The trustees of an Islamic charity which was used “for terrorist purposes” have been disqualified and the organisation has been dissolved, following a Charity Commission inquiry.
The trustees of Fazal Ellahi Chartiable Trust, which ran a mosque in Stoke on Trent, “failed to manage the charity’s resources appropriately” and “their failure to do so facilitated their use for terrorist purposes,” according to the regulator’s report on their inquiry, which concluded last week.
It comes after the regulator opened an inquiry into the charity in April 2018, after the charity’s Imam, Kamran Hussain, was charged for encouraging terrorist activity linked to Islamic State through a series of sermons delivered in 2016. He was sentenced to 6 and a half years in prison.
The inquiry found that there were no safeguarding measures in place at the charity, despite it working with children, and that there was bad financial management, meaning the Commission was unable to calculate the charity’s income.
It found that the charity had only two trustees, who were related, and who did not cooperate with the inquiry as they failed to provide the regulator with documents and reports asked for.
The charity had also continued running, despite it being removed from the register in 2009 due to a failure to submit annual returns.
Michelle Russell, director of investigations, monitoring and enforcement at the Charity Commission said: “What has happened at this charity is unacceptable and a clear failing on the part of the charity’s trustees as custodians for their charity. Our actions will reassure the public that abuse of this kind will not be tolerated.”
She added: “Whilst instances of abuse of charities for terrorism are rare, such links undermine public trust and confidence in charities, and the vital work that charities do. It is right that those responsible have been held to account for their actions.”
During the inquiry, the regulator froze £160,000 in the charity’s bank account and appointed an interim manager. Following the trustees’ disqualification, the manager dissolved the charity in February and distributed £132,000 to five charities in the area.