Despite battling accusations of antisemitism, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn) is due to speak this month at a fundraising event alongside a senior charity official who has published social-media posts praising the killing of Jews. Islamic Relief USA is hosting a fundraising dinner for aid to Yemen on Feb. 23. Omar is due to speak alongside senior Islamic Relief USA official Yousef Abdallah, who was widely criticized in 2017 after the Middle East Forum found that he had expressed violently anti-Semitic ideas on his social-media accounts.
Abdallah, who serves as Islamic Relief USA’s “operations manager,” shared a “very beautiful” modernized version of a Palestinian folk story about a resistance hero named Zharif al-Tawl, who took revenge against Jewish “gangs” that had purportedly attacked a Palestinian village by providing guns to “kill more than 20 Jews” and “fire rockets at Tel Aviv.” Other posts referred to Jews as “stinking,” and claimed that “the Jews put the outside wall of Al Aqsa [the mosque in Jerusalem] on fire.” Abdallah also “Liked” a comment on his Facebook post that calls on God to wreak “revenge on the damned rapists Zionists. O God they are no challenge for you. Shake the Earth beneath their feet and destroy them as you destroyed the peoples of ʿĀd, Thamud and Lot.” And in 2014, after Republican politician Chris Christie apologized for referring to the West Bank and Gaza as “occupied,” Abdallah wrote: “Christie kneels down on his knees before the Jewish lords and says ‘I am sorry.’ Only money makes stuff like this happen. Mr. Christie. Muslims should remember this very well.”
Islamic Relief USA has previously defended its senior officials’ antisemitism, claiming that their comments had been mistranslated. However, Islamic Relief USA refused to provide alternative translations and refused to comment on the fact that some of the antisemitism was expressed plainly in English. Founded in 1984, the Islamic Relief franchise is managed by Islamic Relief Worldwide, its headquarters in the United Kingdom. Today, Islamic Relief is one of the largest Islamic charities in the world, but the franchise is increasingly facing questions from governments across the globe about its connections to extremism and terror.