March 04, 2015

U.K. Scrutinizes Grants to Group That Aided 'Jihadi John'

Britain’s charity regulator is investigating nonprofits that gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Cage, a Muslim organization that was in contact with ISIS operative Mohammed Emwazi, Reuters reports. The Charity Commission said Monday that it has opened cases involving grants from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Roddick Foundation to the London-based activist group.

Cage describes itself as a campaigner “against the War on Terror” and argues that U.S. treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and actions by American and British security agencies have radicalized young Muslims. After Mr. Emwazi was publicly identified last week as “Jihadi John”—the man seen in ISIS videos depicting the beheading of hostages—Cage publicized emails it received over several years in which the Londoner complained to the organization of harassment by security services.

The Rowntree trust, a Quaker charity, made a total of $470,000 in grants to CAGE in 2007, 2008, and 2011. The Roddick Foundation, launched by the late Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, gave $184,000 from 2010 to 2013. The Charity Commission said it had concerns over how the groups’ trustees ensured that the funds were “only used for exclusively charitable purposes in line with their objects.”

The Rowntree foundation defended the payments, saying Cage “has played an important role in highlighting the ongoing abuses” at Guantanamo and other sites where terror suspects have been held.