U.K. Charity to Investigate Israeli Claim That It Funds Hamas

Islamic Relief Worldwide, barred from operating in the West Bank, says it will investigate to ensure that its procedures are proper.

Muslims praying in Jenin AP Aug. 29, 2010
Palestinian Muslims read from the Koran during Ramadan at a mosque in Jenin in August 2010. AP

A U.K. charity and humanitarian-aid organization that Israel has barred said on Tuesday that it would investigate Israeli claims that it funds Hamas, a media report said.

In June, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon signed an order barring Islamic Relief Worldwide from the West Bank. The Jerusalem Post reported at the time that the ban was based on information provided by the country's internal-security agency, the Shin Bet, and legal authorities.

"The IRW is one of the sources of Hamas's funding and a means for raising funds from various countries in the world," the minister's statement in June said. "We do not intend to allow it to function and abet terrorist activity against Israel."

The charity rejected Israel's allegations in June. The organization had said then that it was "surprised and extremely concerned" by Ya'alon's decision. And the U.K. Jewish Chronicle Online reported that the group reiterated the rejection this week.

But the paper said on Tuesday that a spokesman for the group told the website that as "a responsible organization, we are looking into this matter thoroughly to ensure that our processes for aid delivery have been followed."

Islamic Relief Worldwide, based in Birmingham, U.K., says it is inspired by Islam and fights poverty in 40 countries.