Charity Commission closes charity for Muslim prisoners

Report on Al Ikhlas Foundation, one of whose trustees was suspected of links with Al Qaeda, says serious concerns about governance have not been addressed

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

A charity for Muslim prisoners that was forced to remove a trustee with suspected terrorist links has been removed from the charity register because it has ceased to operate, according to a Charity Commission report.

The commission had already published two reports into the Al Ikhlas Foundation, also known as the Muslim Prisoner Support Group.

The first led to the removal of a trustee who was suspected of having links with Al Qaeda. The second said the charity had unsatisfactory governance arrangements.

The supplementary report, published yesterday, found the charity was still accepting donations and raised concerns that it was continuing to solicit donations without carrying out any charitable activity.

The regulator said that serious concerns over the charity’s governance arrangements had not been addressed. The charity has been told to disperse £2,208.67 held in its bank accounts to other charities.

The commission said it was removing the charity from the register to reduce the risk of the public being misled, to maintain the integrity of the register and to protect the reputation of the sector.

In 2008, the commission ruled that Mohammed Al Ghabra should be removed as a trustee after the UN said it suspected him of having links with Al Qaeda.

An inquiry into the suitability of Al Ghabra as a trustee also found that the charity could not account for funds it had spent and that there were no written policies to manage financial controls.

In September 2008, another trustee of the charity, Abbas Taj, was arrested after a firebomb attack on the home of an owner of a publishing company. He was later found guilty of conspiracy to recklessly damage property and endanger life. He resigned as a trustee.

The resulting commission inquiry, published in 2010, examined governance arrangements again. The regulator raised doubts about whether the charity had any properly appointed trustees and found that meetings were not held and no membership list was maintained.

A statement from the Charity Commission said: "The commission is satisfied that the outcomes of each of the previous inquiries were appropriate, proportionate to the risk posed and the resources available."

No one from the Al Ikhlas Foundation could be contacted for comment.


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