Stephen Bubb of AVECO has written a letter to William Shawcross which has been published in the Times and reproduced below. The response from Shawcross in which none of the critical points highlighted in Claystone’s report are responded to, is also reproduced below Bubb’s letter.
It has to be understood that the actions of the Charity Commission are part of a coordinated effort by neocons in government to utilise departments and government bodies to target the Muslim minority. With this in mind, it is necessary for those affected by the PREVENT policy, arbitrary, ambiguous and controversial definitions of “extremism” and “British values” as well as the rest of the Muslim minority to respond to this disproportionate, extra-judicial targeting of charities and individuals. This effort to “disrupt” an organisation or individual because of their faith, or political leaning must stop. I have repeatedly highlighted that the neocon threat to Britain is resulting in the very fabric of “Britishness” being torn to pieces. Human rights, democratic principles such as rule of law are constantly being eroded. Neoconservatism must be challenged and rooted.
It is time for charities and individuals to take action and ask for enquiries into the bias of Shawcross and the procedural ambiguity around the Charity Commissions determination of “extremism”.
Letters published in the Times – Source
Trust in charities is important — ‘and must be complemented by trust in the charity’s regulator’
Sir, I recently met a delegation of Islamic charities, large and small, that help vulnerable people in this country and abroad (“Charities suspected of Muslim extremist links”, Nov 17). Their work is a positive example to people everywhere, whatever their faith. If they are tainted by perception and association, their work is compromised. Ironically, such groups are our best opportunity to create a common sense of belonging and purpose that prevents radicalisation and extremism.
We require openness and sensitivity on these issues, not “zero tolerance” machismo. The Charity Commission must be transparent about how it has reached these decisions and the processes it has undertaken. Trust in charities is important, and that must be complemented by trust in the charity’s regulator. Otherwise we must consider other arrangements.
Sir Stephen Bubb
Chief executive, ACEVO
Sir, Your report and leader (Nov 17) rightly state that the Charity Commission is cracking down on extremist abuse of charities as well as other abuses. But we do not subject charities to “secret surveillance”, as your heading suggests.
When concerns are raised, we assess them against our risk framework. In some cases, we monitor charities to establish whether trustees are working in line with charity law. But that does not include the use of clandestine surveillance.
You call for greater transparency in our case work. We agree that the public has a legitimate interest in knowing about our formal investigations. That is why we announce statutory inquiries, unless it would not be in the public interest to do so, for example because it would prejudice an investigation by another agency. We also publish each year a report that includes a statistical analysis of our compliance work, including issues of concern in every investigation completed.
Chairman, Charity Commission