Islamic Relief Canada: ”We Categorically Reject Any Allegation of Links to Terrorism”

Islamic Relief Worldwide
Al-Khairiya and IRW activists hand out IRW food baskets March 29, 2018 Source, facebook screenshot

During the last week, several reports have surfaced about Islamic Relief Worldwide, Islamic Relief USA and Islamic Relief Canada.

The Center for Near East Policy Research (CNEPR) presented reports that allegedly suggest that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Islamic Relief Worldwide, Turkey’s IHH and Mercy Malaysia worked in coordination with the Charitable Association For Palestinian Relief – CAPR, affiliated with the Palestinian terrorist group the Islamic Jihad.

According to reports published by the American Center for Democracy (ACD):

 

  • “Mohamad [Fakih, founder of Paramount Fine Foods and Fakih Foundation] regularly participates in fundraisers and community events, supporting multiple causes and organizations including… Islamic Relief Worldwide.”
  • Mohamad Fakih partnered with Islamic Relief Canada in fundraising campaigns.
  • Senior officials of the Charitable Association For Palestinian Relief (CAPR) and Islamic Relief Worldwide discussed in 2012 ways to strengthen the cooperation between the two organizations.
  • Islamic Relief Worldwide and Islamic Relief USA funded/supported humanitarian projects carried out by the Charitable Association For Palestinian Relief (CAPR).
  • Mahmood Qasim, head of fundraising at Islamic Relief Canada, agrees with Boona Mohammed’s message (which sounds Islamist-like in nature) on Canadian values and his disparaging statements regarding former prime minister Stephen Harper (“go back to where you come from”, “Leave this country, because you do not represent Canada”).
  • Mahmood Qasim, the head of fundraising at Islamic Relief Canada, served as the former Chief Executive of the AlKauthar Institute from November 2014 to December 2015. Calgary Imam Syed Soharwardy, the head of the Calgary-based Islamic Supreme Council of Canada and the founder of Muslims Against Terrorism, claimed in February 2015 that AlMaghrib Institute and AlKauthar Institute “are the ones who brainwash these young kids in lectures” and allegedly push them towards Islamic radicalism (Islamism/ terrorism).
  • Islamic Relief Worldwide assists Islamic Relief Canada “by facilitating the coordination, implementation and monitoring of overseas programs to ensure that goods and projects funded by Islamic Relief donors are used directly to benefit the people in need.” In 2013-2015 Islamic Relief Canada allocated moneys in program prepayments with Islamic Relief Worldwide.

On January 10, 2019 at 9:52 am, Pegida Canada sent to Islamic Relief Canada and Islamic Relief Worldwide a media inquiry that included CNEPR’s press release and the following questions:

  • Do Islamic Relief Worldwide and Islamic Relief Canada work in cooperation with the Charitable Association For Palestinian Relief – CAPR?
  • Are Islamic Relief Worldwide and Islamic Relief Canada aware of the reports that suggest that the Charitable Association For Palestinian Relief is a front organization of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad that was designated as a unlawful/ terrorist group by Canada?
  • Does Islamic Relief Canada transfer any moneys to Islamic Relief Worldwide?

We also phoned the office in Burlington, Ontario, advising them of the incoming email, so they would be aware. The receptionist assured us that she would pass the email on to the appropriate parties. We requested that they respond to this email by 12 pm January 10, 2019. We asked them to let us know if they needed more time to respond. We let them know we would be writing an article on the CNEPR’s press release.

We did not receive a reply to that email.

The following day, January 11, 2019, we became aware of two articles published by ACD which covered this press release. This prompted us to once again ask for clarification about the original press release, asking the same questions we had in the previous email. We included the two articles in question. We reminded them of the previous email, asking them once again to let us know if they needed more time. We advised them once again that we would be writing an article on this matter. This email was sent out on January 11, 2019 at 3:55 pm, and we requested that they answer by January 12, 2019, 12:00 pm.

Once again, we received no reply. We also received no response from Islamic Relief Worldwide.

On Sunday, January 13, 2019, we became aware of another article, dealing with the same subject matter, and we became more concerned. We sent another email January 14, 2019 at 8:08 am, with additional questions relating to the new information, and reminding them of the previous emails, and asked them to respond by 12:00 pm January 14, 2019. Once again, we let them know an article would be published. Following are the additional questions:

  • CAPR has acknowledged that Islamic Jihad has funded some of its projects. IRW has working in cooperation with CAPR. Would you like to comment on that?
  • IRC’s executive director Mahmood Qasim encouraged the disparagement of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a facebook post of a video by Boonaa Mohammed. Do you have any comments on that?

Islamic Relief Canada responded (and CCd to Islamic Relief Worldwide) to Pegida Canada’s email  and provided a brief statement on January 14, 2019 at 11:22 am. Following is the statement given by Islamic Relief Canada:

“Islamic Relief Canada is one of the world’s leading development charities working to end poverty and suffering in over thirty countries around the world. We abhor terrorism in all its forms, and we categorically reject any allegation of links to terrorism and any such accusations that have been made. We are a registered charity in Canada and are governed by all rules and regulations under the Canada Revenue Agency.”

Islamic Relief Canada answered questions that were never asked. Pegida Canada did not ask Islamic Relief Canada in a general manner about its position regarding terrorism or “links to terrorism”, but rather focused on very specific issues.

 

Pegida Canada’s Questions Islamic Relief Canada’s response
Do Islamic Relief Worldwide and Islamic Relief Canada work in cooperation with the Charitable Association For Palestinian Relief – CAPR? No direct response (“We abhor terrorism in all its forms, and we categorically reject any allegation of links to terrorism and any such accusations that have been made”)
Are Islamic Relief Worldwide and Islamic Relief Canada aware of the reports that suggest that the Charitable Association For Palestinian Relief is a front organization of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad that was designated as a unlawful/ terrorist group by Canada? No direct response (“We abhor terrorism in all its forms, and we categorically reject any allegation of links to terrorism and any such accusations that have been made”)
Does Islamic Relief Canada transfer any moneys to Islamic Relief Worldwide? No response
CAPR has acknowledged that Islamic Jihad has funded some of it’s projects. IRW has working in cooperation with CAPR. Would you like to comment on that? No response
IRC’s executive director Mahmood Qasim encouraged the disparagement of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a facebook post of a video by Boonaa Mohammed. Do you have any comments on that? No response
Does Mahmood Qasim agree with the allegations made by Soharwardy in relation to Alkauthar Institute during Qasim’s tenure as Chief Executive of the organization? No response

Syed Soharwardy’s testimony in Parliament begs another question. Does Mahmood Qasim agree with the allegations made by Soharwardy in relation to Alkauthar Institute during Qasim’s tenure as Chief Executive of the organization?

Islamic Relief’s cover photo for their facebook page states ‘We are coming clean’. We take that to mean that they will be transparent in all their dealings.

Pegida Canada notified IRC and IRW via email once again this morning January 15, sending them a draft of this article to make sure we had all the information correct. They have not responded. A copy of the published article will be sent, with an invitation for further comment if they choose to do so.

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