Charity Commission opens statutory inquiry into Children in Deen

Last summer, a British suicide bomber travelled to Syria with a convoy the charity helped to organise before driving an explosive-filled truck into a prison in Aleppo in February

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into the Birmingham-based aid charity Children in Deen after a British suicide bomber travelled to Syria as part of an aid convoy it had helped to organise.

The commission started assessing concerns about the charity in February, shortly before it emerged that Abdul Waheed Majeed, believed to be the first Briton to carry out a suicide attack in Syria, travelled there with the convoy last summer.

Majeed drove a truck packed with explosives into the wall of a prison in Aleppo in north-west Syria on 6 February.

In March, the online giving platform JustGiving said that both it and the commission were investigating payments made to the charity.

A JustGiving spokeswoman said in March it had been made aware of concerns and was reviewing this with the regulator in line with its standard procedure.

A statement from the commission said today that its statutory inquiry, which was opened on 14 April, would investigate "serious concerns about the governance and financial management of the charity".

This includes investigation of the charity’s financial controls and examination of its "financial transactions involving the overseas operations in Syria and elsewhere".

It will also look at the charity’s due diligence and vetting procedures when administering convoys and ask whether or not its trustees have complied with their duties under charity law.

The move means the commission has four statutory inquiries open into charities raising money or working in Syria where there is a suspicion of terrorism links. A further investigation relates to terrorism but the commission cannot confirm if it involves Syria.

Since the news of Majeed’s attack, the commission has issued a regulatory alert for charities that organise aid convoys to Syria, organised workshops for charities that want to do so and lent its support to a national, police-led awareness campaign encouraging young people not to travel to the country.

A spokesman for Children in Deen said it would not make any comment at this point.

- This story was corrected on 30 April 2014. It originally said that the commission had a further two investigations relating to terrorism but not involving Syria.

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