Posts Tagged ‘Charity Commission’

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UK cracks down on anti-democratic Islamists

September 21, 2015

Great Britain will grant their Charity Commission new powers to unseat board members of charities who espouse anti-democratic, un-British values according to a strategy document leaked to the Telegraph.  If true, this is a welcome development.  Hateful Islamist leaders have to be shamed and weeded out.  U.S. states should follow suit by granting their secretaries of state, who generally have authority to regulate charities, equivalent powers.

Extremists to be purged from charity boards under new law

Mosques will be hit as watchdog to use powers to expel ‘hate preachers’

19 Sep 2015

The Government is to purge “extremist” trustees from every charity in England and Wales in a crackdown that could affect thousands of people.

A leaked draft of the Home Office’s new counter-extremism strategy, seen by the Telegraph, says new legal powers for the Charity Commission to sack trustees will be used far more widely than expected.

In a paper in May on how it would use the powers, now being created in a bill before Parliament, the commission made no mention of extremism being grounds for disqualification.

However, the leaked counter-extremism strategy, due to be published this autumn, states that “once the legislation is enacted, the Charity Commission will take action against all trustees who meet the definition of extremism set out in this document.”

The strategy document defines extremism as “the vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.”

Among those likely to be affected are several mosques, most of which operate as charities, including the hardline East London Mosque. Some of its trustees have publicly supported sharia law and punishments for “crimes” such as adultery.

A number of aid charities have been regularly accused of channelling funds to terror groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and have trustees with links to those organisations.

Some private Muslim schools are likely to be caught by the provisions, including two run by the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation, a charity closely linked to the racist and extremist group Hizb ut Tahrir.

In a Hizb pamphlet one of the foundation’s trustees, Farah Ahmed, attacked religious tolerance and democracy and said that Western education was a “threat to our beliefs and values.”

Non-Muslim groups may also be affected, including Soldiers off the Street, a veterans’ charity whose trustees include a former senior British National Party activist.

Charitable status carries substantial privileges, including exemption from paying most taxes, tax breaks for individuals who donate and Gift Aid, which allows charities to claim back the tax paid by donors.

The Telegraph has exposed how hate preachers and Islamist extremists have secured charitable status and exploited it to claim thousands of pounds in Gift Aid and other advantages.

The benefit was claimed by IERA, a charity linked to a number of the “Portsmouth jihadis,” six young men from the Hampshire city who travelled together to fight for Islamic State (Isil) in Syria. IERA’s trustees include the extremist preacher Abdurraheem Green, also known as Anthony Waclaw Green.

Its board of advisers has included Bilal Phillips, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing, and the hate preacher Haitham al-Haddad, who has called Jews the “brethren of swine and pigs.”

Al-Haddad also founded and ran his own charity, the Muslim Research and Development Foundation (MRDF), which publishes a hardline Islamist website, Islam21c.com, and other extremist material…

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De-funding jihad from England: suggested reading

December 29, 2014

Here’s a round-up of news stories that we didn’t have time to cover in the latter half of 2014 about British authorities’ efforts to crackdown on fundraising for jihadists overseas…

  • The UK Charity Commission has frozen the bank account of Viva Palestina, an aid group that has delivered cash to Hamas (h/t El Grillo)… more>>
  • Police are trying to trace the network that raised the €20,000 for Amal El-Wahabi to send to her husband to fight infidels and apostates in Syriamore>>
  • British bureaucracy led to a two month delay in applying sanctions against Kuwaiti men who sent piles of money to the Islamic State (h/t BPA)… more>>
  • The Charity Commission is investigating 86 groups for terrorist financing risks, with 37 of them active in Syria… more>>
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New moves afoot to choke off terror money

November 7, 2014
  • The U.S. takes aim at ISIS’s black market oil buyers… more>>
  • Britain grants more powers to its charity regulator, including the power to remove dubious trustees from charitable boards (h/t @ConorMLarkin)… more>>
  • Austrian law will ban foreign funding of imams… more>>
  • The U.S. Rewards for Justice program of paying informants is still helping catch and kill terrorists… more>>
  • Bulk cash smugglers beware–there’s a new system to detect the presence of excessive currency at border checkpoints… more>>
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News roundup: following the terrorists’ money

May 29, 2014
  • Britain’s Charity Commission has historically been passive about investigating Islamic charities. Now the Commission is participating in an investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood, which critics say constitutes “disproportionate” scrutiny… more>>
  • After stuffing 20,000 euros in her panties and attempting to fly to Syria, a British Muslim student denies that she intended to fund terrorists… more>>
  • Iran will restore funding to Hamas with $200 million per year in exchange for Hamas’s support of Iran’s involvement in Syria… more>>
  • The United Nations is levying sanctions and an arms embargo against Boko Haram, citing its relationship with Al Qaedamore>>
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Charity watchdog: Islamism poses deadlier threat

May 2, 2014

U.K.’s top charity regulator says that Muslim extremism poses the deadliest threat to the British nonprofit sector.  Although it has taken Charity Commission chief William Shawcross two years to come to that conclusion, it’s better late than never.  Shawcross is focused on the threat and the unknowns associated with the transfer of funds from Islamic charities in Great Britain to Syria and other conflict zones where al-Qaeda groups are ascendant.  He’d be well-served by keeping his eye on the home front too.

The Charity Commission has a poor record of enforcement against front charities that funnel money to terrorist groups.  A 2013 audit revealed that the Charity Commission is understaffed, passive, and unfit for duty.

From the BBC on Apr. 19:

Charity Commission warns of Islamic extremism threat

Chairman William Shawcross warned that while the issue is not currently widespread, it is growing.

Mr Shawcross told the Sunday Times the regulator is taking action against charities sending money to various groups in Syria.

He has asked the prime minister for measures to stop those with terrorism convictions from setting up charities.

Currently, those convicted of money laundering or terrorism are not automatically barred from doing so, or from becoming a trustee.

Mr Shawcross said: “It is ludicrous that people with convictions for terrorist offences are not automatically disqualified from serving as charity trustees.”

The regulator is currently investigating a number of charities raising funds for causes in Syria.

Mr Shawcross advised that agencies had to be vigilant.

“I’m sure that in places like Syria and Somalia it is very, very difficult for charities always to know what the end use of their aid is, but they’ve got to be particularly vigilant,” he said.

“The problem of Islamist extremism and charities… is not the most widespread problem we face in terms of abuse of charities, but is potentially the most deadly.

“And it is, alas, growing”…

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Audit finds charity watchdog unfit for duties

December 10, 2013

The National Audit Office (NAO) has found that the U.K. Charity Commission, the entity responsible for monitoring British nonprofits, is grossly understaffed and is too passive in exposing malfeasance.

The Charity Commission has never done anything to crack down on Interpal and Muslim Aid—two British-based charities that have funded Hamas.  The Charity Commission even went out of its way to discredit the allegations against Muslim Aid.  The NAO’s findings cast the Charity Commission’s defense of such charities in a new and disturbing light.

This is probably one of the biggest stories pertaining to terrorist financing in Britain that has come out in several years.  Scores of Islamic charities have established headquarters in the U.K., and have used favorable reviews by the Charity Commission as part of their fundraising appeals to send money overseas.

This isn’t just a story about regulatory ineptitude:  it reveals a major global avenue for charitable fraud.

From the Daily Mail (h/t to Ultrascan HUMINT) on Dec. 3:

Charity cash could end up in the hands of terrorists: Watchdog ‘failing to tackle abuses’

  • Critical report was compiled by the National Audit Office
  • Reveals the Charity Commission has just two members of staff to monitor voluntary organisations with just 42 probes launched this year
  • Labour MP Margaret Hodge warns commission is not ‘fit for purpose’ and ‘risks undermining public trust’ in charities

By Daniel Martin

3 December 2013

Money given to charity could be diverted to terrorists because a watchdog is not investigating abuses properly, a damning report has warned.

The Charity Commission monitors voluntary organisations over three areas of high risk: fraud, whether they safeguard beneficiaries, and counter-terrorism.

But it now has only two members of staff doing this work and just 42 probes were started last year, compared to 306 a year before the last election, increasing a ‘risk that serious concerns will go undetected’.

In a critical report, the National Audit Office spending watchdog said failings could damage public faith in good causes. The commission needs a ‘radical change of pace and rigour’, it said…

The NAO report also stated:

‘It [the Charity Commission] uses its information poorly to assess risk and often relies solely on trustees’ assurances.

‘Where it does identify concerns in charities, it makes little use of its powers and fails to take tough action in some of the most serious cases.

‘The commission is too passive in pursuing its objectives, letting practical and legal barriers prevent action, rather than considering alternative ways to prevent abuse of charitable status.’

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Hamas financing news: recommended reading

November 14, 2013
  • Viva Palestina, the British “charity” that raised funds for Hamas, has been removed from the UK Charity Commission’s registry charities due to apparent inactivity… more>>
  • Auditors says billions of euros sent to the West Bank and Gaza have been wasted, stolen, or cannot be accounted for—so why not send even more?  Oy vey!
  • Talk is cheap.  The UK Charity Commission thunders in public about cracking down on terrorist front charities, but behind the scenes they’re letting groups like Interpal fund Hamas with impunity… more>>
  • Hamas’s Khaled Meshaal experiments with speed dating—after a first a surprise tête-à-tête to seek financial aid from Erdogan in Turkey, Meshaal plans on a visit with the mullahs in Tehran to discuss the same.  Who will win the rose?  More>>