UK charity watchdog launches investigation into event at Iran-backed mosque

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The UK charity watchdog has launched an official investigation into a British foundation formally linked to the Iranian state, which hosted an event at which anti-Semitic chants were heard.

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory investigation into the Al-Tawheed Charitable Trust (TUCF) in London.

It comes after footage taken of an event at the mosque celebrating the former Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps commander, Qassem Suleimani, who since 2011 had been subject to UK sanctions for terrorism and terrorist financing.

At the event, the anti-Semitic chant, “death to Israel”, was heard.

The UK’s terrorism laws make it an offence to encourage and glorify terrorism and carry a penalty of up to 15 years in jail.

The charity regulator said it was investigating “serious concerns over the misuse of charity premises”.

“The regulator is investigating an event that was held by an external organisation at TUCF’s premises in 2020,” it said.

“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 Qassem Suleimani, organised by a third party and not the charity itself.

“At the time of his death, Suleimani held a senior position in Iran’s military, serving as commander of both the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Quds Force. When the event was held, he 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 Charity Commission is aware that speakers praised Suleimani and could hear anti-Semitic chants being made during the event. The commission has significant concerns about these matters and will be examining what controls the charity has in place for events and external speakers.”

The regulator has exercised its protective powers to prohibit the trustees from allowing the charity’s premises to be used by the third party that organised the 2020 event.

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

Updated: February 14, 2024, 11:21 AM

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