An Islamic Relief Worldwide trustee has resigned over antisemitism, one month after a fellow board member also quit over antisemitic posts online.
Almoutaz Tayara stepped down this weekend after the Times reported on Facebook posts in which he reproduced a cartoon showing President Barack Obama in a tie branded with the Star of David and praised the leaders of Hamas. The military arm of Hamas is a proscribed terrorist group in the UK.
The entire IRW board was replaced over the weekend, although the charity said this was unrelated to the antisemitism scandal.
First exposed in 2017
Tayara had sat on the IRW board at the same time as Heshmat Khalifa, who resigned last month after he was discovered to have referred to Jews as “grandchildren of monkeys and pigs” in 2014 and 2015. At the time, IRW promised to review its processes for appointing trustees.
The Times reported that Tayara’s social media posts, from 2014 and 2015, were already known to IRW’s independent affiliate Islamic Relief Germany, where he was also a trustee. Tayara apologised to IR Germany when the posts came to light in 2017 and was allowed to keep his job.
However, IRW said that it only became aware of the content last week.
Tayara told The Times he was “deeply ashamed” of the posts and denied being antisemitic.
IRW formed a new trustee board on Saturday, which the charity says is part of a major reform of its governance. The overhaul includes a new constitution and a new agreement between IRW and its affiliated offices all over the world.
The charity said that the new structure was not a response to recent controversy around its trustees, and had been “six years in the making”.
In a statement on the charity’s website, the new board said: “We apologise on behalf of Islamic Relief for any offence caused. These posts in no way reflect the views or the values of Islamic Relief Worldwide, which is a purely humanitarian organisation with no political affiliations.
“The new board will continue to support the senior executive team in upholding the highest humanitarian standards of neutrality, impartiality and independence, and assisting people of all faiths and none, without discrimination by race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
“We reject and condemn terrorism, and believe that all forms of discrimination, including anti-Semitism, are unacceptable.”
IRW had an annual income of £127m at the end of 2018, according to its most recent accounts. The Charity Commission has requested an urgent meeting with the new board.