Dear Mr MacGregor,
I am writing with reference to an article by your London editor, Andrew Gilligan, published on Sunday 30th November 2014 ('Terror link’ charities get British millions in Gift Aid http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/11263309/Terror-link-charities-get-British-millions-in-Gift-Aid.html).
We are concerned that this article contains a number of factual errors about our charity, Muslim Aid, which we would like to put on record. This includes inaccuracies which we have previously clarified with Mr Gilligan.
For example, his story erroneously claims that Muslim Aid, which is the UK’s second-largest Muslim NGO, has: “admitted funding organisations closely linked to the banned terror groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”
This is certainly not the case. Mr Gilligan is repeating accusations he made in a 28th March 2010 Sunday Telegraph article (Hamas link of charity praised by Brown) which both we and the Charity Commission have refuted.
Following Mr Gilligan’s 2010 accusations and a subsequent regulatory inquiry, the Charity Commission found: “no evidence of irregular or improper use of the Charity's funds or any evidence that the Charity had illegally funded any proscribed or designated entities.”
The Commission rejected Mr Gilligan’s criticism of their findings, stating: “By publishing this report, the commission has given a public assurance that public allegations of links between the charity and terrorism are unsubstantiated” (http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/charity-commission-rejects-criticism-muslim-aid-investigation/governance/article/1047280).
Finally, the £1,263,000 that Muslim Aid received in Gift Aid from the Government in 2013 was in accordance with our legal status as a registered British charity. The funds supported both administration costs and aid delivery.
May I take this opportunity to, once again, invite Mr Gilligan – and yourself – to visit our offices and also extend an invitation to view our work in the field.