the Israeli Government designated Islamic Relief a "terrorist front." After three weeks' detention in Israel, the head of Islamic Relief's operations in Gaza, Ayaz Ali, was deported by Israeli authorities after being accused of funneling money to banned organizations and storing images of swastikas and Osama bin Laden on his computer.
In November 2012, the Swiss Bank UBS closed the account of, and blocked all donations to, Islamic Relief due to "counter-terror concerns."
The Global Muslim Brotherhood Report has noted that a considerable number of Islamic Relief officials are also connected to extremist groups:
- Ibrahim El-Zayat, a trustee of Islamic Relief, is a leader in both the European and the German Muslim Brotherhood, an extremist Islamist organization with branches all around the world.
- Dr. Ahmed Al-Rawi, the former head of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE) and the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), was also previously a director of Islamic Relief. FIOE is a leading advocate of jihadist Egyptian scholar, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.
- Issam Al-Bashir, a former Director of Islamic Relief, is the former Minister of Religious Affairs in the Sudan and has held many positions associated with the global Muslim Brotherhood.
- Dr. Hani Al-Banna, the co-founder of Islamic Relief Worldwide, was formerly affiliated with Muslim Aid, a London-based Islamic "charity" which was previously a "partner organization" of the Al-Salah Islamic Association. The US Government has officially designated Al Salah a terrorist entity.
The Islamic Relief's long history of organizing events with extremist speakers is also revealing. In 2009, for example, the charity invited Yusuf Estes, a prominent hate preacher, to speak at nine Islamic Relief events across the UK. In the past, Estes has instructed husbands to beat "disobedient wives." He has also called for the killing of homosexuals:
"Islam considers homosexuality as a sexual deviation leading to a perverted act which goes against the natural order Allah intended for mankind. … In order to maintain the purity of the Muslim society, most Muslim scholars have ruled that the punishment for this act should be the same as for zina (i.e. one hundred whiplashes for the man who has never married, and death by stoning for the married man). Some have even ruled that it should be death for both partners, because the Prophet … said: "Kill the doer and the one to whom it was done.'"
The Scottish Government has always appeared willing to consort with extremists. The leader of the Scottish Government, Alex Salmond, has met with Dr. Azzam Tamimi, a leading advocate in Britain for the Palestinian terror group Hamas. Tamimi declared in 2004, "If I can go to Palestine and sacrifice myself, I would do it." In 2005, Tamimi said, "We have been impressed by the warm and welcoming attitude of the SNP."
Further, in 2005 Salmond was happy to speak on the same platform as Sir Iqbal Sacranie, a leading British Islamist who said of the author, Salman Rushdie: "Death, perhaps, is a bit too easy for him."
The donation to Islamic Relief is not the first time, in fact, that the Scottish Government has provided financial support to extremist charities connected to Scottish National Party members. In 2010, opposition parties called for an independent investigation into the Scottish Islamic Foundation (SIF), which is headed by Humza Yousaf's cousin and a fellow SNP parliamentary candidate, Osama Saeed. The SIF was handed more than £400,000 by SNP ministers.
Osama Saeed was previously the spokesperson for the Muslim Association of Britain, which is the leading voice of the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain. In 2005, Saeed called for the re-establishment of the caliphate, an Islamist aspiration to unite the Islamic World under one Islamic theocracy. In 2006, Saeed voiced praise for the late Al Qaeda leader, Anwar Al-Awlaki, writing:
"Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki was originally hounded in the US because two of the 9/11 bombers happened to pray at his mosque. Many of my Muslim readers will either know him personally or have heard his lectures. He preached nothing but peace, and I pray he will be able to do so again."
In 2009, the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism think-tank, issued an 'alert' which stated that Saeed's Scottish Islamic Foundation, since its foundation, had acted to provide a platform for extremist Islamists and advocated Muslim Brotherhood-style policies. The Quilliam Foundation further noted that, in 2008, the Scottish Islamic Foundation had arranged for Mohammed Sawalha, a fugitive Hamas commander, to meet with the Scottish culture minister, Linda Fabiani.
An exhaustive investigation into a number of leading charities and their links to Government is urgently required. Although the Scottish Government may be convinced it is engaging with the Muslim community, in truth it is funding Islamist groups with extremist agendas and ties to terrorism.