Muslim charity event ‘boosted Cage’ and fundraised for the organisation

From The Telegraph

A Government-backed Muslim charity hosted a fund-raising event for Cage at which organisers were ordered to “lock the doors” before appealing for cash donations.

It was held after the Charity Commission ordered two charities to stop bankrolling the group amid concerns over its links with extremists.

Speakers at the meeting in Birmingham included British cleric Shaykh Zahir Mahmood, Cage founder Moazzam Begg, spokesman Cerie Bullivant and chairman Raza Nadim.

A spokesman for the charity, Muath Trust, denied it had any knowledge that the event was connected with Cage.

Mr Nadim used the event to cite an article by an imam from the Lewisham Islamic Centre in south-east London, which Fusilier Lee Rigby’s killers attended, and said: “He mentioned jihad as a noble act, and they said he is an extremist. I think jihad is a noble act. It’s one of the greatest deeds, if not the greatest deed ever a Muslim can do. That’s what’s happening to your faith, that if you don’t tackle this stuff, what will happen? They will tell Muslims this watered-down version of Islam, here’s what you can follow.” 

Mr Nadim, a member of The Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK), which has been banned from several university campuses, begged attendees to purchase Cage merchandise for sale in the venue.

Mr Nadim said: “This is the final thing that I need to move on to, and which I need to ask the fellas to lock to the doors for. If I could see by a show of hands – who here is willing and can donate to Cage today? Ask yourselves: how much money have we as a community given for the anti-Islamophobia industry?

“One of the repercussions that Cage have faced for speaking out for the Ummah and our faith has been that their bank account has been frozen. So any money that you give, please do give as cash if possible.”

The event was held at the Muath Trust’s Bordesley Centre in April last year and attended by more than 200 men, women and children. The Muath Trust was established in 1990 and describes itself as “one of the largest community led third sector initiatives in the United Kingdom”. It has received more than £130,000 in taxpayers’ money from the Government’s Big Society Transition Fund, in addition to hundreds of thousands of pounds from Birmingham city council. 

Trust chief executive Irshad Baqui denied the doors were locked and said the charity endeavoured to act “in conformity with its objectives and in accordance with the guidelines outlined by the Charity Commission.

Cage denied organising the event. But a message on its official Twitter account the day before said: “Don’t miss our event tomorrow ‘Holding onto Cinder: Our Deen & the CTS’”. Photographs taken on the evening showed the participants sitting at a table on a stage next to a Cage banner. Eventbrite, the website through which tickets for the talk were available, lists Cage as the organiser.

A Cage spokesman said that the statement about locking the doors was “humorous”, and that “jihad” meant the “struggle against injustice”.