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January 04, 2016

Banking Giant HSBC Cuts Links With Big Muslim Aid Charity

Global bank HSBC has halted services to international humanitarian agency Islamic Relief, allegedly over concerns that the nonprofit's funds could end up in the hands of terrorist groups, Economic Times writes, citing reporting by London's Sunday Times. The London-based bank's decision, made a year ago but not previously disclosed, stemmed from Islamic Relief's work in conflict zones such as Syria and Gaza, according to a source close to the charity.

Imran Madden, the charity's British director, said its work "means we are committed to operating in complex conflicts where proscribed organizations are sometimes active. It appears that this is deemed a risk too far by HSBC, but we continue to be trusted to deliver aid in such places by governments and by other financial institutions."

Based in Britain, Islamic Relief is active in 40 countries and has received millions of dollars from the British government in recent years. The Department for International Development said the funding is subject to rigorous checks. Israel barred the charity from the West Bank in 2014, claiming it has ties to Hamas, which Islamic Relief denies.