Cage takes Charity Commission to court

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​Group accused of defending Jihadi John says regulator exceeded its role

5th June 2015 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Controversial advocacy group Cage is taking England’s Charity Commission to court over claims it forced groups to stop funding it.

Cage, which is not a charity, was accused of backing terrorism earlier this year after it openly defended the British citizen Mohammed Emwazi, also known as the Islamic State executioner “Jihadi John”. 

The organisation, which describes itself as “an independent advocacy organisation working to empower communities impacted by the war on terror", sparked outrage after it suggested that harassment by MI5 had contributed to Emwazi’s radicalisation.

Shortly after this the commission undertook compliance cases against two of the Cage’s funders – the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRT) and the Roddick Foundation.

Consequently JRT said it had been put under intense regulatory pressure by the regulator to stop funding Cage.

The group’s submission to the high court claims the commission wrote to other charities warning them against supporting the charity. 

The Charity Commission appears to be assuming the role of counterterrorism police rather than a charity sector regulator

These actions, said Cage, exceeded the commission’s remit and violated the freedoms of expression and association of both the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Roddick Foundation.

It also says it has since found it difficult to open a bank account.

“The Charity Commission appears to be assuming the role of counterterrorism police rather than a charity sector regulator,” said Ibrahim Mohamoud, a spokesperson for Cage.

“Charities must be able to function with a regulator that does not create a climate of fear and undermine the fundamental freedoms of expression and association.”

A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said: "We can confirm that the Commission is aware of this legal claim and that we are considering it carefully. We cannot comment further at this stage.”

A spokesman for the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust said: "The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust is aware that Cage has independently commenced judicial review proceedings against the Charity Commission.

"This is a matter between Cage and the Charity Commission.”