Olive Grove Foundation has been added to the long list of Muslim charities the Charity Commission has placed under Statutory Inquiry.
In a report published by Pluto Journals in 2017 it was found that over thirty-eight per cent of all disclosed statutory investigations conducted by the Charity Commission were on Muslim charities despite representing only 1.21 per cent of the sector.
The Charity Commission has failed to understand charity law and regulatory framework not only in this premature Statutory Inquiry but also in several other similar inquiries. Several statements sent to Olive Grove Foundation as reasons for opening the Inquiry are contrary to the Commission's own rules and regulations.
Despite strong criticism, from 2012 to 2018 the Charity Commission appointed William Shawcross as its Chairman; a man who once said "Islam is one of the greatest, most terrifying problems of our future". He also defended torture as a "natural response" to terrorism, as well as the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a Muslim-only prison, long decried for keeping people never charged with crimes imprisoned for years.
The Claystone thinktank stated:
"The Commission has labelled 55 charities with the issue code 'extremism and radicalisation' without their knowledge, in the period 5 December 2012 to 8 May 2014. These charities were/are being monitored as a potential concern for matters relating to extremism and radicalisation.
There are no written criteria for applying or removing this label and thus it lends itself to non-evidence based targeting of particular groups. We don't know the criteria used to apply these extremist tags by the commission. It's all very subjective for a quasi-judicial body."
In 2018 the Commission appointed Baroness Stowell as the Chair of the Charity Commission, who during her tenure shared opinions about the charity sector that betray a basic lack of understanding of the complex, diverse sector she was charged with regulating. In February 2018 the DCMS select committee wrote to the Secretary of State intimating that they could not endorse her appointment to become Chair of the Charity Commission;
"In opposing her appointment, the select committee wrote they could not support her appointment, citing her "negligible charity sector experience", "a complete lack of experience of working for a regulatory body" and that she "was unable to withstand scrutiny".
The Commission's lack of understanding of the law and the regulatory framework was published by Directory of Social change;
"Since Baroness Stowell took over as Chair of the Charity Commission in early 2018, the public messaging from the regulator has become increasingly unmoored from its various statutory duties and everyday administrative procedures.
Speeches, interviews, press releases and blogs from senior officials seem to reflect her personal opinion about 'charity' and what's wrong with it and her interpretation of 'what the public expect', rather than an impartial or objective view based in a deep understanding of charity law and the regulatory framework."
Jay Kennedy - Director of Policy and Research
Olive Grove Foundation has initiated legal action and will publish the results in due course.
We believe that as a result of the invaluable and necessary work we have been carrying out in Palestine and Syria and our support for Al-Aqsa and the oppressed people of Jerusalem, the Charity Commission has opened a premature Statutory Inquiry into Olive Grove Foundation. In addition to this the Commission has taken out an Order restricting the movement of funds overseas which has stopped our vital work assisting the victims of wars, natural disasters and poverty. As a result many of the women, children and men who are reliant on our aid will suffer severe hardship.
Despite having no viable evidence the Charity Commission has abused its powers and halted our international operations. The alleged evidence that the Commission have put forth as reasons for opening a Statutory Inquiry and placing restrictions on the movement of funds have no merit and inshaAllah we are confident that we will succeed in proving this and henceforth have initiated legal action.
From the inception of Olive Grove Foundation not a single penny has been mismanaged or misused and every donation has reached the intended beneficiary. Despite two investigations over a two and a half year period, the Charity Commission have not been able to identify a single instance where charitable funds have been misused by Olive Grove Foundation.
We intend to keep everyone informed as key issues develop and we ask for support during these difficult times. We request our donors not to make any donations until further notice as we cannot currently guarantee that we will be able to send the funds to the intended causes.
Olive Grove Foundation
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