Regulator satisfied with Islamic Relief’s response to antisemitic comments by former leaders

Charity

The Charity Commission has declared itself satisfied with the response of Islamic Relief Worldwide to antisemitic comments made by former senior leaders. 

It comes as the charity said it had requested a meeting with President Biden’s new administration after the outgoing Trump administration urged US government bodies to review their relationships with the charity.

The commission opened a compliance case into the charity in July after claims that two senior figures at the charity had made antisemitic comments on social media. 

IRW appointed a new board of trustees in August before asking Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general, to chair an independent commission into the vetting of trustees and senior executives at the charity.

The findings of the review are due to be published at the end of January.

In November, a senior director at the charity became the third senior figure forced to step down, having posted antisemitic comments on social media in 2014.

The regulator said yesterday that the charity took swift action in light of the comments and significant improvements had been made to the recruitment and oversight of trustees and senior staff at the charity.

IRW said it accepted the regulator’s conclusions and had already begun to undertake extensive action to improve its policies and processes.

The charity has implemented actions including antisemitism awareness training for trustees and senior staff, which will be rolled out to other staff this year. 

Tim Hopkins, assistant director of investigations and inquiries at the Charity Commission, said the posts made by former senior members were offensive and risked damaging public trust in the charity.

“We welcome the improvements the charity has made to its governance so far and will continue to monitor its progress,” he added.

Ihab Saad, chair of IRW, said: “The actions of these three individuals fell far short of the standards that we expect from our organisation. 

“Their comments were deeply offensive and in clear violation of our core values and beliefs. 

“We are determined to do all in our power to make sure this kind of misconduct does not happen again.”

IRW also said it was hoping to meet the new Biden administration to discuss a statement made on 30 December by the US State Department’s Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism

It said the antisemitic posts made by former IRW leaders “causes us to question the core values of the organisation” and recommended that all US government bodies assess their relationship with the IRW.

The statement has since been taken down, after the Biden administration took over. 

A spokesperson for IRW said: “We are disappointed that in the final hours of [the Trump] administration, the State Department took the decision to attack Islamic Relief without engaging with us. 

“We have requested a meeting with the Biden administration to clarify the situation.”

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