Regulator to investigate charity after event heard ‘antisemitic chants’

14 Feb 2024 News

Qasem Soleimani with Order of Zolfaghar. Source:

The Charity Commission has opened an investigation into the Al-Tawheed Charitable Trust over an event held at its premises, which celebrated a deceased Iranian general.

It has announced a statutory inquiry after serious concerns were raised and video footage showed “antisemitic chants” being made during the event.

The charity was registered in 1994, and its purposes include promoting the Islamic faith, supporting Muslim communities and promoting recreation, sport, social and cultural activities.

The event was held by an external organisation at the charity’s premises in 2020, and the charity’s current trustees, who were not in office at the time, told the Commission the event was a religious remembrance programme for major general Qasem Soleimani.

At the time of his death, Soleimani held a senior position in Iran’s military, serving as commander of both the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Quds Force.

The regulator had previously opened a compliance case into the charity, which had an income of £19,200 in the year to September 2022, due to its concerns about the event.

When the event was held, Soleimani was subject to sanctions imposed by the UK government. The IRGC is still subject to these sanctions.

Through reviewing video footage provided to the regulator, the Commission was made aware that “speakers praised Soleimani and antisemitic chants being made during the event could be heard”.

Civil Society understands the chants heard were “death to Israel”.

“The Commission has significant concerns about these matters and will be examining what controls the charity has in place for events and external speakers,” a release from the regulator reads.

The regulator has prohibited the trustees from allowing the charity’s premises to be used by the third party that organised the 2020 event.

It is also using its information gathering powers to compel the trustees to answer questions and provide copy documents.

Commission chair Orlando Fraser last year warned charities not to “allow their premises or events to become forums for hate speech or unlawful extremism”.

Al-Tawheed Charitable Trust: Event organisers not linked to charity

The charity said: “We acknowledge the gravity of the allegations raised, and the present trustees of our organisation are fully dedicated to cooperating with the Commission in addressing their concerns.

“It is important to highlight that the trustees who held office during the events under investigation are no longer affiliated with our organisation. As the current trustees were not in office at that time, we are unable to comment on the specifics of the events or the allegations raised. We are actively working to understand and rectify the situation.”

It added that a third-party organisation with no affiliation with the charity organised the event. 

The statement adds: “Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, we are unable to provide detailed comments at this time. However, we wish to reassure the public and our stakeholders that we take these allegations seriously and are actively cooperating with the Charity Commission to address and resolve the concerns raised.

“The current trustees are resolute in upholding the charity's values and ensuring that all activities on our premises adhere to relevant regulations and ethical standards. We are confident that the investigation will conclude with a resolution that mirrors our commitment to these principles.”

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