NSS welcomes intervention at charity accused of promoting extremism

Posted: Fri, 18 Sep 2020

Zakir Naik

The Charity Commission has appointed an interim manager who will "consider the future viability of" Islamic Research Foundation International, a charity accused of promoting Islamist extremism.

The regulator said it had "serious concerns" about the administration of IRFI as it announced the move this week.

Earlier this year the commission opened a statutory inquiry into the charity, which aims to advance the Islamic faith by funding the Peace TV network.

The National Secular Society has repeatedly raised concerns about IRFI over the last two years.

The chair of IRFI's listed trustees, Zakir Naik (pictured), has been banned entry to the UK over security concerns.

Last year the Charity Commission said it had disqualified Naik as a trustee, but added that he was challenging the decision.

The NSS questioned Naik's involvement with IRFI in a letter to the commission in 2018.

The broadcasting regulator Ofcom revoked the licence of Peace TV Urdu's broadcaster, Club TV, last year after it found the channel had "repeatedly rebroadcast" material that incited murder.

Earlier this month Ofcom also fined Peace TV's former broadcasters £300,000 for breaches of its broadcasting code.

As part of her work the interim manager will be tasked with considering the future viability of the charity.

NSS comment

NSS spokesperson Megan Manson welcomed the commission's intervention.

"This organisation has long been a cause of concern due to its apparent promotion of extremist propaganda via Peace TV, and for having a trustee who has been banned entry to the UK over security concerns.

"If the commission's inquiry finds IRFI doesn't serve a public benefit, it shouldn't be a charity at all."

Other NSS involvement

  • In December the NSS found that the commission had received five complaints about IRFI in the last nine years.
  • The NSS also raised IRFI's record in its 2019 report For the public benefit?, which called for reform of charity law so 'the advancement of religion' was no longer a charitable purpose. (See pages 32-33 for detail on IRFI).

Image: Dr Zakir Naik, via Wikimedia Commons, © Maapu [CC BY-2.0] (cropped)

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Tags: Charity, Islam