Global Aid Muslim trust failed to check extremist speakers, Charities Commission rules
- Credit: Global Aid Trust
A Muslim charity set up in Whitechapel that has been linked to allegations of hosting extremist radical speakers failed to make background checks, the Charities Commission has ruled.
An inquiry into Global Aid Trust events and guest speakers was “not satisfied that the trustees had followed their own policies and procedures”.
The charity featured in an ITV documentary in 2015, Charities Behaving Badly, when an undercover reporter posed as a volunteer.
The reporter is introduced to a charity worker who admires the late extremist preacher Anwar al-Awlaki who was believed to have inspired a string of terror attacks.
“They spread loads of lies about him,” the reporter is told. “He’s a scholar. He came out of prison and started to incite hatred and telling western Muslims to bomb. He incited bombings basically. Bruv, he was a brilliant guy, though.”
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The charity, which had five staff and 15 volunteers and is now based at Wapping Lane in Shadwell, said at the time it condemned and rejected the comments and regretted the incidents which were “the result of a process failure in the organisation”.
The documentary also shows preacher Dawah Man speaking at a charity event with anti-Semitic hatred, telling the audience the world’s banks were “controlled by Zionists” and any time there was an invasion of Muslim lands is “a problem coming back to the Children of Israel”.
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The Charities Commission has now ruled there was a failure in checking the speakers’ backgrounds.
The Commission’s enforcement director Michelle Russell said: “Trustees should be alert to the risk that a speaker may have an ulterior motive for wanting to work with the charity. They must have proper safeguards to manage the risks of hosting events which include carrying out appropriate background checks.”
But they had failed in their duties to protect the charity and there had been “misconduct and mismanagement” in running the trust, the commission has concluded.
The trustees have accepted the Charity Commission findings over “shortcomings in speaker oversight” especially at one fundraising event.
Trust spokesman Abdur Rahman Madani told the East London Advertiser: “The trustees acted promptly to deal with the issues once we became aware of the ITV documentary.
“We dealt with weaknesses in delegated responsibility for due diligence, sought legal advice on any alleged breaches of laws and have tightened procedures for events, speakers and volunteer recruitment and management.”
The organisation has had its banking services withdrawn following the ITV documentary and Commission investigation.
“We have been unable to secure our own bank account,” Mr Madani added. “But we are making an alternative arrangement.”
The trust believes there should be “a guaranteed right to a bank account” for charities in the current climate where services have sometimes been withdrawn because of “negative publicity”.