Muslim charity which supported reelection of mayor Ken Livingstone linked to terrorism
January 13, 2008
NOTE: The cited letter by the British Muslim Initiative is posted at http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/open_letter/2008/01/supporting_ken_livingstone_as.html and pasted below with a "clarification" by BMI.
Muslim charity that backed Ken accused of terror links
The probe into the Ilford-based body, Crescent Relief — whose bank accounts have been frozen by the authorities — began last August and is still continuing, said a commission spokesperson. "The inquiry will focus on whether or not the charity's funds, or funds raised on its behalf, were used unlawfully. As a temporary and protective measure, the commission has frozen the bank accounts of the charity. Funds cannot be used by the charity without express permission from the Commission."
Ken Dibble, director of the commission's legal and charity-services department, said the authority was working with "law-enforcement agencies to get to the bottom of allegations of possible terrorist abuse of Crescent Relief funds. "The allegations made are very serious and we are taking action to protect the charity's funds while the investigation is under way. At this stage in such a complex and sensitive investigation it is difficult to say how long our inquiry may take."
The Crescent Relief's objectives, as set out in its entry in the Charity Commission's register, are the "relief of persons suffering from financial hardship, sickness or distress, or who are otherwise in need, in particular refugees and displaced persons from Azad [Free] Kashmir and Pakistan, and those who have fallen victim to natural and man-made disasters, and the advancement of the education of such persons".
Meanwhile, the commission said it would investigate a possible breach of its regulations by Muslim charities which declared their backing for Mr Livingstone "on all levels possible" in May's mayoral election. A Charity Commission spokesperson said they were looking into the matter "to see what, if any action, will be necessary on our part". The commission official pointed to its rule banning charitable organisations from supporting a political party. "If a charity endorses a party… it is effectively supporting the party as a whole and will be endorsing the party's policies on all sorts of things which are nothing to do with the charity's objectives. This principle is the reason why charities cannot use their resources to assist candidates at elections," reads the regulation.
In an open letter published on the Guardian's Comment is Free web pages, 63 signatories, including 16 charities, declared: "We the undersigned believe that it is in the best interest of the Muslim communities of London, and indeed all Londoners, to back Mr Livingstone in this year's mayoral election." They praised also Mr Livingstone's stand on the Middle East. "He has championed… freedom for the Palestinians and withdrawal of occupying troops from Iraq," they said.
Give Ken a third term
The interests of London's Muslim communities would be best served by re-electing Livingstone as mayor
January 3, 2008 7:00 AM | Printable versionThe Guardian (UK) http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/open_letter/2008/01/supporting_ken_livingstone_as.html
Since June 2000, Ken Livingstone has been an outstanding mayor of London. He has stood out in support of a multicultural society and has supported the Muslim communities of the city against racism and Islamophobia as well as all other minorities against all types of prejudice.
His stands and policies have constantly championed justice in the Middle East and around the world, freedom for the Palestinians and withdrawal of occupying troops from Iraq; a rare trait of modern-day public figures.
He has enhanced London's standing in the world and helped improve the lives of all of the city's communities.
For those and many more traits continuously and consistently demonstrated by the Ken Livingstone, we the undersigned believe that it is in the best interest of the Muslim communities of London, and indeed all Londoners, to back Mr Livingstone in this year's mayoral elections.
We pledge to continue our support for the mayor on all levels possible in order to secure his staying in office for a third term.
Abdi Ismail, East African Society