UK charity loses government funding over alleged links to Hamas, Brotherhood

By JERRY LEWIS
January 13, 2015 04:51

The Muslim Charities Forum has acted as an umbrella group for Muslim aid organizations that operate in 71 countries, with a combined income of £108 million.

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Muslim Brotherhood

The Rabaa sign is flashed, symbolizing support for the Muslim Brotherhood. (photo credit: REUTERS)

LONDON – The Muslim Charities Forum has been stripped of £250,000 ($380,000) funding by Britain’s Communities Secretary Eric Pickles after its alleged links with extremist organizations were discovered.

The UK charity had been given the funds for running a major faith project, but when Pickles was advised of its alleged involvement with Islamic extremism, including Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, initially uncovered by the Daily Telegraph, further government investigations followed. This triggered wider concerns and criticism of its links, including the use of extremist speakers around the UK.

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Pickles told the Sunday Telegraph he was determined to cut off funding to any group that is linked to “individuals who fuel hatred, division and violence.”

Established in 2007, the Muslim Charities Forum has acted as an umbrella group for Muslim aid organizations that operate in 71 countries, with a combined income of £108 million. It supports member groups by acting as a voice for the sector and by providing training, research and a central point of contact for other Muslim organizations.

Following the terrorist murder of British soldier Lee Rigby, killed in a frenzied stabbing attack in broad daylight in a South London street in May 2013, the MCF was awarded a contract to run a government scheme intended to foster integration among minority faiths, improve the treatment of women and reduce youth crime as part of the government’s response to that cold-blooded killing.

Pickles said that a Whitehall review of the MCF found that besides a record of poor performance, it was unable to provide assurances about the activities of its member charities and that it had previously been warned over concerns about its links to unnamed radical speakers.

The Telegraph disclosed last September that several member charities of the MCF were early members of a group called the Union of Good, a fund-raising body with close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was created to raise money for Hamas. The United States has designated the union a sponsor of terrorism, saying it is an “organization created by the Hamas leadership to transfer funds to the terrorist organization.”

Last year, Prime Minister David Cameron launched an inquiry into the Muslim Brotherhood, prompted by concerns it was stoking Islamism that had encouraged British jihadists to fight in Syria and Iraq.

The Brotherhood insists it is nonviolent and seeks to impose Islamic rule only through democratic change.

But the Whitehall investigation identified “an incredibly complex web” of up to 60 organizations in Britain, including charities, think tanks and even television channels, with links to the Brotherhood, all of which will now come under intense scrutiny.

The MCF’s spokesman rejected the criticism, saying the group was “considering all options available to contest the government’s decision and allegations” adding they were also “extremely disappointed.”

Mark Gardner, communications director at the Community Security Trust told The Jerusalem Post they welcomed the government’s determination to ensure that it only gives funding to the correct groups.

“They have clearly investigated this Muslim Charities Forum and have found it not to meet the required standard.

It is an important statement of intent,” he said.


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