Britain’s Charity Commission has removed the trustees of an East London mosque and is preparing to replace them with its own candidates after an investigation into allegations the organisation is being used to preach extreme Islam.
The Masjid and Madrasah Al-Tawhid Trust, a charity which funds and controls the Salafist ideology Masjid al-Tawhid mosque in Leyton, East London, has been under investigation by the charity commission since 2012 over allegations it had links to terrorist and extremist groups. Although the local Muslim community dismissed the accusations as stemming from bitter former members of the mosque spreading lies, the Charity Commission has now found grounds to remove a group whose claim to control the charity was substantiated by “procedural flaws”.
The Charity Commission has selected Mr Mehmud Patel, Mr Muhammad Idrees Sethi, Mr Mohamed Patel, Dr Suhaib Hasan, Dr Liaquat Ali, and Mr Muhammad Tahir to run for charity for the next twelve months and to “complete a number of activities which are expedient in the interest of charity”. The appointment suggests the commission has decided to allow the charity to continue its existence and not to strip it of its status or take away the mosque under its control, all options thought available to them.
The al-Tawhid mosque has long been a source of controversy, welcoming a range of extremist speakers to address the congregation. A 2012 BBC London feature made when the enquiry started reported that extremist preacher Abu Qatada, deported from the UK for terror offences in 2013 has spoken there several times, as had senior Al-Qaeda man Anwar al-Awlaki. al-Awlaki, who prosletysed and recruited for al-Qaeda in Europe as well as wrote the terrorist organisation’s propaganda magazine Inspire, was killed by U.S. drone strike in 2011.
Despite being under investigation, the flow of extremist-linked speakers does not seem to have stopped. As recently as this January, the mosque advertised on its Facebook page for an upcoming event including white Muslim convert guest speaker Wasim Kempson. Kempson, who has a BA Hons in Shari’ah from the Madinah Islamic University in Saudi Arabia has called for the release of Aafia Siddiqui, known as ‘Lady al-Qaeda’, who is serving an 86 year sentence in the United State for Islamic terrorism. According to court documents, she had been planning “high casualty” attacks against New York landmarks such as the Empire States building and the Statue of Liberty, and shot at FBI officers with an M4 assault rifle.
Kempson has been a regular speaker at extremist-linked events, including symposia hosted by discredited British Muslim group CAGE. Originally understood to be a Muslim rights advocacy, the group is now better known for acting as an apologist for Islamic State killer Jihadi John, calling him “such a beautiful young man”. In subsequent television interviews given earlier this year, the director of CAGE refused to condemn the practice of Female Genital Mutilation, and stoning women for adultery.
A Muslim advocacy group that Kempson runs has in the past criticised the conviction of Munir Farooqi for solicitation to murder because the evidence against him was amassed by undercover police officers.
Members of the public have until mid-August to write to the commission to make any objections they may have about the new trustees known.
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