FSWC Calls on Canada to Monitor Beirut Relief Funds Distributed to Group with Alleged Hamas Ties

August 10, 2020

Statement

Toronto (August 10, 2020) - Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is calling on the Canadian government to monitor the expenditure of public money allocated to Islamic Relief, which is part of a "Humanitarian Coalition" of charities to assist with Beirut disaster relief, due to its alleged ties to the terror group Hamas and history of antisemitism.

According to Global Affairs Canada, the government is matching every dollar donated to the coalition of charities through its Lebanon Matching Fund, which will provide up to $2 million “to the Humanitarian Coalition, which will in turn allocate the funds among its members based on criteria such as their capacity and presence in the affected region."

In a letter sent to Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne and Minister of International Development Karina Gould, FSWC's Director of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, wrote, "For a number of years, Islamic Relief has faced allegations from Germany, Israel, UAE – as well as other countries and major global institutions - that the organization has ties to extremist and/or terrorist groups including Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood. There also exists extensive evidence of extremism and antisemitism on the part of Islamic Relief global leadership, highlighted most recently by comments made by Islamic Relief Worldwide Director Heshmat Khalifa, who referred to Jews in a Facebook post as the 'grandchildren of monkeys and pigs.'"

"We mourn the tragic disaster that took place in Beirut last week and the dozens of innocent lives lost, and we are very proud of the ongoing efforts in Canada to support humanitarian relief measures. However, it is extremely important for the government to monitor any funds allocated to Islamic Relief to ensure they are only used to provide aid for the people of Lebanon and do not end up in the wrong hands," said Rabbi Meyer May, Executive Director of Simon Wiesenthal Center.

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