The chairman of the Charity Commission, Orlando Fraser, has warned, in the wake of allegations of anti-Semitism by some Muslim or pro-Palestinian groups, he will not allow “premises, events or online content to become forums for hate speech.”
Earlier this month the Campaign Against Antisemitism and eight other bodies, called for an “urgent investigation” into allegations that certain charities were hosting speakers who were espousing, “anti-Semitism of the most extreme kind” and “glorification of terrorism” following the attack by Hamas terrorists on Israel on Oct. 7.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Mr. Fraser said, “The Charity Commission is aware of a significant number of serious concerns about activities linked to the conflict in Israel and Gaza.”
“These include charities representing communities across the religious divide, although these, to date, largely concern allegations of anti-Semitic or hate speech,” he added.
Mr. Fraser said: “Charities must not allow their premises, events or online content to become forums for hate speech against any community or unlawful extremism.”
Earlier this month the culture secretary, Lucy Frazer, wrote to Mr. Fraser and said charities, “promoting extremist narratives… risk undermining our wider system of charity regulation.”
‘The Commission Will not Stand by’
Mr. Fraser told the Telegraph: “The commission will not stand by and permit charities to be abused in this way. Where there proves to have been wrongdoing, make no mistake, we will deal with it robustly.”
Suspend or remove a trustee.
Appoint an interim manager.
Remove charitable status altogether.
Mr. Fraser avoided mentioning any ongoing cases but said some charitable giving associated with the Israel-Hamas war could be, “undermined by a few individuals abusing their privileged positions to fuel division and tension.”
“The commission will not stand by and permit charities to be abused in this way. Where there proves to have been wrongdoing, make no mistake, we will deal with it robustly.”
Mr. Fraser, KC, is a commercial barrister who has been involved in the charitable sector since 1992, when he took an aid convoy to help Bosnian Muslims affected by the war in the former Yugoslavia.
Charity Closed After Vigil for Iranian Leader
Earlier this year the Islamic Centre in London closed down a few weeks after the Charity Commission appointed an interim manager in the wake of an investigation following the holding of a vigil for Qassim Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.