NSS refers 40+ Islamic charities to regulator over extremism fears

Posted: Wed, 29th Nov 2023

"Torrent" of antisemitic and anti-western sermons triggered by Israel-Hamas conflict

Junaid Dar, Hounslow Muslim Centre (Hayaa Foundation) YouTube

The National Secular Society has told the regulator that dozens of UK religious charities are fuelling division, extremism and antisemitism in the wake of the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Yesterday the NSS sent the Charity Commission for England and Wales a list of 44 charities which have published extremist lectures, social media posts or other content following the attack on Israel by proscribed Islamist terrorist group Hamas.

The NSS said it welcomed statements from Charity Commission chair Orlando Fraser last week that the commission would deal "robustly" with charities hosting antisemitic extremists.

But the NSS warned charities have been promoting extremism and division rooted in religion "for decades" and that the problem cannot be solved without reforming charity law.

All 44 charities are listed under the recognised charitable purpose of "the advancement of religion". Correspondence with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator suggests charity regulators cannot easily act against charities promoting harmful ideology when that ideology is rooted in the charity's religious teachings. This is despite a requirement for charities to provide a public benefit.

Charity: Jews "taught the world the art of deception and hypocrisy"

The 44 charities include those raised in a joint letter by the NSS and eight other organisations earlier this month, calling for an "urgent investigation" into sermons preaching "antisemitism of the most extreme kind", "glorification of terrorism" and "incitement of violence".

They also include many identified by the "Habibi" account on X, which regularly exposes extremist preachers.

Other charities include:

  • Hayaa Foundation, which funds Hounslow Muslim Centre. In a lecture which was apparently broadcast live on its Facebook page on the evening of October 7th , the lecturer Junaid Dar (pictured) says that "Bani Israel" (Israelites or Jews) in the Quran have got "too much arrogance". He adds: "Everybody is aware of the news that is taking place, there is a correlation here of the people that we are talking about". In another lecture broadcast the following week on Facebook, Dar says "it's very interesting that we're talking about Bani Israel, when we look at the world today and we see the problems that you've seen on your phones and on the screens, it's the same blood, it's the same people". He also says "our job" is to make Islam "superior over all other religions on this earth", and that one way to do this "is in the hands of the most tyrant evil people on this planet, our duty to bring nusrat [victory] to the prophet" in reference to Gaza. Many in Dar's audience appear to be teenagers.
  • The Taleem Ul Quran Trust, a charity registered in Coventry. In a video uploaded to the charity's YouTube account, the lecturer said Allah "gave success to the Afghanis who have overthrown two nuclear powers, namely Russia and America" and that he does not believe "half of the nonsense" reported about Hamas atrocities in Israel. He said "the secularisation of the world is a very dangerous thing" because when nations become secular "they're easy picking for the Shaytan (Satan) and the Zionists and the Illuminati, such evil forces". His lecture concludes with: "This is why they are all trying extra hard to suppress the Islamic wave. But the thing is when a wave rises, nobody can stop it. And this is the tidal wave of Islam. So may Allah give safety and success to the Palestinian Muslims, and may Allah defeat and do whatever he needs to do with the enemies of Islam."
  • Qur'ani Murkuz Trust, which funds the South Woodford Islamic Centre in London. A video published on the centre's YouTube account says Allah's wrath "will soon visit the oppressors and their supporters". He says the "current oppressors" are "the 27 EU countries and Israel and the USA". The lecturer continues: "Unfortunately we live in a secular world where the majority of the people don't believe in God". He says: "Those who have faith fight in the way of Allah, while those who disbelieve fight in the way of Satan. Fight then against the friends of Satan."
  • Al-Istiqaamah, a charity registered in London, which published an article on its website by Abu Moosa saying: "Jews are the people who taught the world the art of deception and hypocrisy. People learned hypocrisy only after intermingling with the Jews. People became hypocritical only after aligning with the Jews".
  • Fountains Of Knowledge, which appears to fund the Masjid Sunnah Nelson mosque in Lancashire. It published a lecture on its YouTube account in which the lecturer Abul Abbaas Naveed links the Israel-Palestine conflict to "plotting of the kuffar against Islam". Kuffar is a derogatory term for non-Muslims.
  • Jami Mosque and Islamic Centre Birmingham, which published a video on its Facebook page in which the lecturer said: "I have many youngsters here. You need to know that what is going on against Muslims". He adds "the non Muslims and those who are against Islam, they are united" and the "countries, the leaders, the media, the social media, everybody with one voice and one action, is saying, wipe them out".

The NSS told the Charity Commission that the 'advancement of religion' charitable purpose is "in dire need of review", and offered to "assist the commission in ensuring the sector cannot be exploited by those with harmful agendas".

NSS: Torrent of extremism should be "a wake up call to urgently reform charity law"

NSS head of campaigns Megan Manson said: "Many Islamic charities with antisemitic, anti-secular and anti-western sympathies have been emboldened since the October 7th attack and have stepped up their dissemination of divisive rhetoric.

"Charities registered under 'the advancement of religion' are uniquely enabled to promote regressive and hateful messages in a way they could not under any other charitable purpose. For this reason, this serious problem will continue unless charity law is fundamentally reformed to prevent the advancement of religion that is harmful to social cohesion.

"This recent torrent of extremism triggered by the Israel-Hamas conflict must be a wake up call to urgently reform charity law to ensure all charities benefit, rather than harm, the public."

Media coverage

The Telegraph: Watchdog investigates 70 charities over 'anti-Semitism and extremism' - NSS quoted

The Telegraph: Watchdog to crack down on charities hosting anti-Semitic extremists

The i: Charities that use 'inflammatory rhetoric' on Israel-Gaza could face crackdown

Write to your MP: reform charity law

Tell your MP it's time for 'the advancement of religion' to be removed as a charitable purpose. Enter your postcode below to find your MP and send a letter to them.

Tags: Charity