April 20, 2014
Islamist extremism is the “most deadly” problem charities face, the chairman of the sector’s watchdog has said. William Shawcross, who took on the role at the Charity Commission in October 2012, said it was “ludicrous” that people with convictions for terrorism or money laundering were not automatically disqualified from setting up charities or becoming trustees.
He said he has written to the prime minister, David Cameron, to ask for changes to the law and that the commission was taking tough measures against any charity that was “sending cash to extremist groups in Syria” or “dispatching young Britons for training in Syria by al-Qaida or other extremist groups”.
In February the watchdog was condemned as “feeble” and “not fit for purpose” following an investigation by MPs into its performance. The public accounts committee, chaired by Labour’s Margaret Hodge, found the Charity Commission had failed to act robustly to deal with clear cases of abuse and the cross-party group of MPs said they had “little confidence” in the body’s ability to address its shortcomings.