Regulator contacts three Islamic charities about Yasir Qadhi tours

The controversial preacher is due to appear at Islamic Relief UK events later this year; the Charity Commission will also contact Muslim Aid and the Reed Foundation about a tour in 2015

Yasir Qadhi
Yasir Qadhi

This article has been amended; see final paragraph

The Charity Commission has contacted three Islamic charities about their relationship with a controversial preacher who is due to tour the UK later this month.

The Times newspaper alleged that Dr Yasir Qadhi, a US Islamic scholar, made controversial comments on subjects including homosexuality and punishment for criminals. But its story said Qadhi told it he has "never called for violence against any person or nation state".

Qadhi is due to visit the UK later this year and appear at Islamic Relief UK events to raise money for its East Africa appeal, which is helping people at risk of starvation in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

According to the Islamic Relief website, Qadhi will undertake a seven-city speaking tour of the UK between 24 April and 1 May called "21st century Muslim: A balance between hope and fear".

The tour will include visits to Glasgow, London, Cardiff, Leicester, Manchester, Bradford and Birmingham, as well as a further lecture in the London borough of Croydon.

The commission has confirmed that it has been in touch with Islamic Relief about their relationship with Qadhi.

A spokesman for Islamic Relief UK said: "Dr Yasir Qadhi is a high-profile speaker with a large international following who has spoken out consistently against terrorism, extremism and anti-semitism, and challenges Muslims to rethink old orthodoxies.

"Like all our speakers, Dr Qadhi has been through a two-stage screening process that involved checking him against more than 540 global watch-lists of proscribed individuals and organisations to ensure no terror links, then looking in detail at his views and track record in their full context through the lens of media coverage, YouTube videos and social media platforms.

"Islamic Relief abhors terrorism in all its forms and believes that anti-semitism is every bit as unacceptable as Islamophobia. We work to uphold the highest humanitarian standards of neutrality, impartiality and independence, assisting people of all faiths and none, without discrimination by race, religion, gender or sexual orientation."

The regulator has also contacted Muslim Aid and the Read Foundation about their connection to another speaking tour by Qadhi in 2015.

A spokeswoman for Muslim Aid said: "Muslim Aid was recently approached by the Charity Commission regarding the alleged sponsorship of an event that featured the international speaker Yasir Qadhi.

"I can confirm that on this occasion Muslim Aid did not sponsor the fundraising event advertised on social media and its logo was wrongly included on the poster circulated to promote the event. Once this came to our attention, we requested that the logo be removed from all marketing materials."

The Read Foundation did not supply a comment before this article was published.

This article orginally said that Islamic Relief UK was raising money for the Disasters Emergency Committee's East Africa appeal. It is, in fact, running its own appeal for the region.

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