International Islamic Relief Organization
|Type||International Charitable Organization|
|Ehsan Saleh Taieb|
|Muslim World League|
|Affiliations||ECOSOC, IOM, ICVA, UNRWA, IICDR, OIC – See |
|This article's factual accuracy is disputed. (November 2014)|
The International Islamic Relief Organization, (Arabic: هيئة الإغاثة الإسلامية العالمية, also known as the International Islamic Relief Organization of Saudi Arabia, IIRO and IIROSA), is a charity based in Saudi Arabia founded by the Muslim World League in 1978. It is a full member of The Conference of NGOs, where it serves on the board. The IIRO is included in a list of some of the UNHCR's major NGO partners and has been involved in many joint programmes with UN Agencies and intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations. It has enjoyed consultative status on the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 1995. It was the first Islamic NGO to gain observer status with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). It is also a member of the International Humanitarian City based in Dubai, UAE.
(IIRO is not to be confused with Islamic Relief – UK (IR-UK), an English NGO with offices in about 15 different countries.)
It is a member of the International Islamic Council for Da'wah and Relief (IICDR), has observer status at Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation, consultative status at United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and links to Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) among many others.
IIRO maintains an up-to-date website in both Arabic and English.
In 2003 and 2004, approximately US$36 million was spent on 2258 projects involving 4,586,085 recipients in 81 countries. IIROSA's seven main programs received:
- Social Welfare: US$13 million.
- Engineering Department: About US$7 million.
- Society Development and Seasonal Projects: About US$6 million.
- Emergency Relief: About US$4 million.
- Health Care: US$2 million.
- Educational Care: US$2 million.
- Qur’an Memorization: US$1 million.
IIRO worked in shared projects with the World Health Organization, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the World Food Program.
In 2012/2013 approximately SAR 127 million riyals was spent on 1,294 projects which benefited 7,056,349 individuals in 58 countries. IIROSA's seven main programs received:
- Emergency Relief Program: SAR 54.5 million riyals.
- Community Development & Seasonal Projects Program: SAR 25 million riyals.
- Educational Welfare Program: SAR 12.4 million riyals.
- Social Welfare Program: SAR 11.8 million riyals
- Engineering Department: SAR 9.9 million riyals.
- Health Care Program: SAR 7.8 million riyals.
- Holy Qur’an and Da’wa Program: SAR 4 million riyals.
IIRO activities during this period were based in 58 countries, as follows:
Countries of activities
Middle Eastern and Asian Countries: Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Jordan, Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Philippines, China, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. African Countries: Uganda, Chad, Tanzania, Comoros, South Africa, Lesotho, South Sudan, Mozambique, Niger, Benin, Djibouti, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Cameroon, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Togo, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Egypt, Mauritania and Nigeria. European Countries: Germany, Switzerland, Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosova and Macedonia. South American Countries: Brazil.
In the wake of the 9/11 destruction of the World Trade Centre twin towers, it was alleged that one of Osama bin-Laden's brothers-in-law (who was subsequently murdered in Madagascar in 2007) had utilised the IIRO Philippines and Indonesian Branches to work with terrorist organizations world wide  – although no-one has ever been prosecuted in any court of law anywhere in the world for these alleged crimes and the Philippines and Indonesian governments have never requested IIRO to close its branches in their countries.
On August 3, 2006, the U.S. Treasury Department designated the Philippine and Indonesian branch offices of IIRO as terrorist entities.
IIRO strongly disputed these allegations and designations and applied through the appropriate legal channels to have them delisted.
At the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Steven Emerson, identified IIRO as a major radical Islamic institution, in part, "responsible for fueling Islamic militancy around the world", and, Rohan Gunaratna, Institute for Defense and Strategic Studies, Singapore, stated, "... Mohammed Jamal Khalifa is the brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden. He arrived in the Philippines in 1988 and he became the founding director of the International Islamic Relief Organization of Saudi Arabia. He used the IIRO to funnel al Qaeda funds to the Abu Sayyaf group and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front."
As well as being designated by the US Treasury in 2006, the Philippines and Indonesian branches of IIRO were also included in the UN list  maintained by United Nations Security Council Committee 1267.
Responses from IIRO
IIRO has always denied that it, or any of its branch offices, has ever supported in any manner, and whether directly or indirectly, Al Qaida or any terrorist group.
The accuracy, reliability and veracity of the allegations particularly the role of Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, has always been strongly diputed by IIRO, especially since IIRO was in fact founded in Saudi Arabia in 1978, 10 years before Mohammed Jamal Khalifa is alleged to have been one of its founding directors in the Philippines. In addition, IIRO had closed its Philippines branch in 2004, more than two years before it was designated. Although Mohammed Jamal Khalifa was an employee of IIRO between 1991 and 1993, he was never a director of IIRO. More than 10 years after he ceased to be employed by IIRO, Mohammed Jamal Khalifa was dismissed from the 9/11 lawsuits by the US district court. He was murdered in Madagascar in 2007.
It has also been alleged that Abd al Hamid Sulaiman Muhammed al-Mujil, who was the regional manager of the eastern office of IIRO in Saudi Arabia between 1986 and 2006 was involved in financing terrorism via both the Philippines and the Indonesian branches of IIRO. The accuracy, reliability and veracity of this accusations has always been strongly denied both by IIRO and by Abd al Hamid Sulaiman Muhammed al-Mujil – who after presenting a petition to the UN Ombudsperson was removed from the UN Security Council Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee's Sanctions List on the 1 July 2013, more than 6 years after he had ceased to be employed by IIRO.
IIRO has always maintained that it has always been solely concerned with providing humanitarian aid wherever it is most needed irrespective of ethnic background, nationality, social status or belief.
De-listing from suspected terror list
On January 6, 2014, the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) concerning Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities removed the offices in Indonesia and the Philippines from this Al-Qaida Sanctions List after concluding its consideration of the delisting requests for these names submitted through the Office of the UN Ombudsperson established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1904 (2009), and after considering the Comprehensive Reports of the Ombudsperson on these delisting requests.
None of the member states represented on the Committee appears to have objected to the de-listing.
As a result of the UN delisting, the EU and UK also delisted the Indonesia and Philippines Branch Offices of IIRO.
The European Commission Implementing Regulation dated the 11m January 2014 confirmed the deletion of IIRO Philippines and Indonesia Branches from the Regulation imposing sanctions upon certain persons and entities connected with Al-Qaida.
In 2009, IIRO petitioned the Security Council for removal of these two branches from the list in January 2010, and as a result on January 6, 2014, the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) concerning Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities removed the offices in Indonesia and the Philippines from this Al-Qaida Sanctions List after concluding its consideration of the delisting requests for these names submitted through the Office of the Ombudsperson established pursuant to Security Council resolution 1904 (2009), and after considering the Comprehensive Reports of the Ombudsperson on these delisting requests.
As a result of the UN delisting, the EU also delisted the Indonesia and Philippines Branch Offices of IIRO.
The HM Treasury Financial Sanctions Notice dated 14 January 2014 confirmed the deletion of IIRO Philippines and Indonesia branches from its consolidated list of persons and entities having a connection with Al-Qaida.
In 2014, the and the International Islamic Relief Organization – Saudi Arabia (IIROSA) signed a memorandum of understanding with United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to establish a mutual cooperation framework to provide assistance to Palestine refugees. Remarking on the occasion Peter Ford, Representative of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, said: “We are very pleased to be renewing and intensifying our cooperation with IIROSA, which has a high reputation for professionalism as well as humanitarian concern. We have worked together in the past and will be delighted to breathe new life into our cooperation for the benefit of Palestine refugees who continue to suffer, especially the 2 million living under occupation and the almost half million suffering from the fallout of the Syrian conflict.”
- 23rd CONGO General Assembly. December 5–7, 2007, Geneva. retrieved December 30, 2007
- "Members Directory". International Humanitarian City. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- University of Copenhagen Islamic NGOs in Africa: The Promise and Peril of Islamic Voluntarism retrieved December 30, 2007
- IIROSA Annual Report for the Fiscal Year 2003/2004 retrieved December 30, 2007
- IIRO Assists Earthquake Victims In Pakistan. The Saudi Arabia Information Resource, October 24, 2005.
- United Nations List of proscribed individuals and entities retrieved January 21, 2010.
- National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Public Hearing, Wednesday, July 9, 2003 retrieved December 30, 2007.
- "IIRO wants UN to remove it from terror list." (January 9, 2010) Arab News
- "A Deeper Partnership between UNRWA and IIROSA". The United Nations Relief and Works (UNRWA). Retrieved 26 January 2015.