Charity Commission 'monitoring concerns' about Syria aid charity

The regulator says it opened a monitoring case last year into the governance and financial management of Al-Fatiha Global, which is today the subject of newspaper claims

Al-Fatiha Global
Al-Fatiha Global

The Charity Commission is monitoring concerns relating to governance and financial management at a charity providing aid to Syria.

Al-Fatiha Global, a Worcester-based Muslim charity also working in Burma, Kashmir and Palestine, is the subject of a story on the front page of The Sun newspaper today, which published a picture that the paper said showed Adeel Ali, a volunteer for the charity, posing with two masked gunmen.

The newspaper reported that Ali is "the chief of the charity", that the picture was taken last summer in Syria, and that some of those who travelled to the country with the charity did not come back. This was a concern in the recent case of a UK suicide bomber in Syria who travelled there with a charity aid convoy.

A spokeswoman for the regulator said: "The commission has an ongoing monitoring case into the charity Al-Fatiha Global and we continue to engage with the trustees regarding a number of issues, including the governance and financial management of the charity."

The spokeswoman said that its monitoring case was opened in 2013, and "was not opened following recent media interest".

Another volunteer for Al-Fatiha, who asked not be named, told Third Sector that The Sun’s story was a "scandalous farce", and that all volunteers with the charity who went into Syria came back.

The volunteer said the charity had nothing to hide and that the truth would come out. The charity itself could not be contacted for comment, and is unlikely to comment pending legal advice, the volunteer said.

The Charity Commission is already carrying out two statutory inquiries into Aid Convoy and Syria Aid, and last month was monitoring eight charities, which it will not name, that either have Syria in their name or charitable objects, or listed as a country where they work.

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