Two English language Arab news outlets reported this week that the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has partnered with the Saudi-based International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO).
According to the Arab News:
The development of children and their rights will get much more importance than before with the International Islamic Relief Organization-Saudi Arabia (IIROSA) joining hands with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
This follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two organizations at the IIROSA headquarters here yesterday. IIROSA Secretary-General Dr. Adnan Khalil Basha and UNICEF's Gulf Area Representative Dr. Ayman Abu Laban signed the deal.
And according to Al Bawaba:
"The partnership with IIROSA is in-line with UNICEF's policy that encourages the exchange of expertise and experiences regionally and internationally; and to collaborate and join forces as part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS). It's also one of UNICEF's strategic goals to provide what is in the best interest of children", said Dr. Abu Laban. "Building partnerships with leading organizations like the International Relief organization is the result of our trust in their continuous and effective efforts to protect and secure a better future for children" he added.
While both articles are celebrating this partnership, both fail to mention that IIRO has been designated as a terrorist group. On August 3, 2006, the U.S. Treasury Department designated both two branches of IIRO in the Philippines and Indonesia as terrorist organizations for providing money and support to Al Qaida-linked groups, notably Abu Sayyaf (ASG) in the Philippines and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) in Indonesia. According to the Treasury Department:
The IIRO-PHL is a source of funding for the al Qaida-affiliated ASG. IIRO-PHL has served as a liaison for the ASG with other Islamic extremist groups. A former ASG member in the Philippines familiar with IIRO operations in the country reported that a limited amount of foreign IIRO funding goes to legitimate projects and the rest is directed to terrorist operations. (emphasis added)
The IIRO Indonesia director has channeled money to two Indonesia-based, JI-affiliated foundations. Information from 2006 shows that IIRO-IDN supports JI by providing assistance with recruitment, transportation, logistics, and safe-havens. As of late 2002, IIRO-IDN allegedly financed the establishment of training facilities for use by al Qaida associates.
And IIRO's terrorist links are not limited to branch offices in the Philippines and Indonesia. Again, according to Treasury:
The IIRO was established in 1978 and, according to its website, the organization has branch offices in over 20 countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Abd Al Hamid Sulaiman Al-Mujil (Al-Mujil) is the Executive Director of the IIRO Eastern Province (IIRO-EP) branch office in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Al-Mujil has been called the "million dollar man" for supporting Islamic militant groups. Al-Mujil provided donor funds directly to al Qaida and is identified as a major fundraiser for the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). Both ASG and JI are al Qaida-associated terrorist groups in Southeast Asia designated pursuant to the authorities of E.O. 13224. These terrorist groups are also on the United Nations 1267 Committee's consolidated list of individuals and entities associated with the Taliban, al Qaida and/or Usama Bin Ladin. (emphasis added)
That last piece of information should have been of particular interest to UNICEF officials as, it turns out, the IIRO offices in the Philippines and Indonesia have also been designated as terrorist groups by … you guessed it, the U.N.
On its "Consolidated list" of "Entities and other groups and undertakings associated with Al-Qaida" – last updated in April 2008, we find:
QE.I.127.06. Name: INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC RELIEF ORGANIZATION, INDONESIA, BRANCH OFFICE
A.k.a.: a) International Islamic Relief Agency b) International Relief Organization c) Islamic Relief Organization d) Islamic World Relief e) International Islamic Aid Organization f) Islamic Salvation Committee g) The Human Relief Committee of the Muslim World League h) World Islamic Relief Organization i) Al Igatha Al-Islamiya j) Hayat al-Aghatha al-Islamia al-Alamiya k) Hayat al-Igatha l) Hayat Al-‘Igatha m) Ighatha n) Igatha o) Igassa p) Igasa q) Igase r) Egassa s) IIRO F.k.a.: na Address: a) International Islamic Relief Organization, Indonesia Office; Jalan Raya Cipinang Jaya No. 90; East Jakarta, 13410, Indonesia b) P.O. Box 3654; Jakarta 54021 Listed on: 9 Nov. 2006 Other information: na
QE.I.126.06. Name: INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC RELIEF ORGANIZATION, PHILIPPINES, BRANCH OFFICES
A.k.a.: a) International Islamic Relief Agency b) International Relief Organization c) Islamic Relief Organization d) Islamic World Relief e) International Islamic Aid Organization f) Islamic Salvation Committee g) The Human Relief Committee of the Muslim World League h) World Islamic Relief Organization i) Al Igatha Al-Islamiya j) Hayat al-Aghatha al-Islamia al-Alamiya k) Hayat al-Igatha l) Hayat Al-‘Igatha m) Ighatha n) Igatha o) Igassa p) Igasa q) Igase r) Egassa s) IIRO F.k.a.: na Address: a) International Islamic Relief Organization, Philippines Office; 201 Heart Tower Building; 108 Valero Street; Salcedo Village, Makati City; Manila, Philippines b) Zamboanga City, Philippines c) Tawi Tawi, Philippines d) Marawi City, Philippines e) Basilan, Philippines f) Cotabato City, Philippines Listed on: 4 Aug. 2006 Other information: na
That's right. The U.N. organization charged with protecting children world wide is "partnering" with an organization not only designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization, but designated by the U.N. itself! Unfortunately, anyone moderately familiar with the U.N.'s history should be unsurprised.
IPT readers should recall that stateside, the self-proclaimed prominent Islamic "civil rights" group, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), also has a history of "partnering" with IIRO, receiving close to $30,000 from the terrorist-linked entity, and:
CAIR founder and chairman Ahmad testified on behalf of Mohamed Jamal Khalifah, Osama bin Laden's brother-in law and the one-time head of IIRO's office in the Philippines.
Khalifah was arrested by the INS and the FBI in San Francisco on December 16, 1994. At the time of his arrest, he had been convicted in absentia in Jordan for his alleged involvement in a series of bombings in Jordan in 1993 and1994. Additionally, authorities found documents in his possession referring to the assassination of bishops and bombings of churches. Moreover, Khalifah has been identified as the financier of Ramzi Yousef's plot to simultaneously blow up 12 U.S. airplanes over the Pacific.
Despite Khalifa's deep involvement in terrorism, Ahmad testified that, although he did not know him personally, Khalifa had a "good reputation." Asked about IIRO, Ahmad said, "I'm very familiar with their work. I work very closely with their office in Washington D.C….And also I know…a lot of people who work in their office in Jiddah, in Saudi Arabia, who are very close friends of mine." During the testimony, Ahmad's attorney stated that, "[Ahmad] has known and worked with the International Islamic Relief Organization for approximately ten years."