Commission disqualifies trustee who called for senior judges to be murdered

The Charity Commission has disqualified a charity trustee who called for senior judges to be murdered and advocated an uprising against the government in Pakistan. 

In an inquiry report into Muslim Foundation UK, published today, the regulator said it had last year disqualified Pir Muhammad Afzal Qadri from being a charity trustee for 10 years after he made several public addresses in October 2018 advocating the murder of Pakistan Supreme Court judges, praising the killing of a Pakistani politician and calling for a violent uprising against the country's military and government.

The regulator said that in September 2019 it made a visit to the charity, which runs a place of worship in Nottingham with educational facilities for Muslims and non-Muslims, to examine how it had managed its response to Qadri’s comments. 

The commission said the visit gave rise to serious regulatory concerns and led to the opening of an inquiry into the charity. 

It said its inquiry found no evidence that the charity’s trustees took steps to manage the possible effects of Qadri’s comments and found that conflicts of interests and/or loyalty were an aggravating factor in their failure to act. 

The commission said it had also found that the charity, which had an income of £22,373 in the year to the end of November 2018, owed more than £100,000 to people in its community through undocumented, unsecured, interest-free loans, and was unable to provide sufficient documentation relating to the expenditure of thousands of pounds of its funds overseas. 

The regulator also found safeguarding failures, such as an apparent absence of DBS checks on those working with children, and that four out of five trustees before the opening of the inquiry in January this year were directly related to Qadri. 

The commission concluded that a lack of independent trustees was an aggravating factor in the failure to act to protect the charity in the wake of the comments made by Qadri. 

Tim Hopkins, assistant director for investigations and inquiries at the Charity Commission, said the trustees had mismanaged the charity for years. 

“They failed to take seriously the reprehensible public statements made by one of their fellow trustees, and have since been unable to provide evidence of having complied with some of their most basic legal duties and responsibilities,” he said. 

“The trustees must now enact significant improvements to their systems, policies and processes. 

“We will be monitoring their compliance with these actions and they are required to report to us on their progress”.

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