A ‘concerning’ number of charities are funding extremism, report claims

Written by Lauren Weymouth

A ‘concerning’ number of charities are supporting and funding Islamic extremists, a new report as claimed.

In a report published by the Henry Jackson Society, Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing: How Islamic Extremists Exploit the UK Charitable Sector, author Emma Webb said a number of UK-registered charities are funding extremism by providing a platform for Islamic extremist speakers.

The report claimed charities are allowing extremists the platform to “disseminate their literature”, gain credibility and access both beneficiaries and the general public.

It went on to state “more needs to be done” to prevent extremist organisations from producing an environment conducive to radicalisation.

“In particular, HMRC, the Home Office, Ofcom, banks, fundraising platforms, the new Commission for Countering Extremism and the Extremism Analysis Unit, should work together with the Charity Commission to ensure the most effective response to eliminating Islamist extremism from the charitable sector,” the report said.

“Since the early days of jihadism, Islamist extremists have exploited charitable organisations, non-profit organisations and NGOs to provide financial and material support for terrorist activity,” it continued.

“Efforts increased to tackle this problem in the wake of [...] 11 September 2001 [...] however, the ways in which charitable organisations have been used by Islamist extremists to spread their divisive and intolerant ideology have received relitatavely less attention.

“Effectively challenging the views propagated by these charities and those involved with them is key in the struggle against radicalisation in the UK.”

Involvement from the Charity Commission

The report comes after a number of UK-registered charities have been investigated by the Charity Commission for links with terrorism.

Just today, the Charity Commission announced it has removed a charity and disqualified its trustees, following a terrorism investigation, which was initially raised by the Metropolitan Police.

A report detailing the inquiry into Anatolia People’s Cultural Centre, declared the trustees of the charity are “unfit” to act in their roles after a charity trustee was arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences and the regulator found the charity to be “mismanaged”.

The initial police investigation identified images and items with explicit links to a proscribed terrorist organisation on display at the charity’s premises. The police said such items could lead an ordinary member of the public to think the charity supported the organisation and that it endorsed acts of terrorism and/or extremism.

The Commission launched an inquiry into the charity in April 2016, in which it found a number of regulatory concerns relating to the management and administration of the charity by the trustees.

Concerns were predominantly around the lack of bank account, despite receiving donations, failure to correspond with the Commission and failure to ensure statutory returns were filed.

The former trustee was found not guilty of two counts of disseminating terrorist publications relating to a proscribed group at London’s Central Criminal Court.

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