There's no evidence that Islamic Relief finances Hamas, investigation says

The aid charity, which won't name the organisation that carried out the review, had suspended its work in the West Bank after the Israeli government said it had links with Hamas

Islamic Relief
Islamic Relief

The aid charity Islamic Relief has said that it hopes to resume work in the Palestinian territories after an independent investigation it commissioned found no evidence to back Israeli claims that it was financing Hamas.

In June, Israel’s government designated the charity an "unauthorised association" in the West Bank, alleging it had links with Hamas, which controls the West Bank and the other Palestinian territories, and is considered a terrorist organisation by Israel, the UK and other governments.

In a statement on its website, Islamic Relief said it took the "difficult decision" to suspend its programmes in the area, which reached 78,000 people.

In September, the aid charity said it had decided not to take any donations from the Disasters Emergency Committee during an internal investigation it had commissioned into the Israeli claims.

"That investigation examined our projects, partnerships, finances and staffing in the West Bank," the statement says. "It looked in great detail at the thorough systems and processes that we have developed over many years to ensure both that our work benefits those in genuine need and that no money gets into the wrong hands. It found that those systems and processes are working well and there is absolutely no evidence of any links with terrorism."

It says that previous similar reviews and audits had also found no evidence of any link to terror or terrorist groups, and that the charity "abhors terrorism in all its forms".

"In the spirit of true accountability, it is not for Islamic Relief to exonerate ourselves of alleged wrongdoing," the statement says. "That is why we commissioned an independent investigation in this case, and why we have shared its findings in full with a number of major stakeholders."

A spokeswoman for the charity said the review was carried out by "a major global audit firm", which it would not name.

Last month, Islamic Relief faced accusations that it was linked to terrorism in the United Arab Emirates, being put on the country’s blacklist of more than 80 organisations, groups and associations from around the world. The list included the UK think tank the Cordoba Foundation and the Muslim Association of Britain, alongside Al-Qaeda and Hizbollah.

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