Islamic charity seeks legal advice after identity theft

The Thara Welfare Trust, an Islamic welfare charity based in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, is taking legal advice after press revelations that unauthorised fundraisers borrowed its identity - including its registered charity number - when collecting for Kashmiri militants.

Thames Valley police are investigating allegations that money collected from unsuspecting families was used to fund Jaish-e-Mohammed – a proscribed terrorist group seeking Kashmiri independence and the “destruction” of India and the US. They are acting on information that has come to light after a three-month undercover operation by journalist Mazher Mahmood. Police are searching premises in High Wycombe, but no arrests have been made.

Mahmood has alleged that an unauthorised fundraiser using the charity’s name collected £600 a week by claiming the money was for a madrassa, a religious school, in Pakistan. Mahmood also said that while he was undercover he was asked to pass a single lump sum of £40,000 to a local contact in High Wycombe for covert transmission to Kashmir.

A spokesman for the trust said he was extremely upset by the trust’s unwitting connection with extremists who, Mahmood claims, had raised thousands of pounds in door-to-door collections in High Wycombe, Luton, Slough and Birmingham.

The Thara Welfare Trust provides education, food and shelter, a free ambulance service and emergency relief in remote parts of Kashmir. The Charity Commission said the allegations are extremely serious and that it is actively investigating.

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