Campaign Against Antisemitism has written to the Charity Commission following the resignation of the entire trustee board of Islamic World Relief.
The board of Britain’s largest Muslim charity resigned earlier this week after a new trustee-director was discovered to have a history of antisemitic posts on social media. He had been appointed to replace another trustee who had resigned recently after his history of antisemitic social media posts was uncovered.
Heshmat Khalifa was replaced by Almoutaz Tayara, who also serves as the chairman of Islamic Relief Germany. But even though the charity pledged to review its processes for screening trustees after the previous scandal “to ensure that this will not happen again”, Mr Tayara was discovered to have praised the genocidal antisemitic terrorist group Hamas as “great men” who responded to the “divine and holy call of the Muslim Brotherhood”, and also posted an image of former President Barack Obama wearing a tie branded with the Star of David.
It is understood that in 2017 Islamic Relief Germany learned of the posts after they were uncovered by a blogger, which dated from 2014 and 2015, but Mr Tayara was permitted to remain in his post on condition that Mr Tayara apologised, deleted the posts and closed his Facebook account.
Although Islamic World Relief did not apparently know of the posts until it was approached by The Times, the charity announced that the social media comments were “inappropriate and unacceptable” and that its board would resign and not seek re-election to a new board.
In our letter to the Charity Commission, we wrote: “The episode has shown that IRW’s processes are defective. Given the size of the charity and the severity of the breach, we are writing to invite you to open a statutory investigation into how IRW has been operating and whether the racist views and negligence of some of its trustees have impacted its activities. We believe that the Commission must intervene to chart a new course for IRW, rebuild the public’s trust in its work. This matter has caused considerable concern amongst members of the Jewish community who have sought our support and it is important that the Commission is seen by them to be investigating this matter thoroughly and taking action where it is needed.”
The full letter can be read below.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “The replacement of a trustee with a history of antisemitic comments with a new trustee who also has a history of antisemitic comments and the subsequent resignation of the entire board has shown that Islamic Relief Worldwide’s processes are defective. Given the size of the charity and the severity of the breach, we have written to the Charity Commission calling for a statutory investigation into how the charity has been operating and whether the racist views and negligence of several of its trustees have impacted its activities. The Commission must chart a new course for the organisation in order to rebuild the public’s trust in the charity’s work.