The Charity Commission, Britain's most ineffective regulator, has once again whitewashed an organisation linked to fundamentalist Islam.
In March this newspaper reported on allegations that the charity Muslim Aid, a close associate of the fundamentalist Islamic Forum of Europe, had channelled funds to eight organisations linked to the terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Muslim Aid has admitted funding two of the organisations and has repeatedly refused to deny funding the other six.
Now, however, the Commission has published what it is pleased to call a "regulatory case review" into the charity saying that allegations of terrorist links are "unsubstantiated."
It has only been able to reach this verdict by completely ignoring the vast majority of the allegations made against Muslim Aid, and by redefining the single allegation it did choose to "investigate" in a way which allowed it to exonerate the charity.
By its own admission, it did not even investigate seven out of the eight allegations which it now claims are "unsubstantiated."
The allegations made against Muslim Aid were as follows:
(1) that it had since July 2009 channelled money to six organisations linked to Hamas:
(a) the Islamic Society of Nuseirat;
(b) the Islamic Society of Khan Younis;
(c) the Islamic Centre of Gaza;
(d) the Islamic al-Salah, Gaza;
(e) the National Association of Moderation and Development;
(f) the Khan Younis Zakat Committee.
The allegations were made by security sources, who provided us with documentary evidence of the dates and amounts.
(2) that it in the year 2005 paid money to another Hamas-linked organisation, the Islamic University of Gaza.
(3) that it had paid money to the al-Ihsan Charitable Society, linked to Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
(4) that it had extensively funded the Muslim Council of Britain, a UK-based political lobbying group.
This is contrary to Muslim Aid's declared charitable objects, which are "to relieve the poor, the elderly, children and all those who are in need in any part of the world as a result of natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, droughts, famines, epidemics, poverty and plagues, to relieve those who are refugees fleeing from war zones and war victims."
Repeatedly asked by us before publication, over a period of more than a week, Muslim Aid refused to deny the security source allegations that they channelled funds to any of groups 1 (a) to 1 (f). Nor, to the best of my knowledge, has Muslim Aid subsequently denied these allegations.
It has admitted both to us and the Charity Commission - see paragraph 14 of the Commission's report - that it did fund al-Ihsan. It has admitted, and its own accounts state, that it funded the Islamic University of Gaza and the MCB.
In its report today, the Charity Commission states that it decided only to investigate Muslim Aid's links with one of the groups, al-Ihsan. The report states that the Commission was "not provided with sufficient evidence to support the allegation that [the] other named organisations [1 (a) to (f) and 2 above] funded by the Charity had the alleged links [to terrorism]."
Consquently, it "did not carry out further investigations into payments to them. Given the seriousness of the allegations made, the Commission required material evidence in support of those claims in order for it to consider taking regulatory action."...
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