Trustee of UK’s Largest Muslim Charity Resigns After Anti-Semitic Views Come to Light
July 24, 2020
Heshmat Khalifa, a current trustee and former leading official of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), the UK’s largest Muslim charity, has resigned after his deeply offensive anti-Semitic social media comments were exposed and published in The Times, the Times of Israel reported.
The Times found posts from 2014 and 2015 in which Khalifa referred to Jews as the “grandchildren of monkeys and pigs,” a common anti-Semitic trope in parts of the Middle East.
Additional posts published by the Egyptian-born leader stated that current Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is a “Zionist Pimp,” a “Zionist pig,” a “Zionist traitor” and a “Zionist criminal.” He referred to the US and UK-designated terror organization Hamas as “the purest resistance movement in modern history,” despite the organization being directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of people.
Islamic Relief Worldwide is based in Birmingham, England and is one of the largest Islamic charities in the world with 40 branches scattered around the globe. In addition to stepping down from his role as a trustee of the organization, Khalifa also resigned from his roles as chairman of Islamic Relief Australia and as the director of IRW’s offices in Germany and South Africa.
After the news broke, the Charity Commission for England and Wales announced that it will be launching an investigation into the matter.
The 63-year-old Mr. Khalifa, who has been a British citizen since the early 2000s, told The Times that his comments were “expressions of frustration with the political regime, rather than beliefs that I hold.” and that he purportedly regretted those comments.
He further stated, “I did not intend to insult the Jewish community and neither do I hold views which are anti-Semitic. I have dedicated much of my life’s work to promoting tolerance and freedom of religion and beliefs.” Mr. Khalifa did not however, explicitly apologize for expressing anti-Semitic beliefs on his social media accounts.
Islamic Relief Worldwide issued a statement saying it “sincerely regrets any offense caused” and emphasized that Khalifa’s posts “contravene the values and principles of Islamic Relief Worldwide.”
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