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International Islamic Relief Organization

Established: 1978;

Type: International Charitable Organization;

Headquarters: Jeddah;

Location: Saudi Arabia;

President: Abdallah At-Turki;

Parent organization: Muslim World League;



IIRO is active in many countries in: Asia, Africa, Europe, and America.

International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), known as, International Islamic Relief Organization of Saudi Arabia (IIROSA), was the first Islamic NGO to gain observer status with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Following the 9/11 terror attacks, it was alleged that one of Osama bin-Laden’s brothers-in-law, Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, had utilised the IIRO Philippines and Indonesian branches to work with terrorist organizations worldwide, and that a brother of Al-Qaeda official Ayman al Zawahiri working for the IIRO in Albania had brought a number of members of the terror group Egyptian Islamic Jihad to work for IIRO in that European country.

Khalifa came to the Philippines in 1987 or 1988 as the first head of the Philippine branch of IIRO. He was also the IIRO’s Southeast Asia regional director. Khalifa established several charities and Islamic organizations in the Philippines ostensibly for charity and religious work but which channeled money to extremist groups.

In 1995, a Philippines intelligence report claimed that while the IIRO “claims to be a relief institution” it “is being utilized by foreign extremists as a pipeline through which funding for the local extremists” travels.

A defector from the Abu Sayyaf terror group told authorities, that “only 10 to 30% of the foreign funding goes to the legitimate relief and livelihood projects and the rest go to terrorist operations.”

According to researcher Zachary Abuza, while Philippine government claimed to have shut down all the charities run by Khalifa to finance Abu Sayyaf, a senior Philippine intelligence official complained to him that, “we could not touch the IIRO.” The IIRO stayed open until it was taken over by another Islamic charity, the Islamic Wisdom Worldwide Mission in 1995. According to Abuza, “intense diplomatic pressure” from Saudi Arabia kept the charity open.

In 2006, the U.S. Treasury Department designated the Philippines and Indonesian branch offices of IIRO as terrorist entities. The US Treasury Department delisted the Philippines and Indonesian branch offices of IIRO, on 16 August 2016. Neither the Philippines nor the Indonesian branch offices of IIRO have ever been prosecuted by the Philippines or Indonesian authorities.

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