Charity Commission opens statutory inquiry into Islamic charity

The regulator has responded to concerns about decision-making and due diligence at the Islamic Education and Research Academy in north-west London

The charity's headquarters
The charity's headquarters

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into an Islamic information and education charity over concerns about its policies for organising events and inviting external speakers.

The Islamic Education and Research Academy, based in north-west London, is "committed to educating and informing humanity about, and inviting to, the truth and noble message of Islam", according to its website.

The charity had an income of £817,582, spent £821,890 and had five staff in the year to 30 June 2013. According to its accounts for this period, it addressed "an estimated audience of 50,000 people both nationally and internationally" in this period, distributed 150 "welcome boxes" to new Muslims and organised two Muslim retreats.

It registered with the regulator in March 2010 and filed its first set of accounts more than seven months late.

A statement from the commission today said it opened an inquiry into the charity on 7 March after an inspection of the charity’s records in January.

The regulator said it was examining the trustees’ decision-making, in particular over its due diligence and monitoring of speakers and various payments made to trustees and a former trustee. It is also looking into its relationship with a connected non-charitable company, Islamic Education and Research Academy Limited.

In January 2013, the commission released new guidance with a chapter called "Protecting charities from abuse for extremist purposes and managing the risks at events and in activities". The commission said it believed certain charities were at particular risk of inadvertently promoting extremist views and that trustees must vet proposed speakers, carry out risk assessments of proposed events and prevent any "inappropriate activities".

The charity did not respond to a request for comment before publication of the story.

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