German media is reporting the German federal government has stated that branches of the international charitable franchise Islamic Relief are closely connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, an international Islamist movement whose offshoots include the designated terrorist organization Hamas.
Responding to inquiries from parliamentarians from Germany's centrist Free Democratic Party, the government specifically named Islamic Relief Deutschland (Islamic Relief Germany) and the franchise's U.K. parent organization, Islamic Relief Worldwide, and declared that both had "significant ties" to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Between 2011 and 2015, Islamic Relief Germany received around 6.13 million euros (almost $7 million) from German taxpayers. As our 2018 report into Islamic Relief uncovered, Islamic Relief has in total received over $80 million from Western governments over the last decade, including at least $700,000 from the U.S. government. These figures are particularly alarming given our discovery that the Islamic Relief franchise has financed front groups for the designated terrorist organization Hamas, maintained close links with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and employed staff all around the world who promote extremist, anti-Semitic and pro-terror rhetoric (including in the United States).
While this is the first time Germany's federal government has acknowledged it is funding an Islamist charitable franchise, other state legislators have previously made similar statements. In November 2016, Christian Gaebler, a secretary of state in the Berlin Senate, declared: "Islamic Relief Germany has connections to organizations surrounding the Muslim Brotherhood."
Gaebler also noted that Islamic Relief shared staff and officials with Islamische Gemeinschaft in Deutschland (IGD), which is described by the German security services as "the central organization for Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Germany." Islamic Relief Germany's officials include Almoutaz Tayara, who is also the spokesperson for IGD. Tayara also served as a trustee of Islamic Relief Worldwide.
Another key Islamic Relief Germany official is Ibrahim El-Zayat, whom German security services official Hartwig Möller has described as a "spider in the web of Islamist organizations." Although Zayat denies belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Brotherhood's own website has named him as one of its officials (although this was later claimed to be a mistake). In 2008, an Egyptian court convicted Zayat in absentia of financing the Egyptian branch of the Brotherhood while serving as a senior official of Islamic Relief. Zayat is married to Sabiha Erbakan, the niece of notorious anti-Jewish ideologue (and "father of Turkish Islamism") Necmettin Erbakan, who founded the Turkish Islamist movement Millî Görüş.
An investigation by Al-Ahram, a prominent Egyptian newspaper, concluded that "Brotherhood leaders in the UK control 13 organizations in London alone through three Egyptian leaders, Essam Al-Haddad, Ibrahim Mounir and Ibrahim Al-Zayat."
[Read our full 2018 report on the Islamic Relief franchise here]