Around £6 million of taxpayers’ money is being handed each year to Islamic charities with extremist tendencies, “whose only goal is to damage our society” in some cases, a report has found.
The report, by The Henry Jackson Society, accuses some taxpayer-supported groups of backing “the spread of harmful non-violent extremist views that are not illegal; by providing platforms, credibility and support to a network of extremists operating in the UK”.
The document, titled Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing: How Islamist Extremists Exploit the UK Charitable Sector, says that the £6 million “is likely the tip of the iceberg”.
The author studied 30 charities and highlights several cases, including one organisation, the Islamic Research Foundation International (IRFI), which is chaired by Zakir Naik, an Islamic fundamentalist hate preacher who was banned from entering Britain by Prime Minister Theresa May when she was Home Secretary.
Another one, Helping Households Under Great Stress (HHUGS), is allegedly “an institutionally problematic charity, with extreme and illiberal individuals involved at all levels”.
It was registered with the Charity Commission in 2006 with the aim of “relieving the financial and emotional hardship of Muslim detainees/former detainees and families”.
The charity holds segregated, men-only fundraising events and invited Ahmad Jibril, a U.S.-based preacher who allegedly inspired one of the London Bridge terrorists, to speak at one of their events in 2013.
The money is enough to fund 1000s of hospital beds, teachers’ salaries or soldiers’ wages. But instead it is being handed over to individuals some of whose involvement in extremism can be traced back to the Islamist scene in the early 2000s pic.twitter.com/tHNB8pIpzs
— Henry Jackson Society (@HJS_Org) February 25, 2018
The report says that “figures from across the Islamist spectrum, including the Muslim Brotherhood” are active in the charity sector. The Muslim Brotherhood has been linked to the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), the UK’s largest Islamic umbrella group and also a registered charity.
Commenting on her report, Emma Webb, Research Fellow at the Centre for the Response to Radicalisation and Terrorism at The Henry Jackson Society, said:
“At a time of controversy over the size and capabilities of Britain’s Armed Forces and the pressure faced by public services, it is outrageous that millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is unwittingly being handed over to extremists whose only goal is to damage our society. The £6 million figure is a minimum, with the evidence suggesting that this is only the tip of the iceberg.
“This report illustrates how these charities operate like a cartel, with extremist speakers involved in multiple organisations, presenting themselves as the voice of ‘true’ Islam and squeezing out moderate voices. The charities give them a platform, disseminating their literature and giving them credibility and access.
“Charitable status is not a right, it is a privilege. The public correctly expect that charities should work for society, not against it.
“Action is needed now if we are to stop this network of Islamist extremists from continuing to use charities and taxpayers’ money to fund the spread of divisive, illiberal and intolerant views within our own communities.”
HHUGS told The Times it had a healthy relationship with the Charity Commission. It added: “Hhugs has a risk-assessment policy in place to which all speakers are subjected.”
The IRFI said: “These are historic, unfounded and politically motivated accusations thrown into a speculative report, which are in no way reflective of the inclusive, harmonious nature of our charity.”