British suicide bomber Abdul Waheed Majeed travelled to Syria with charity aid convoy

The Charity Commission says it is 'assessing whether there are regulatory concerns' about the Birmingham-based child poverty charity Children in Deen

Abdul Waheed Majeed
Abdul Waheed Majeed

The British suicide bomber who carried out an attack on a prison in Syria earlier this month travelled to the country as part of an aid convoy, the charity that organised the convoy has confirmed.

Abdul Waheed Majeed drove a truck packed with explosives into the wall of a prison in Aleppo in north-west Syria on 6 February, in what was believed be the first suicide attack carried out in Syria by a Briton.

A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said it was "assessing whether there are any regulatory concerns" about the Birmingham-based child poverty charity Children in Deen, which provided the administrative aspect of the aid convoy to refugee camps in the country.

The Times and other national newspapers reported today that Majeed travelled to Syria with the charity, which works in England, Pakistan and Syria. One of its trustees, Sara Rathore, told Third Sector that between five and 10 charities were involved in two overland aid convoys it sent to the country in March and July last year. In the July convoy to Syria there were 148 individuals, including Majeed, she said; none of those who travelled were staff or trustees of the charity.

She said Children in Deen was a legitimate charity and that it and the convoy it had been involved in were fully legitimate. She said that it provided details of the individuals travelling with the convoy to the authorities before departure, and that some had been told they could not go for various reasons unrelated to terror suspicions.

She said it had continued to send aid to Syria, but is now doing so in shipping containers. "It's more cost-effective to send aid over in containers, and take less manpower," she said.

It would also continue to support three projects in Syria – a school, a bread factory to which it supplies flour and a women's project providing employment support.

The Charity Commission also said it had attended a police-organised meeting in Crawley, West Sussex, where Majeed was from, on 6 February to discuss the situation in Syria and the impact on the community.

A spokeswoman for the regulator said: "Our role was to provide guidance on how to ensure that charitable donations go to legitimate charities and are not diverted for criminal purposes. We also reiterated our support for the Foreign and Commonwealth’s advice against all travel to Syria, as set out in our alert on this topic." 

The Foreign Office and the Department for International Development were also present at the meeting. Last month, the commission opened inquiries into two charities providing aid to Syria.

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