Islamic Relief is a charity, not a terrorist group. We're going to court to prove it | Naser Haghamed

As leader government of Islamic Reduction, it’s my privilege to preside over one of the vital UK’s main world assist charities, broadly revered for working successfully in one of the crucial international’s maximum tough and perilous puts. For the Ministry of Protection in Israel, on the other hand, Islamic Reduction is a supporter of terrorism – a price that we categorically refute and shall be interesting towards in Israel’s perfect courtroom subsequent month.

The Israeli government designated us as a terrorist organisation as way back as 2014, claiming that we had been a entrance for Hamas. It has taken six lengthy years for us to pursue a criminal problem to this designation. Our case will in the end be heard on 12 October.

Opposite to the allegations towards us, Islamic Reduction is a purely humanitarian organisation that delivers assist in strict compliance with humanitarian and world criminal ideas. Closing 12 months we assisted greater than nine.five million folks of all faiths and none throughout 5 continents, operating with a lot of western governments and UN our bodies who worth our talent to perform in hard-to-reach spaces.

In Yemen, which is struggling what the UN calls the sector’s worst humanitarian disaster, I noticed for myself on a discuss with remaining 12 months how we’re feeding 2.2 million folks every month as the principle spouse of the UN International Meals Programme.

The truth is that Islamic Reduction is in reality a sufferer of terrorism, now not a supporter of it. We’ve got misplaced 8 courageous workforce to bombs and bullets in six international locations, together with Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan.

Our criminal motion in Israel has been pricey and time eating, however the courts had been the one position left to protect our just right identify and get up for the communities we serve within the West Financial institution and Gaza. All efforts at discussion with the Israeli government in London and Tel Aviv, making an attempt to grasp and cope with any issues, had fallen on deaf ears.

Earlier than the designation we had been offering assist to greater than 70,000 folks within the West Financial institution, the place poverty may also be life-threatening and a couple of.five million folks depend on out of doors assist. We are actually avoided from working there. We’re fortunately proceeding our intensive paintings in Gaza, which isn’t suffering from Israel’s ban. Our £10m programme there helps numerous training, well being, refuge and employment initiatives reaping benefits just about 400,000 folks.

Islamic Reduction isn’t the one assist organisation grappling with Israeli govt restrictions. As way back as 2011, analysis through the Affiliation of World Building Companies (AIDA) – which represents greater than 80 world organisations operating within the occupied territories – discovered that get admission to and motion restrictions had been combining to “deny essentially the most prone populations from wanted help” and contributing to the “rising impoverishment” of Palestinian communities.

The main Israeli human rights legal professionals representing us are rightly difficult the statement that we’re a terrorist organisation. What is said, as we see it, isn’t that we materially make stronger Hamas however quite that our humanitarian paintings makes Hamas glance just right within the eyes of the native inhabitants, and that that is tantamount to supporting terrorism.

I’m a humanitarian, now not a attorney, however for me that is an affront to the integrity of all the humanitarian assist group, successfully branding each assist organisation aiding the folks of Gaza as a terrorist entity.

Our legal professionals also are difficult the allegation that we’re wilfully supporting the households of deceased Hamas opponents via our orphans programme. In fact this programme operates exactly because it does in another nation we paintings in, and as different assist organisations perform such programmes in Gaza and in other places. The number of beneficiaries is made up our minds only through wishes exams performed through professional workforce to spot the ones maximum in want.

At some point of our criminal lawsuits, now we have made a number of proposals to the Israeli Ministry of Protection to handle their issues. We’ve got introduced to not use finances within the West Financial institution or Gaza which have been donated to Islamic Reduction through organisations regarded as “illegal associations” through Israel. We’ve got introduced to show each mission to further exterior scrutiny, and to put up our annual paintings plan for Gaza to the Israeli government. Sadly, now we have now not been in a position to achieve any settlement.

Any other allegation we strongly refute is that Islamic Reduction has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. We haven’t any political affiliations of any sort. I attend each board assembly, each senior control staff assembly, and I will be able to individually vouch that no exterior organisation influences or controls Islamic Reduction. More than one sign-off in our monetary methods protects towards anyone with an time table spiriting cash away.

Prior to now decade greater than 500 audits of our programmes had been performed, in lots of instances mandated through governments and different institutional donors. No longer one has discovered a shred of proof of hyperlinks to extremism or terrorism, and that comes with greater than 20 audits within the West Financial institution and Gaza. Our main donors would now not make stronger us if allegations of terrorism hyperlinks had been remotely credible.

We’ve got just lately demonstrated, in all of a sudden and decisively doing away with two trustees accountable for offensive social media posts, that we will be able to now not hesitate to do the appropriate factor if or when reputable issues are raised.

Regardless of the courtroom makes a decision about our operations within the West Financial institution, we can not and may not be deflected from our lifesaving and life-changing humanitarian undertaking in Gaza and all over the world.

• Naser Haghamed is leader government of Islamic Reduction International

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