Islamic Relief, which is close to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, appears to be receiving new funding from the EU.
Islamic Relief Germany, which is registered as an association, writes on its website that it acts regardless of political beliefs, national or ethnic origin, gender and religion and without expectation of anything in return and that it firmly rejects any form of hatred, discrimination, racism and anti-Semitism. The German government’s assessment has been different for many years: Islamic Relief has “significant personal connections to the Muslim Brotherhood” worldwide and also in Germany, the government announced in parliament in 2020. The Muslim Brotherhood strives for an Islamic theocracy based on Sharia law. It claims absolute truth, the political system it aims for shows clear features of totalitarian rule.
The government in Berlin had already announced in 2017 that Islamic Relief Germany was the main sponsor of the annual meeting of the “most important and central organization of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany” in 2015 and sponsored other events from this spectrum. At the end of November of this year, parliament questioned the amount of federal funding the association has received since 2022: “Islamic Relief Germany has not received any federal funds.” However, federal funds have definitely flowed indirectly to the controversial association.
Through the European Union’s “Erasmus+” educational program, the European Commission is funding an ongoing project by Islamic Relief Germany on the subject of telephone counseling with 58,640 euros. “Erasmus+” is the EU’s largest program for the promotion of education, youth and sport in Europe. It is financed from the EU budget. Germany contributes the highest national contribution to the EU budget of all member states and is the EU’s largest net contributor. The project runs through the Federal Institute for Vocational Training, an institution under public law that is financed from federal budget resources and is subject to the legal supervision of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The project is intended to benefit the work of the Muslim counseling hotline Mutes, which is solely run by Islamic Relief. In collaboration with Protestant and Catholic institutions, their helplines should also be strengthened.
The managing director of Mutes is a founding member of the Berlin association Inssan and sat on the board there from 2007 to 2012. In the Berlin Office for the Protection of the Constitution for 2008, Inssan is also linked to supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in the “Legalistic Islamists” section. For example, Islamic Relief, including its German branch, was classified as terrorist and banned by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel. The organization is “part of Hamas’s global financing apparatus,” said an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokeswoman. “Islamic Relief Worldwide transferred millions of dollars to Hamas, which is directly responsible for the murder of Israelis, and helped Hamas build its infrastructure and build its power,” the spokeswoman said at the time.
Islamic Relief Germany rejects the allegations. “We reject any form of radicalism, extremism and violence, because our organization is based on Islam and charity towards our fellow human beings in need,” the organization says. “We clearly stand by the free-democratic basic order.” In September 2020, the then managing director of Islamic Relief Worldwide wrote in the British “Guardian” that the organization firmly rejects connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. “We have no political affiliation whatsoever.”
The chairwoman of the budget control committee in the EU Parliament, Monika Hohlmeier (CSU): “Under the guise of inclusion and anti-discrimination, the worst enemies of democracy are being promoted here. This has to stop immediately.” The EU Commission must finally “introduce a digital comparison with dangerous organizations,” said Hohlmeier. “We will again sharply criticize this case in the budget discharge and call on the Commission to finally take appropriate measures.” A spokeswoman for the EU Commission said that under the current financial regulations it was legally obliged to “ensure that beneficiaries, that use EU funds do not directly or indirectly support terrorism.” The Commission attaches “greatest importance” to this. “After we were made aware of the problem, we asked the National Agency for Education for Europe at the Federal Institute for Vocational Training to investigate the allegations,” the spokeswoman continued.
A spokeswoman for the Institute for Vocational Training in Germany said that the National Agency for Education for Europe there would “follow up on the leads.” However, the allegations against Islamic Relief Germany are not new and can be found through a simple internet search, for example in the association’s Wikipedia article. The EU Commission was confronted with the allegations in 2021. At that time it became public that the EU Commission had certified Islamic Relief Germany as a “humanitarian partner for the period from 2021 to 2027”.
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