Rizwan Hussein: Chief of Global Aid Trust 'resigns' over charity's alleged links to extremism


Kashmira Gander
Thursday 19 February 2015 01:39 GMT
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The chief executive of a Muslim charity is beleieved to have resigned, amid allegations that the organisation had links to religious extremism.

Rizwan Hussein has reportedly stepped down as head of the Global Aid Trust (GAT) charity, ahead of the broadcast of ITV’s undercover documentary Exposure: Charities Behaving Badly which investigated whether some charities were promoting extremism.

The barrister and Islam Channel presenter told Third Sector magazine that he left GAT “in connection with the documentary”.

According to the Government register of charities, the charity has five employees and 15 volunteers, and its activities include sponsoring orphans, distributing cows and sheep to families and running women’s empowerment programmes in countries such as Bangladesh and Syria.

The documentary follows an undercover reporter posing as a volunteer. At one point, the reporter is introduced to a GAT worker Shaffiq Shabbar, who tells him of his admiration for the late extremist preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who was believed to have inspired a string of terror attacks.

Mr Shabbar tells the reporter: “They spread loads of lies about him... He's a scholar and basically he was imprisoned and after he came out of prison he started to incite hatred and telling the Western Muslims to bomb. He incited bombings basically. Bruv, he was a brilliant guy though.”

The documentary also shows preacher Dawah Man speaking at an event in which he makes a series of anti-Semitic comments, and tells the audience that “America, European countries, whatever you call it, these countries are controlled by Zionists.

“If you look at the biggest bankers in the world, that fund these countries, they are Zionists, and Zionists run Israel. So we can safely say that at any time there was an American, or English or whatever, invasion of the Muslim lands, it is all a problem coming back to the Children of Israel.”

In the programme GAT said it “firmly condemns and reject comments” made by Mr Shabbar and the external speakers.

It adds: “We express our great regret at these incidents, which were the result of a process failure in the organisation.”

A source close to the charity, who did not wish to be named, told Third Sector that Hussain had been filmed secretly and said that several temporary staff featured in the programme had also left the charity.

The Government’s charity regulator, the Charity Commission, had already opened a case against GAT, has been notified of footage obtained by ITV, which showed a speaker at a GAT event appearing to make anti-Semitic remarks and offer jihadists his blessing.

The new evidence comes after the Charity Commission visited GAT’s east London premises in November 2014 after ”concerns“ were identified regarding one of the charity’s events in May 2014.

A spokesman for the Charity Commission spokesman said the organisation was “already aware that there were concerns of a similar nature” regarding “allegations of links to extremism” against the GAT.

He added that the new evidence will be considered in its current case, noting: “The claim is that they had invited external speakers to events without doing proper checks on the individuals or as to what they would be saying at the event.

“Certainly the film evidence is of someone who has been invited to an event and it is clear that a young lad has no steer about what he should be checking or asking of that person.”

They claimed that a due diligence form regarding the content of what the speaker might say was not provided when he was booked and that the staff member responsible was suspended and later resigned.

GAT has not yet responded to a request for a comment from The Independent.

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