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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Muslim Aid charity relaunches in UK after finance inquiry

Financial irregularities were uncovered in overseas offices of the organisation, prompting an official inquiry into how the charity was run

Volunteers at the East London Mosque, in conjunction with Muslim Aid, pack food to feed homeless in London. REUTERS
Volunteers at the East London Mosque, in conjunction with Muslim Aid, pack food to feed homeless in London. REUTERS

A prominent Muslim humanitarian charity has relaunched in the United Kingdom under new leadership after an investigation into financial irregularities of several overseas offices, officials said on Monday.

Muslim Aid – which has income of around £30 million (Dh153.8m) a year – was placed under investigation in 2013 and underwent an overhaul of its management, according to charity officials.

An outside consultant was brought in alongside a new chief executive to run and reorganise the charity which delivers relief and works on development projects in more than 50 countries.

The inquiry was launched after problems were found in two unidentified overseas offices. It further emerged that a field office in Iraq failed to keep proper records, according to charity news website Civil Society.

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The consultant has now left the charity which is now under the leadership of a new seven-strong board. It has to introduce more changes or face further investigations, according to the UK’s charity regulator.

“Everything we do, small or big, must be to the highest standards. Second best will not be acceptable,” said new chairman of the board Iftikhar Awan in a statement.

Muslim Aid was previously run by former senior figures at the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) including its former secretary general Iqbal Sacranie. The MCB once had the ear of the British government, but were frozen out because of concerns over the group’s close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Muslim Aid, which was set up in 1985, continued to work throughout the reorganisation on crises including the Somalia famine, the fall of Mosul, helping Rohingya Muslims who were fleeing persecution in Myanmar and the survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire in the UK.

The regulator, the Charity Commission, said it would be publishing a report about the problems within the organisation and its investigation at a later date.