Islamic Relief chief “appalled” by anti-Semitic messages from board member | Charities

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The head of Britain’s largest Muslim charity said he would launch several internal reviews after one of the directors of the humanitarian group made anti-Semitic comments on social media.

In Facebook posts published in 2014 and 2015, the trustee, Heshmat Khalifa, called Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi “the pimping son of the Jews” and called the Israeli authorities “the grandchildren of monkeys and pigs” .

Khalifa resigned from Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) on Wednesday after the charity was approached by The Times, which published the articles in full on Friday.

In his first interview on the scandal, Naser Haghamed, chief executive of the IRW, told the Guardian he was “appalled” by the “unacceptable” messages.

He said the charity would conduct reviews on “how we missed this particular case,” if “the current systems and processes we have are strong enough,” as well as external support to check it out. ‘organization.

Additional screening would apply to current and future board members, he said. “We need to do everything in our power to make sure this does not happen again.”

A spokesperson for the UK Charity Commission said it had also opened a compliance case and that IRW was cooperating. “Anti-Semitic and racist comments are odious and have no place in charity,” the spokesperson said.

Haghamed, 54, who fled the war in Eritrea as a child and worked his way up through the charity’s ranks through IT director, said Khalifa’s remarks were personally insulting.

“I became a refugee at the age of 13. Being a refugee, black and Muslim, I have suffered all kinds of discrimination in my life. I know what it feels like, ”he says. “It’s a shame, it’s bad, it hurts. I cannot accept that this type of discrimination happens to another community or to any other person. When I see something like that, it hurts a lot that it came from one of our administrators.

In addition to a director, Khalifa, 63, who had worked in the charity since 1999, was chairman of Islamic Relief Australia and director of its branches in Germany and South Africa.

In the posts, he focused his anti-Semitic attacks on President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who came to power in a 2013 coup that toppled the Muslim Brotherhood-led government.

Khalifa also hailed the Gaza-based Palestinian militant organization Hamas as “the purest resistance movement in modern history.”

The Times quoted Khalifa as saying he was sorry for posting the posts and regretted the “language and feelings expressed.”

“I had no intention of insulting the Jewish community, nor do I have anti-Semitic views,” the newspaper quoted.

Based in Birmingham, IRW works in more than 40 countries to provide emergency and development assistance.

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