Scottish Daily Mail

Charity is forced to stop funding jihadi backers

Victory for the Mail as donations to warped campaign group stop

- By Stephen Wright

A CHARITY that funded the human rights group which described Jihadi John as a ‘beautiful young man’ has been forced to halt further donations.

The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust had made sixfigure donations to Cage, but its links with the ‘warped’ campaign group prompted outrage from Westminste­r and the threat of a Charity Commission inquiry.

The Mail has also highlighte­d criticism of Cage and its pronouncem­ents about Jihadi John, identified as Mohammed Emwazi, for the past week.

Last night, the Rowntree Trust reluctantl­y agreed to stop bankrollin­g Cage after officials at the Charity Commission – furious over Cage’s support for the IS killer – threatened a statutory inquiry into its leadership if it refused to give ‘ unequivoca­l assurances’ it would withdraw funding.

Cage caused outrage last week over its attempts to justify the killings meted out by Kuwaitibor­n Briton Emwazi, because he had claimed to have been harassed by MI5.

The campaign group gave an extraordin­ary press briefing about Emwazi – carried live at length on the BBC and Sky – after he was identified as the man behind the mask of Jihadi John.

Asim Qureshi, its research director, described one of the world’s most wanted terrorists as a ‘beautiful young man’, ‘extremely gentle’ and ‘the most humble young person I ever knew’.

The 32-year-old blamed British security services for Emwazi’s radicalisa­tion, saying he had tried to fit in but had been made to feel like an ‘outsider’.

The group has been propped up largely by grants from the Trust since 2007, making a combined total of £305,000. The trust said its last grant payment to Cage was in January 2014.

A separate charity, The Roddick Foundation, has also handed over £120,000 to Cage. The Charity Commission wrote to the Rowntree and Roddick charities on Monday, giving them 24 hours to provide unambiguou­s assurances they would stop funding Cage.

While officials at Roddick gave ‘ immediate’ guarantees they would pull the plug, the Rowntree charity dragged its heels and agreed to stop funding Cage only after the Charity Commission threatened to launch an inquiry into how it is run.

A source said Rowntree complained of ‘unpreceden­ted regulatory pressure’ when they eventually backed down. They added: ‘Very reluctantl­y, and with very little grace, Rowntree caved in at the 11th hour.

‘It is extraordin­ary how they dithered over whether Cage was a suitable organisati­on to fund.’

The Daily Mail has learned that Rowntree had been due to make further donations to Cage. It declined to comment.

The Charity Commission started investigat­ing both the Rowntree and Roddick charities over their funding of Cage in 2013. Much of the rest of its income comes from cash donations from Muslims.

Last week Lord Carlile, a former independen­t reviewer of anti-terrorrism legislatio­n, said he had serious concerns about Cage. ‘Cage is an organisati­on with a warped view,’ he declared.

Sources at the Charity Commission believe officials at Rowntree may have been ‘duped’ when they agreed to support Cage.

In a statement Rowntree said: ‘In the last week we have been put under intense regulatory pressure to rule out any future funding of Cage regardless of any future changing circumstan­ces.

‘In the light of regulatory pressure, and to protect the interests of all our grantees and the other work of the Trust, we have decided to confirm we will not fund Cage either now or in the future.’

A Charity Commission spokesman said: ‘Public statements by Cage officials heightened concerns about the use of charitable funds to support their activities.

‘In these circumstan­ces, [we] required unequivoca­l assurances from the two charities that they have ceased funding Cage and had no intention of doing so in the future.

‘We are glad that both The Roddick Foundation and The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust have ceased funding Cage.

‘However, The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust did not initially provide an unequivoca­l assurance that it would not make any future grant to Cage.’

Comment – Page 18

‘A beautiful young man’

 ??  ?? Outrage: Cage’s research director Asim Qureshi, left, at a press conference about Jihadi John last week
Outrage: Cage’s research director Asim Qureshi, left, at a press conference about Jihadi John last week
 ??  ?? Killer: Mohammed Emwazi
Killer: Mohammed Emwazi

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