Hindu charity censured for allowing speaker to make anti-Islamic remarks

A report from the Charity Commission says Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh UK ran an event at which an external speaker called Islam 'the world's worst religion'

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh UK
Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh UK

A Hindu charity failed to properly manage an event at which a speaker made anti-Islamic remarks, a Charity Commission investigation has concluded.

A commission report about the allegations, published today, says that Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh UK held an event between 26 July 2014 and 3 August 2014 at which an external speaker made comments it says were "wholly inappropriate and unacceptable at an event run by a charity" during a Hindu history class for children and young people.

The report says the remarks were recorded by an undercover journalist and broadcast on the ITV show Charities Behaving Badly, which was broadcast on 18 February 2015, according to the ITV website. The remarks included that "if it comes to Islam, they are the world’s worst religion".

The company behind the show, Hardcash Productions, contacted the commission on 9 January 2015, and the charity also got in touch the same day to explain that it would be the subject of a TV show, the report says. A monitoring case was opened on 15 January 2015.

In its report, the commission says the views expressed by the speaker appeared anti-Islamic and the young audience at the event "increased the seriousness of this issue".

The report says the charity had asked the speaker not to attend further events pending an investigation and showed him the charity’s new code of conduct for speakers.

The commission found that the charity had failed to abide by its own guidelines on not relying on someone’s good reputation before deciding if they were suitable to work with young people, having at least two workers to conduct children’s activities and that leaders should observe workers in activities with children and young people.

The report says this failure to properly manage or oversee the class at which the comments were made amounted to mismanagement.

But it adds there was "insufficient evidence to demonstrate that the views expressed by the speaker were endemic or systematic in the charity and its activities".

The commission praises the charity for its cooperation with the investigation and says it issued the charity with regulatory advice and guidance to improve its management of future events.

A statement from HSS UK welcomed the commission’s findings, saying that the report "makes clear that most of the allegations are unsubstantiated" but accepted it was found wanting "in the implementation of some of our own policies" in this case.

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