Charity Commission launches probe into mosque that hosted hardline Iranian cleric

Ayatollah Hadavi Tehrani recently addressed Tehran-funded Islamic Centre of England


The Charity Commission has launched a statutory inquiry into the British outpost of the Iranian regime, the Islamic Centre of England (ICE), the JC can reveal.

The body, which is funded by Tehran and based in central London, recently hosted hardline cleric Ayatollah Hadavi Tehrani, who wrote a screed blaming Jews for the plight of the Muslim Rohingya in Myanmar.

ICE has also helped organise London’s annual Al Quds day parade, an event founded by Iran’s revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini which has featured calls for Israel’s destruction.

The JC understands that the commission’s inquiry — the strongest sanction it has available — was triggered when ICE director Seyed Moosavi described those currently taking part in huge protests across Iran as “soldiers of Satan” in a speech last month.

The protests took off after Mahsa Amini, 22, died in custody after being arrested by Iran’s morality police for refusing to wear the hijab.

An ICE meeting on Islamophobia last month featured an online talk from Tehrani, one of Iran’s most senior clerics. In 2012 he wrote an essay that blamed Jews for the massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, saying that “the Jewish hand emerges from the sleeves of the Buddhists in Burma,” and that “Zionists” were responsible for the “spilling of innocent blood”.

The Charity Commission reviewed the activities of the ICE in 2020 after the centre organised a 2,000-strong vigil for the Iranian terror mastermind

, the head of the Islamic Republic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) who was assassinated in a US-led drone attack.

Mr Moosavi, who is also the personal UK representative of Ayatollah Khamenei, has described Soleimani as a “martyr” and a “dedicated soldier of Islam”, who died at the hands of “the wickedest people on Earth”. The JC has seen Mr Moosavi’s social media feed, in which posts venerating Soleimani still figure prominently.

That initial review led to a formal warning from the commission, which found the vigil “risked associating the charity with a speaker who may have committed an offence under the Terrorism Act, as the speaker was filmed . . . appearing to praise and call for support for Soleimani”.

Charity Commission documents make clear that in a statutory inquiry it has sweeping powers to investigate whether a charity has done anything that “may cause charitable resources to be misused” and whether charity trustees have “carried out their duties and responsibilities under charity law”.

Steve McCabe, the chairman of Labour Friends of Israel, told the JC: “The government must launch a full, urgent investigation into this organisation’s relationship with the Iranian regime. I hope that the government will seize this opportunity to make clear that the UK will not be a safe haven for the Iranian regime’s hateful propaganda.”

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith added: “It is time to act — not merely to remove the ICE’s charitable status, but to close it down. We are rightly planning to close China’s Confucius Institutes at British universities, but China and Iran are both part of an axis of totalitarianism that should have no place here.”

Maryam Namazie, a leading UK-based Iranian feminist, echoed his call, saying: “ICE is the mouthpiece of the Iranian regime. For sure it has to be shut down. So many young people have been killed and it’s important that the protests get international support.

Closing the ICE would send a hugely important and encouraging message: that there is no place in Britain for Iran to promote its propaganda.”
The JC has approached the ICE for comment.

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