Charity Commission is ‘Islamophobic’
Sir William Shawcross, above, who heads the UK Charity Commission, stands accused of unfairly targeting Islamic organisations.
The accusation came after the Guardian revealed that more than a quarter of the statutory investigations launched by the CC since April 2012 – and which still remain open – have targeted Muslim charities.
Adam Belaon, Research Director for the think tank Claystone, which focuses on Muslim issues, said that the CC:
Has labelled 55 charities with the issue code ‘extremism and radicalisation’ without their knowledge, in the period 5 December 2012 to 8 May 2014.
These charities were/are being monitored as a potential concern for matters relating to extremism and radicalisation.
Belaon suggested that Sir William was the wrong man for the job as he had voiced concerns in the past about Islam. In 2012, as a Director at the conservative Henry Jackson Society, he pointed out – correctly – that European countries have fast growing Islamic populations, and – again indisputably – that Islam:
Is one of the greatest, most terrifying problems of our future.
Belaon drew a comparison between Ofsted and the CC, saying:
We have got Ofsted trying to root out vague notions of extremism. We have the Charity Commission. Where does this all end?
Vague notions of extremism? Seriously?
A CC spokesperson said:
The commission does not target Muslims, or any other religion or type of charity. All our casework is prioritised and assessed for action against the risk framework, published on the website. A full analysis of the commission’s compliance work including investigative and monitoring work for the last financial year will be in this year’s publication Tackling Abuse and Mismanagement.
Claystone’s mission statement says:
With the rise in identity politics and an unhealthy focus on Muslims and the religion of Islam in public discourse, it is important that genuine facts emerge from what are often highly emotive talking points.
To a large extent, anti-Muslim sentiment has been built on anti-Muslim propaganda and Islamophobia occurring over a long period of time. Multiple skewed discourses have merged together to project the false narrative that Muslims are a ‘problem’. This has resulted in heightened tensions and hostilities towards the Muslim community in the UK.
Meanwhile, it is reported here that three Christian charities have recently faced investigations or “operational compliance cases”by the CC for a range of offences, including fraud and accounting irregularities.
A fourth has seen a statutory investigation closed after trustees agreed to re-pay £100,000 back to the charity.
The first charity, Bethel United Church of Jesus Christ Apostolic UK, whose website speaks of the “privilege” and “duty” of donating to the Church, was left facing further action by the regulator after a “bishop” nicked £186,000 of the charity’s funds.
The Bristol “bishop” and former magistrate – Gerald Edmund (above) – was sentenced to two years in prison for fraud earlier this year.
After discussions with the charity, the Commission found that:
Several trustees had been aware of the suspected fraud for some time, but had originally attempted to deal with the problem without reporting it to the police.
Since then, the charity was found to have taken “very little action” on the failure of their financial controls, and one branch of the church was still paying a stipend to the imprisoned bishop. Bethel United Church was registered with the Charity Commission in 1995 to “advance the Christian religion in the UK.”
The second charity, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church, is now the subject of a statutory inquiry after the Charity Commission was forced to “escalate” its engagement with the church. The inquiry will look into the church’s “repeated failure to comply with legal obligations in relation to the filing of annual accounts” and the reported “misapplication” of the charity’s assets.
The CC is also understood to have pursued an operational compliance case into the UK Winners’ Chapel of Nigerian bishop David Oyedepo; this came after an allegation last year that charitable funds were “misapplied”.” The CC also considered the “charity’s management and policies” and is still considering information supplied by the Chapel before reaching a conclusion about outstanding financial questions.
The fourth Christian organisation is the Life Changing Ministries Church South Cheshire Trust, who recently came out of an inquiry after trustees agreed to re-pay £100,000 to the charity. The Charity Commission inquiry had found that funds meant for the charity were being paid into personal bank accounts and that the Life Changing Ministries Trust did not have “proper financial controls in place.”
The trustees claim the “inquiry came about as a result of complaints coming in about us … from a subversive group” who wanted to “destroy” the Trust.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn