LONDON - The financial backers of a campaign group that had contact with the man later known as 'Jihadi John' are under pressure from British politicians and a regulator's investigation to explain why they gave it several hundred thousand pounds.
The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, a Quaker foundation, and The Roddick Foundation, set up by the late founder of beauty retailer Body Shop, are among those now being asked how they came to fund Cage, a small activist group that called Mohammed Emwazi, who beheaded US, British and Syrian hostages, a once "beautiful young man."
"I condemn anybody who attempts to excuse that barbarism away in the way that has been done by Cage," British interior minister Theresa May told parliament in response to the comment by Cage's research boss Asim Qureshi to media last week.
Cage was set up by a group of London Muslims with the aim of supporting British suspects being held by the United States in Guantanamo Bay. Its activists blame US and British foreign policy for radicalizing Muslims and accuse the security services of harassing those who refuse to be informants.
Britain's Charity Commission, a government-backed regulator, has launched an investigation into whether Cage's funders had ensured that their money was only used for purposes in line with their objectives. The Commission said in a statement on Monday that it had compliance cases open into the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Foundation and the Roddick Foundation.