On 21st June, British charity Syria Relief held its annual dinner. Although Syria Relief, which has staff in both the UK and Turkey, claims to “provide humanitarian help, in any shape or form, wherever it is needed”, the charity provides platforms to extremist preachers and has links with extremist groups.
Syria Relief was established in September 2011. The charity is closely aligned with the British Muslim Heritage Centre (BMHC), with which it shares trustees. In June 2012, the charity set up an office at the premises of the BMHC. Speakers at the BHMC in recent years have included Adel Rahman al-Sudais, Shabir Ally and Abdullah Hakim Quick. Sudais has prayed for God to “terminate” the Jews (whom he describes as “monkeys and pigs” and “scum of the humanity”), and was banned from entering Canada. Ally, who believes that homosexuality is “sinful”, has said that those who practise “such acts” will be “destroyed”. Quick also advocates the death penalty for homosexuals, and has been recorded calling upon God to “purify Masjid al-Aqsa from the filth of the Yahud [Jews]”.
Charity officials and speakers at Syria Relief’s annual dinner included:
Moin Shubib – the CEO of Syria Relief, described as fugitive Hamas commander who allegedly admitted in a 1994 interview with the FBI to supporting Hamas both financially and politically. Shubib is reported to have told an audience in Philadelphia that “we don’t want children of our [Muslim] community … one day surrendering to the issue of peace with the Jews”. Shubib is also a BMHC trustee.
Rizwan Hussain – a presenter on the Islam Channel, which, in 2010, was censured by Ofcom for allowing its presenters to encourage violence against women and advocate marital rape. The channel has also broadcast advertisements for a DVD collection of sermons by Anwar al-Awlaki, an extremist cleric with links to al-Qaeda.
Muhammad Afzal Khan – an MEP and former Lord Mayor of Manchester. Afzal Khan was also a representative of the UK Islamic Mission (UKIM), an extremist group tied to Jamaat-e-Islami. In 2002, Afzal Khan spoke at a large rally organised by extremist Islamist groups as a representative of UKIM. During the rally, Afzal Khan claimed Israel is “committing genocide against the Palestinian people…Let there be no war against Saddam. Let there be freedom for Palestine.” Afzal Khan was also a founding trustee of Human Appeal International (profiled below).
In December 2013, Syria Relief organised an event with guest speakers Siraj Wahhaj and Zahir Mahmood. Siraj Wahhaj is an American Islamist preacher with a long history of support for extreme Islamist movements and terror groups. In 1995, Wahaj served as a character witness for terrorist Omar Abdel Rahman. Moreover, the US attorney for New York named Wahaj as among the “unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators” for the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing. Zahir Mahmood, meanwhile, is one of Britain’s leading hate preachers who claims that, “Hamas are not terrorists; they’re freedom fighters, they’re defending their country”. Mahmood also urges Muslims to refrain from integrating into Western society, and has condemned those who “give preference to [their] nationality over [their] Islamic identity”.
Syria Relief reported an income of £2.5 million in 2013, according to accounts filed with the Charity Commission. 34% of this income was the product of “partnerships” with other charities of concern, including:
Human Appeal International – a British charity which is a leading member body of the Union of Good, a coalition of charities allegedly established to manage the financial support requires by the terror group Hamas for its terrorist and political activities. Human Appeal was named in a leaked 1996 CIA report which claimed the charity’s branches were among a number of Islamic charities used as conduits for funds to terrorist organisations. The FBI, in 2003, also claimed there was a “close relationship between Human Appeal International and Hamas”.
Ummah Welfare Trust – another British charity which previously worked with the Al-Salah Islamic Association, described by the US Treasury Department as “one of the largest and best-funded Hamas charitable organisations in the Palestinian territories,” and which senior Hamas officials have confirmed is “identified with us.” The UWT’s financial accounts were closed by Barclays Bank in 2008. The Ummah Welfare Trust has recently run events with extremist preachers such as: Riyadh Ul Haq, who supports armed jihad and preaches contempt for Jews, Christians and Hindus; Ismail Menk, a Zimbabwean Islamist preacher who describes homosexuals as “filthy” and worse than “dogs and pigs”; and Suliman Gani, an extremist preacher who has voiced support for convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, described by FBI Director Robert S. Mueller as “an al-Qaeda operative and facilitator.”
Muslim Aid – a leading British Muslim charity, which was established by activists from Jamaat-e-Islami, including Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, the British Muslim community leader recently convicted for his role in the killing of teachers and intellectuals during the 1971 Liberation War in Bangladesh. Muslim Aid is also believed to be a leading member of the Union of Good. In 2010, The Telegraph reported that Muslim Aid admitted to funding two Palestinian charities that belonged to the terror groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, including £13,998 to the al-Ihsan Charitable Society, designated by the US government as a “sponsor of terrorism”.
PIMA Palestine – a British medical charity that works “to support the Palestinian people by providing a health service that is able to serve the civilian population”. Critics argue that such work serves to build Hamas’ da’wah efforts – the social infrastructure and welfare services that fortify Hamas rule. PIMA’s former Executive Manager, Dr Wael Aldaya, was also a senior lecturer at the Islamic University of Gaza, a key institution of the Hamas government. During 2008, rockets and explosives were produced at the University for use by Hamas. One of the most senior Hamas leaders, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, founded the University in 1978, and sixteen of the University’s lecturers and teachers are elected Hamas members of the Palestinian legislature. PIMA’s accountants, Sayam and Co., are a London-based accountancy firm based at an address used by a number of Hamas front organisations.