The British advocacy group Cage, which caused controversy earlier this year through its links to the ISIS murderer ‘Jihadi John’, has launched a legal action against Britain’s voluntary sector regulator, the Charity Commission.
The group, which says it works “to empower communities impacted by the War on Terror” is bringing a judicial review against the regulator, a process which can take months. It claims the regulator has exceeded its role and acted like “counter-terrorism police.”
Cage, formerly known as CagePrisoners before a rebranding exercise, is not a charity but used to receive donations from grant-making charities like the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Roddick Foundation. The Guardian reports Cage claiming the Charity Commission pressured those organisations and others into cutting their donations to the group, warning that continuing to fund it risked damaging public trust in charity.
Cage says it has been “campaigning against the War on Terror for more than a decade,” but others see it as an apologist group for terrorism, with its roots in helping former Guantanamo detainees and people charged by the British government under the Terrorism Act.
Writing for The Telegraph last year, counter-terrorism expert Douglas Murray described Cage as “a pro-terrorist group, not a human rights group.”
Reliant on donations for its advocacy work, Cage now says it is struggling to fund its activities. It claims the regulator’s actions have caused a “chilling effect” on the voluntary sector leaving it reluctant to engage with controversial issues.
Cage spokesman Ibrahim Mohamoud said: “The Charity Commission appears to be assuming the role of counter-terrorism police rather than a charity sector regulator. Charities must be able to function with a regulator that does not create a climate of fear and undermine the fundamental freedoms of expression and association.”
Cage gained notoriety earlier this year when its research director, Asim Qureshi, described the man known as ‘Jihadi John’ in glowing terms.
He claimed that Mohammed Emwazi was radicalised into becoming the ISIS executioner by MI6. Qureshi described him as “extremely gentle, kind… a beautiful young man.” In reality Emwazi is the man seen in several ISIS propaganda videos beheading prisoners.
The Charity Commission has said it is considering the claim.