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Rowntree Charitable Trust defends funding Cage

This news post is over 9 years old

​Charity Commission investigates JRCT for funding controversial group which defended "Jihadi John"

England’s Charity Commission is investigating the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust for funding advocacy group Cage which last week controversially defended the Islamic State killer nicknamed Jihadi John.

The English and Welsh regulator confirmed the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Roddick Foundation are being scrutinised for providing the group with a total of £425,000 in grants.

Cage – which describes itself as an advocacy group “working to empower communities impacted by the War on Terror” - has been thrown into the spotlight over the last few days after research director Asim Qureshi (pictured right) described Mohammed Emwazi (Jihadi John) as an “extremely gentle” and “beautiful young man”.

A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said that statements made by the group "raise clear questions for a charity considering funding its activities as to how they could comply with their legal duties as charity trustees".

“I can confirm that we have compliance cases open into both the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Roddick Foundation," the spokeswoman said.

"In both cases the Commission’s regulatory concerns are about how the trustees have ensured that charitable grants made to non-charitable bodies are only used for exclusively charitable purposes in line with their objects.

“This regulatory engagement has included robustly examining each charity's decisions to previously make grants to Cage, which is not a charity.”

The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust said that grants were made to Cage in 2007, 2008 and 2011 - with the final instalment of the 2011 grant paid in January 2014.

It organisation said in response: “As a Quaker trust, we reject and condemn all violence, including all violence for political ends.

“Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust has previously funded Cage to promote and protect human rights.

“We believe that it has played an important role in highlighting the ongoing abuses at Guantanamo Bay and at many other sites around the world, including many instances of torture.

“The trust does not necessarily agree with every action or statement of any group that we have funded.

“We believe that Cage is asking legitimate questions about security service contact with those who have gone on to commit high-profile and horrific acts of violence, but this does not in any way absolve any such individual from responsibility for such criminal acts.”

A statement by Cage it had come under attack as an organisation following revelations about its connection to Emwazi.

We believe that they have played an important role in highlighting the ongoing abuses

Asim Qureshi said: "We find it bewildering that the Charity Commission would seek to undertake an investigation into our funders, particularly as they just completed one into that very same issue.

"The conclusion of the previous investigation was that there was no issue in funding Cage, but that it would be better practice for funding to be restricted to specific projects.

“We have received no further funding since that conclusion, so we cannot imagine what might have changed."

It comes as Amnesty UK, which had campaigned with the organisation on issues relating to Guantánamo and torture, said it was reviewing its association.

Kate Allen, the UK director of Amnesty, said: “We support the call for a torture inquiry. We do not support all of Cage’s views or agree with how it expresses them.

“We are reviewing whether any future association with the group would now be appropriate.”



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over 9 years ago
I don't find the response of the Joseph Rowntree Trust credible. They have not adequately explained why they are funding the extreme Islamist group CAGE. CAGE are apologists for the Taliban and ISIS and they are trying to radicalise young British muslims and turn them against the British state. CAGE might call themselves a Human Rights group but this should not be taken at face value.
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