UPDATE: you can also read George Conger’s article at Religious Intelligence.
In The Church of England Newspaper this week , George Conger writes:
“A member of the Interfaith Group for Morally Responsible Investment (IMRI) has come under sharp criticism from the Charity Commissioners and has been ordered to break off relations with an organization headed by radical Muslim cleric Yusuf Al-Qaradwi.
The trustees of Interpal—which has been banned in the US, Canada and Australia for its links to the terrorist group Hamas—had “not taken sufficiently rigorous steps to investigate allegations about some of their partner organizations”; had not “put in place adequate due diligence and monitoring procedures to be satisfied that these organisations were not promoting terrorist ideologies or activities”; and had “not adequately managed” its relationship with Al-Qaradwi’s “the Union for Good.”
The Charity Commissioners “concluded that the charity’s continued membership of the Union for Good was not appropriate.” However the commission said there was insufficient evidence presented to its investigators to substantiate claims that beneficiaries were promoting terrorism.
Interpal and the IMRI have been at the forefront of lobbying efforts before the Church of England’s Ethical Investment Advisory Group and General Synod calling for divestment from Israel.
A London-based charity set up in the early 1990’s to provide healthcare to refugees in the West Bank, Interpal was investigated by the Charity Commission in 1996 and in 2003 after allegations that it its funds were sent to Hamas, and the current investigation was prompted by a 2006 Panorama programme which reported that some of its funds had gone to Hamas supporters. No evidence however has been unearthed by the Charity Commissioners in support of these charges.
However in 2003 the US and Australian governments banned Interpal followed by the Canadian government in 2006, stating they believed it to be a front organization for Hamas and terrorist financing.
While it could not substantiate these charges, the Charity Commission said Interpal “must disassociate itself” from the Union for Good led by Al-Qaradawi. Its association with Al-Qaradwi, who “promoted violence as a legitimate form of resistance in support of the Palestinian cause” was questionable the commission said.
The Rev. Stephen Sizer, vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water told The Church of England Newspaper, that although he could not speak for IMRI, “for the third time the Charity Commissioners have vindicated Interpal and I am delighted to be associated with their charitable and humanitarian work. “
The inquiry found that “there has been nothing brought to the inquiry’s attention that suggests that the charity’s funding has been siphoned off for inappropriate or non-charitable purposes,” he said. “Please can we leave these folk to get on with their vital humanitarian work?”
Here’s Yusuf al-Qaradawi praising Hitler:
At Harry’s Place, Habibi notes that:
Essam Mustafa, a Vice Chairman at Interpal, is also the Secretary General of the Union for Good.
Habibi also gives us further cause for concern about IMRI, exposing the extremism of Interpal chairman Ibrahim Hewitt, and drawing attention to the fact that Interpal’s Manchester represenative Majdi Akeel is still apparently a Hamas party member.