June 20, 2022


The Charity Commission have recently ordered the Islamic Research Foundation International (IRFL) to be wound up. This followed an investigation, started in 2020, which identified that the charity had been funding programmes that promoted hate speech and violence.

The investigation was launched when it was identified that IRFL was funding Peace TV, which had repeatedly breached the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.

The Charity Commission identified that between 2015-2020, £3.6m of charitable funds had been spent on funding the parent company which operated the licence for Peace TV. IRFL was intrinsically linked to Peace TV, even sharing a domain name and collecting donations through the Peace TV website.

Peace TV’s licence was suspended by Ofcom in 2019 following upheld complaints that some broadcasts contained homophobic and antisemitic hate speech. IRFL continued to fund Peace TV after the suspension and failed to manage conflict of interests.

Interestingly though, the Charity Commission only disqualified one of the trustees from acting shortly before the investigation launched, despite the fact that the then home secretary Theresa May excluded the same trustee from the UK in 2010 for “making statements that attempted to justify terrorist activity and foster hatred”.

But back to IRFL, and the Commission installed an interim manager in 2020, who concluded that the charity was no longer viable and an order has now been made for it to be wound up.

The Commission may need to consider further flexing of its muscles in relation to the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), following reports that the charity has been receiving funding from entities with fossil fuel interests. Extinction Rebellion have written a letter to the Charity Commission (co-signed by many MP’s, scientists and activists), accusing the GWPF of breaching the Charities Act 2011 and failing to act for the public benefit.

As you can see in an article below, the incoming Chair of the Commission, Orlando Fraser, has spoken about his desire to lead an organisation that is fair, balanced and independent. He has also spoken about the need to strike the right balance between being robust and benign and so it will be interesting to see how this is reflected in the reaction to the issues raised around GWPF.


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