UK charities that raised cash for ISIS and promoted Al-Qaeda struck off
TWO British charities that raised cash for ISIS and promoted Al-Qaeda respectively have been struck of the register after separate investigations by the regulator.
POLICE HANDOUT/NC Adeel Ul-Haq was arrested in February for funding terrorism sending money to ISIS fighters
The Charity Commission has released reports on two separate organisations that claimed to be raising cash to help victims of the war in Syria, and Kurdish Muslims in Birmingham, but were in fact funding and promoting terrorists.
In one case, charities set up by Adeel Ul-Haq, 21, of Sutton-in-Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, raised money through social media that was used to buy a high-powered laser pointer, night-vision goggles and a secret waterproof money pouch.
Ul-Haq was jailed for 12 months in February after a separate police investigation found he funded terrorism by sending money to an ISIS fighter in Syria.
Ul-Haq used Twitter to appeal for cash "to help people in war-torn Syria crisis, but instead sent it to the ISIS fighter.
He was jailed for a further five years for helping another person travel to Syria.
The Charity Commission report said the regulator was unable to account for much of £12,500 raised by Ul-Haq, but at least some of it went into another unnamed person’s bank account.
NC Multiple charities assisted ISIS with funding the report found
Some of this cash was then used to buy the specialist items oneBay, that the watchdog suspected would be used for terrorism.
The inquiry was extremely concerned by the use of charitable funds to purchase a night-vision scope
The report said: "While recognising that it is not illegal to purchase such items, the inquiry was extremely concerned by the use of charitable funds to purchase a night-vision scope and its potential usage given that it can be used for hunting or surveillance."
Ul-Haq never registered any charities with the commission, but the regulator took action as he was effectively acting as an official trustee and he had taken the donations on trust that they would help people in Syria.
The regulator found Ul-Haq breached his fiduciary duty to protect and apply charitable funds for the purposes for which they were raised and that there was evidence the second trustee had committed misconduct and mismanagement by allowing the charitable funds to be mixed in the same account as her own personal funds.
The second, unnamed, female trustee was ordered to repay any other charitable money in her account to Ul-Haq’s account, which was frozen by the commission at the start of the investigation.
However, she faced no police charges.
This cash and remaining funds in Ul-Haq’s account, plus money seized in a police raid of his home, totalled about £4,500, and was donated to two genuine charities working in Syria, which the commission has not named.
Ul-Haq been disqualified from acting as a charity trustee in the future.
At least £2,000 of money had been sent to a genuine charity, it was found.
A second charity probed by the commission was the Birmingham-based Didi Nwe Organisation.
Its website featured articles by Mullah Krekar, viewed as an associate of Al-Qaeda by the United Nations.
Didi Nwe also paid £14,000 to its chair of trustees between May 2010 and February 2013 and could not explain why, according to a statutory inquiry report published by the commission.
The charity trustees were found to have committed misconduct and mismanagement, failed to keep financial records, and were unable to show how the charity was furthering its causes of providing education and relieving poverty among Kurdish Muslims in Birmingham, the report said.
The commission launched an inquiry after the charity’s chair, referred to only as Trustee A, was stopped by police returning to the UK from France with around £1,800 in cash, which he claimed were charitable donations.
The cash was later returned to the charity, but the police probe raised concerns about payments from the charity to Trustee A’s personal bank account, before the commission was alerted.
A statutory inquiry was opened into the charity in January 2013, after it was found its website contained numerous references to and articles by Krekar, an alias of Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad, who has been designated as belonging to or being associated with Al-Qaeda by the UN since 2006.
The website even contained contact details for Krekar’s and details of when to contact him.
The trustees initially said they were not responsible for the website, claiming it was established before the charity existed and they took it over, but were not technically able to update it.
They claimed they allowed previous website managers, based outside the UK, to keep running it. However, the website was registered to Trustee A’s address and had the same contact email address as the charity.
Trustees also claimed the £14,000 paid to Trustee A was for expenses, mainly a £600-a-month bill for allowing the charity to use a PalTalk chatroom website.
NC One charitable organisation who fundraised for ISIS promised the money would help Syrians
But there were no records of this decision or proof of any other expenses claimed.
It was also found Krekar used the PalTalk account to give live webinars to supporters.
The report said: "The material relating to Mullah Krekar on the charity’s website and his unfettered use of the charity’s chatroom created a link between the charity and a designated individual and risked damage to its reputation.
"The inquiry found that the trustees failed in their duty to act in the best interests of the charity as they were unable to demonstrate that they had considered the risks of permitting the charity’s website to be used as a platform for a designated individual and the potential consequences of this on the charity’s reputation."
All three trustees and the charity have been removed from the charity register.