Charity Islamic Relief USA: strong ties to terrorism and US refugees

3053220561CSP, by Alessandra Gennarelli, June 8, 2015:

The largest U.S. Muslim Charity, which has been linked to terrorism finance, is now playing a role in helping to settle refugees from terror torn Syria.

Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) is an affiliate of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), the largest international Islamic charity in the world, with a $240 million operating budget, nearly 300 employees, chapters in more than 12 countries with their own multi-billion dollar budgets, and operations in over 30 countries, all based in Birmingham, England.

IRUSA specializes in refugee assistance and has a history of working with the United Nations and specifically the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the aid agency for Palestinian refugees.

The IRUSA website specifies in detail its role in assisting incoming refugees saying:

“IRUSA assists refugees in starting their new life in the United States. Volunteers are trained to welcome refugee families to their new communities, help them access local services, and show them around their new communities. Volunteers also can help with resume building and job searches. In some instances, refugees may receive rent assistance so they have a place to stay while looking for employment.”

The IRUSA accepts Sadqah donations or a “voluntary charity donation” which it uses to support programs, providing patients with low socio-economics status gain access to therapy, medical devices and supplies. They will also accept Zakah (Zakat) donations.

This raises eyebrows because under Sharia law, Zakat donations are to be expended in a number of prescribed categories. One of those categories is Jihad, as described by chief Muslim Brotherhood jurist Yusuf Al Qaradawi:

“If war is waged anywhere to achieve this goal, namely to free the occupied lands of the laws and the tyranny of disbelievers, it is undoubtedly a case of Jihad for the sake of Allah. It thus needs to be financed from the money of Zakah, the amount of which is to be decided based on the total sum of the charity, the requirements of Jihad as well as the degree of the need of other potential recipients of charity. This is all to be decided by reliable scholars, if they are to be found.”

The website states that it is the Zakat donations that cover expenses for refugees for things such as “rent assistance, emergency medical expenses, employment training, food vouchers, utilities and other emergency needs.”

There are specific instances where the IRUSA has given refugees money in Detroit, Kentucky and Baltimore.

In the instance of Detroit, the IRUSA gave money to struggling refugees and residents in the area because of the “rich Muslim community found there.” Michigan has the largest Muslim community in the entire country. They’ve also provided funds to the Kentucky Refugee Ministry (KRM) to help settle the new Syrian refugees in Louisville.

In Baltimore, Maryland, the IRUSA reports that it is “working to financially empower refugees.” An example of that is shown in this story about the IRUSA helping a woman pay her rent in Silver Spring, Maryland. The group also created a program called Pathways Program located in D.C. to help refugees learn how to manage finances, as well as how to start a business and buy a home.

The charity is also a large advocate for bringing more refugees into the country. It was a part of a network calling for the settlement of thousands of Syrian refugees into “rich countries.”

It has participated in an event recently for Syrian refugees and wrote that its support calls on leaders to form a political solution to the problem.

All of this charity work would seem charitable except that the IRUSA and IRW have many ties to Islamist terrorist organizations.

In 2009, the IRW accepted a $50,000 check from Osama Bin Laden. In 2006, Israel arrested its project coordinator in its Gaza office, Iyaz Ali, for funneling money to Hamas. In November 2012, the British Bank UBS closed the IRW’s account and blocked its customers from donating to the charity. In June 2014, Israel officially declared the organization to be illegal and banned it from operating in Israel and the Palestinian territories due to its financing of Hamas. In November 2014, the United Arab Emirates declared the IRW to be a terrorist group.

Legally, the IRUSA as an institution and charity is separate and independent from the IRW. However, as an IRW affiliate, it has many links to the IRW, and therefore has many links to terrorism. The IRUSA’s CEO, Abed Ayoub, is an IRW governance committee member. Its president, Mohamed Amr Attaiwa, is on the IRW’s Board of Trustees. In addition to the relationship between the IRW and the IRUSA created through shared leadership, money flows between the two organizations. In 2007, 2008, and 2009, the IRUSA sent the IRW $5 million, $6 million, and $9.5 million, respectively. Most IRUSA programs are funded through IRW grants; in 2010, the IRUSA received approximately $22 billion from the IRW.

The IRUSA has multiple officials with direct ties to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB).

The IRUSA’s President and Board Chairman, Mohamed Amr Attaiwa, was listed as the MB’s New England Director in a phone directory from 1991. At one time, Attaiwa served as the Vice President of the Muslim American Society, which was once described by federal prosecutors as “the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.” An admitted MB member and convicted terrorist, Abdurraham Alamoudi, has openly said that the Muslim American Society is a part of the MB.

The IRUSA’s Operations Manager (a point of contact and speaker at many IRUSA fundraisers) is Ahmed Shehata, who was one of the 21 Muslim brotherhood leaders arrested in Alexandria, Egypt in January 2009. Ahmed Shehata has liked at least eighteen pro-MB pages on Facebook as well.

Hamdy Radwan, who has served on the IRUSA’s Board of Directors since 2012 said in an interview in November 2006, that he views Hamas as a group of freedom fighters, rather than as a terrorist organization.

The IRUSA’s founder, chairman and CEO from 1993-1996, and current senior advisor to the board Ahmad Esmat El-Bendary was once the president of the Muslim American Society and currently serves on its Board of Trustees.

In addition to many of its leaders being affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, the IRUSA often has Islamist speakers at its events such as Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, Suhaib Webb, the former Imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, and Imam Siraj Wahaj, an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

These connections between the IRUSA, the IRW, and terrorism raises red flags when one considers its influence on refugee resettlement both in the United States and worldwide, and brings up questions about the kinds of groups leading the push to resettle Syrian refugees in the United States.

Also see:

U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations Raises Funds for Islamic Relief USA

Center for Security Policy:

The newly-formed U.S. Muslim Brotherhood political party, the U.S. Council of the Muslim Organizations (USCMO), has lost no time diving into the American political scene this election year, surrounded by well-known individuals and groups that sport long histories of Brotherhood associations. On 6 September 2014, USCMO member organizations gathered in Rosemont, Illinois for a fundraising event hosted by Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) and a dinner sponsored by the Chicago Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIGOC). As the largest Muslim charity in this country, IRUSA was incorporated in California in 1993 as a 501c3 tax exempt charity. IRUSA has a troubling history that includes providing financial assistance to the Florida branch of CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations). CAIR, of course, is well-known for its own Brotherhood and HAMAS pedigree. In 2008, CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator by the Department of Justice in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) HAMAS terror funding trial. Following a 108-count unanimous guilty verdict, the HLF was put out of business; its Muslim Brotherhood leadership was sentenced to lengthy terms in federal prison. IRUSA’s United Kingdom-based parent organization, Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), was established in 1984 and also has Muslim Brotherhood connections.

The IRUSA fundraiser was held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, a site used for a number of years to hold international conventions organized by prominent Muslim Brotherhood groups including the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). Keynote addresses were delivered that evening by Karen Koning Abuzayd, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and Sheikh Imam Jamal Said from the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, Illinois. Jamal Said is listed as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood off-shoot called the Palestine Section in the 1993 By-Laws of the Palestine Committee, parent organization of the Islamic Association for Palestine (itself the parent organization of CAIR). Said also appeared on the Department of Justice (DOJ) Attachment A list of unindicted co-conspirators in a section for Palestine Committee members as part of the evidence presented at the United States of America vs. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development HAMAS terror funding trial of 2008. His name also appears on an internal Palestine Committee telephone list obtained by the DOJ prosecutors. As shown in the screenshot below, IRUSA promoted this event as a “Fundraising Dinner for Palestine” on its website.


Participation by American Muslim Brotherhood leadership at the Islamic Relief USA fundraiser on 6 September 2014 included USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal’s Mosque Foundation and USCMO members Muslim American Society (MAS), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Islamic Circle of North America, and the Islamic Center of Wheaton. The following advertisement for this IRUSA fundraiser appeared on the website for the Chicago Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago.


The IRUSA has also been able to promote itself as the recipient of a presidential endorsement: during the National Prayer Breakfast on 2 February 2012, President Barack Obama openly praised the work of IRUSA. In the following screenshot from its website, the IRUSA posts that “During his speech at the 2012 National Prayer Breakfast, President Barak Obama cited IRUSA as one of the faith-based organizations helping bring hope to those suffering around the world.”

whitehouse-1024x580Less than 4 months before that National Prayer Breakfast, IRUSA was one of 57 organizations joined by CAIR, ICNA, and MAS (all current USCMO members) to co-sign a letter on 19 October 2011 authored by Farhana Khera, Executive Director for Muslim Advocates. Khera wrote to President Barack Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (and future Central Intelligence Agency Director) John Brennan, urging him to take action over US government training materials alleged to demonstrate a prejudice against Islam. Subsequently, in August 2014, not satisfied with the ensuing government-wide purge of all curriculum materials that taught the inspirational linkage between Islamic doctrine and Islamic terrorism, signatories of the October 2011 letter (but not including IRUSA) sent a new letter to Lisa Monaco, Brennan’s successor, urging the Obama administration to “Implement a mandatory retraining program for all federal, state and local law enforcement officials who have been subjected to biased and discriminatory trainings provided by the federal government.”

Read more 

GA Senate Candidate on Defense Over Links to ‘Islamic Relief’

michelle-nunn-HPBY RYAN MAURO:

Michelle Nunn, the Democratic Party candidate for the Senate in Georgia, is on the defensive over revelations from a leaked campaign strategy memo that her charity assisted Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA).The Israeli government reportedly banned IRUSA’s parent group,Islamic Relief Worldwide, for financing Hamas but the organization says its operations have not been shut down.

Nunn’s strategy memo was published by National Review Online, which referenced the Clarion Project’s research on IRUSA in its coverage of the document.

The memo identifies potential vulnerabilities in Nunn’s campaign, such as “service award to inmates, terrorists” by the Points of Light charity when she was its CEO. The charity was originally founded by former President George H.W. Bush in 1987.

The memo does not state which “terrorists” the charity may be criticized for working with. However, National Review reported that the charity’s IRS Form 990s from 2008 and 2011 show Points of Light awarded a grant of over $33,000 to IRUSA.

Nunn’s campaign is downplaying her former charity’s links. It claims that there was no direct funding and the relationship was limited to vetting IRUSA for EBay. Points of Light had a program named MissionFish that approved charities for EBay so they could receive donations from auctioneers.

Notably, the Nunn campaign is not defending IRUSA. The documented extremist ties of the charity cannot be credibly disputed. And the evidence existed prior to her appointment as CEO of Points of Light.

In 2006, Israel arrested the project director of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRUSA’s parent organization) for allegedly financing Hamas. The Israeli Defense Ministry says he admitted to working with Hamas operatives and entities in the Palestinian Territories and Jordan. Evidence on his laptop provided further evidence linking IRW to Hamas.

The Defense Ministry statement reads in part:

“The IRW provides support and assistance to Hamas’s infrastructure. The IRW’s activities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip are carried out by social welfare organizations controlled and staffed by Hamas operatives. The intensive activities of these associations are designed to further Hamas’s ideology among the Palestinian population.”

The Nunn campaign’s defense misses the point.

Under her helm from 2007 to 2013, Points of Light approved of a charity accused of financing Hamas. The issue of whether there was direct financing from Points of Light to IRUSA is secondary. The degree to which she was involved in approving of IRUSA is unknown, but she can be faulted for failing to set a standard that prohibited assistance to Islamist groups with links to Hamas.

Read more at Clarion Project

Also see:

Israel’s ‘FBI’ Links ‘Islamic Relief USA’ Charity to Hamas


The charity is sponsored by major US corporations including Microsoft and GE. Its 2012 revenues were over $60 million.

By Ryan Mauro:

The Israeli government has banned Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), a U.K.-based charity, for financing Hamas. Its American branch, Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), is based in Virginia and, shockingly, its current CEO, Anwar Khan, is an advisor to the State Department as was its former CEO Abed Ayoub.

President Obama has boasted of his administration’s work with IRUSA. Ayoub spoke at an event hosted by Vice President Biden in June 2012 when he was IRUSA’s CEO.

IRUSA is sponsored by Microsoft, Cisco Foundation, GE Foundation and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. Guidestar lists IRUSA’s 2012 revenue as over $60 million.

The Shin Bet, Israel’s equivalent of the FBI, provided intelligence to the Israeli government that prompted Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to sign a decree banning the charity. He described IRW as “another source of funds for Hamas.”  Its branches in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and the West Bank are reportedly run by Hamas members.

In May 2006, Israel arrested IRW’s Gaza project director, Iyaz Ali, because he funneled money to banned Hamas fronts. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says he admitted to working with Hamas entities and members in the Palestinian Authority and Jordan. He was deported back to the U.K. and banned from returning.

The authorities searched his computer and found photos of Hamas terrorist activities, Osama Bin Laden, former Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and propaganda that placed a swastika over the Israeli flag. The Israelis also found documents linking IRW to Hamas financiers in Nablus, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said:

“The IRW provides support and assistance to Hamas’s infrastructure. The IRW’s activities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip are carried out by social welfare organizations controlled and staffed by Hamas operatives. The intensive activities of these associations are designed to further Hamas’s ideology among the Palestinian population.”

IRW denied working with Hamas in a June 19 statement and pointed to its financial support from Western governments, the European Commission and the United Nations. According to NGO Monitor, IRW gets funding from the governments of the U.K., European Union, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

IRUSA’s current CEO, Anwar Khan, was originally with IRW and was one of the founders of IRUSA in 1993. According to his bio, he is an advisor to the State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group and has been appointed to the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Advisory Committee of Voluntary Foreign Aid.

Read more at Clarion Project

$200 Million U.S. Islamic Charity Linked to Muslim Brotherhood

250x306x4u4EtHF6zsEx_png_pagespeed_ic_i5omkPTRyfBy Ryan Mauro: has discovered that four officials of Islamic Relief USA, a charity that reported a whopping $182 million in revenue in 2010, have Muslim Brotherhood ties. One appears to have been arrested in Egypt in 2009 and another has even defended Hamas as “freedom fighters.” previously documented IRUSA’s Islamist ties in an expose about the Obama Administration’s embrace of the group, including having its CEO serve as a State Department and USAID adviser.

As stated in our previous article, Americans for Peace and Tolerance discovered that IRUSA president and board chairman Mohamed Amr Attawia is listed as the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood New England director in a 1991 phone directory.

He was also once the Vice President of the Muslim American Society, which federal prosecutors say “was founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.” Abdurrahman Alamoudi, an admitted secret U.S. Muslim Brotherhood member that was convicted on terrorism-related charges, said in January, “Everyone knows that MAS is the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Now, has found three more IRUSA officials with Muslim Brotherhood links, two of which have also held positions in MAS.

Read more at Radical Islam

Islamist Adviser to the State Dept and USAID Exposed

Abed Ayoub (left)

Ryan Mauro:

By Abed Ayoub, the CEO of Islamic Relief USA, a powerful charity with links to Hamas is an official advisor to the State Department and USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development), a RadicalIslam.orginvestigation has found.

Ayoub has been advising the Obama Administration since at least April 2010. He and his organization have been publicly embraced by President Obama and Vice President Biden.

Ayoub was born in a Palestinian refugee camp and raised in Jordan. After high school, he moved to Yugoslavia and Germany and ultimately ended up in California. He became a volunteer for the Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) and went on to become its CEO in 2008. He is a governance committee member of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), IRUSA’s parent group. He is also on the Board of Trustees of the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty.

Ayoub joined the State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group in November 2011, specifically the Sub-Group on Faith-Based Groups and Development and Humanitarian Assistance, according to IRUSA’s press release. It says he will “take part in dialogue and provide input on relevant topics including the challenges and opportunities for partnership. The group also will identify model action programs or projects for collaboration between the U.S. government and NGOs.” The release says it will “meet through November 2012.” The timing and phrasing suggests that this isn’t the group’s expiration date and that the election will determine whether its work continues next year.

According to his bio, Ayoub was appointed to the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid in April 2010, where he “provides advice, analysis and recommendations to USAID on the most pressing development issues in the world today.” He was reappointed to another two-year term in May.

On November 23-24, 2010, Ayoub spoke at Washington National Cathedral and the White House. In August 2011, he was given a Distinguished Community Service Award by the Department of Agriculture. President Obama mentioned his administration’s work with IRUSA at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 2, 2012. On June 21, Ayoub spoke at an event hosted by Vice President Biden (there’s a picture of the two together on this page).

That’s quite a list of accomplishments for a man whose bio states that he’s a governance committee member of IRW. In 2006, Israel arrested the IRW’s project coordinator of its Gaza office, Iyaz Ali, for funneling money to Hamas. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ press release stated that IRW operations in Gaza and the West Bank were inseparable from that of Hamas:

“The IRW’s activities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip are carried out by social welfare organizations controlled and staffed by Hamas operatives. The intensive activities of these associations are designed to further Hamas’ ideology among the Palestinian population,” it states.

The Israeli government says that Iyaz Ali admitted to knowing that the organizations supported by IRW are Hamas entities. These organizations incite acts of terrorism and provide material aid to the families of Hamas terrorists that are wounded or in Israeli custody.

Read more at Radical Islam




Hamas-Linked Fundraiser in Florida

By Ryan Mauro

On Sunday, June 16, a widely-exalted charity embraced by the U.S. government called Islamic Relief USA is hosting a “Palestine Benefit Dinner” in Orlando. A second fundraiser will be held in Fort Lauderdale the following day. The events feature the chairman of Americans for Palestine and a former official of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Islamic Relief USA says it belongs to the “family” of Islamic Relief Worldwide, a group tied to Hamas, but it has received little scrutiny.

Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) was birthed in the United Kingdom in 1984. Its creator is Hani Al-Banna, who previously served as a trustee in Muslim Aid. Joe Kaufman documents that one of Muslim Aid’s “partner organizations” was the Al-Salah Islamic Association, a group the U.S. government labeled a Hamas front. Al-Banna’s previous group was also involved with Muslim Brotherhood affiliates like Jamaat-e-Islami.

In 1999, IRW received a $50,000 donation from Human Concern International; a group the U.S. government says is linked to Al-Qaeda. IRW’s material continues to refer to HCI as a partner (page 18). The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report has more data on how top IRW officials are involved with the Muslim Brotherhood. One IRW official even used to be Sudan’s Minister of Religious Affairs.

According to the NEFA Foundation, IRW is one of the founders of a network of charities called the Union of Good that was created in 2000. It was blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2008 for its links to Hamas. The U.S. government said it was “created by Hamas leadership to transfer funds to the terrorist organization.” It is led by Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, the top Muslim Brotherhood cleric who unequivocally supports Hamas and violent jihad.

In 2006, Israel arrested the project coordinator of IRW’s office in Gaza, Iyaz Ali for funneling money to Hamas. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs made it clear that Ali was not acting as a rogue employee. “The IRW’s activities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip are carried out by social welfare organizations controlled and staffed by Hamas operatives. The intensive activities of these associations are designed to further Hamas’s ideology among the Palestinian population,” it said.

Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) was incorporated in California in 1993. Kaufman reports that its Registered Agent is the former attorney for Wagdy Ghoneim, an extremist involved with Hamas fundraising. IRUSA’s website says it and IRW are “legally separate and independent affiliates (also referred to as ‘partner offices’), but its Facebook page says that it is “a member of the Islamic Relief Worldwide family.” If you go to IRUSA’s website and click on “Affiliates” under the “About Us” tab, you are informed about IRW.

IRUSA gives millions of dollars to IRW. As the Money Jihad blog shows, it gave $4.8 million in 2007, $5.9 million in 2008 and $9.4 million in 2009. There is every reason to believe that a large amount of the funds raised on June 16-17 will go to IRW. After all, IRUSA’s consolidated financial report from December 31, 2010 states, “The majority of IRUSA’s programs are administered through grants with Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), which is based in the United Kingdom.” On page 12, it says, “During 2010, IRUSA incurred $21,849,599 in grant expenses in collaboration with IRW.”

A 2009 report by Americans for Peace and Tolerance states, “Islamic Relief USA has partnered in funding foreign projects with the Holy Land Foundation and Kind Hearts, both designated terrorist entities.” The IRUSA website lists Mohammed Amr Attawia as its chairman of the Board of Director and is also on IRW’s Board of Trustees.  The same report points out that he was also Vice President of the Muslim American Society, a Muslim Brotherhood front and that “Holy Land Foundation trial exhibits identify Attawia as the American Muslim Brotherhood’s director for the New England region in the 1990s.”

A high-level Justice Department source mentioned Islamic Relief in a conversation with counter-terrorism reporter Patrick Poole in April 2011 about U.S.-based Hamas fronts. He said, “Ten years ago we shut down the Holy Land Foundation…Then the money started going to KindHearts. We shut them down too. Now the money is going through groups like Islamic Relief and Viva Palestina.”

The National Geospatial Agency is being sued for cancelling the security clearance of Mahmoud M. Hegab, who says the agency declined it because his wife works for IRUSA. The agency was concerned about her “current affiliation with one or more organizations which consist of groups who are organized largely around their non-United States origin.”

These facts have not stopped the U.S. government from working with IRUSA under both parties. The current administration has been particularly friendly to the charity. In April 2010, its CEO, Abed Ayoub, was appointed to the U.S. Agency for International Development Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid. He then was appointed to the State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group in November 2011.

Read more at Front Page