Charity that accused Mohammed cartoon teacher of ‘terrorism’ got donation from Jo Cox Foundation

Group set up to promote vision of the murdered Labour MP gave Batley-based charity £1,000


An organisation accused of endangering the safety of a teacher who showed a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed to his class in Batley received a donation from the Jo Cox Foundation, the JC can reveal. 

The Foundation was established in the wake of the 2016 murder of the Labour MP Jo Cox and promotes her vision of uniting communities around common values.    

In March the Foundation made a donation to the Batley-based Purpose of Life charity (POL).   

This was the same month POL was blamed for endangering the safety of a teacher who had been suspended from Batley Grammar School for showing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed during a Year Nine class debate on blasphemy.  

POL founder and chief executive Mohammad Sajad Hussain accused the teacher of “terrorism” and “insulting Islam”.  He said the charity would not work with the grammar again until the 29-year-old teacher was “permanently removed” from the school as parents began an angry protest outside its gates.

The charity was accused of endangering  the safety of the teacher and reported to the Charity Commission for its “reckless” actions by the Free Speech Union but Mr Hussain was unrepentant.

Speaking on the Russian news channel RT News in March, Mr Hussain said: “This sort of sadistic behaviour in a classroom with children should not be accepted.”

He added: “People seem to be abusing the rights to free speech in this country.”

The Jo Cox Foundation’s donation to POL was used to buy a computer and printer for the charity. 

In a tweet on April, 22 - a month after the blasphemy row had engulfed the town – Purpose of Life posted: “Special thank you to …@JoCoxFoundation for donating £1,000 to help us purchase much needed equipment to manage/run POL’s foodbank!”

The post, which was re-tweeted by the Jo Cox Foundation, added: “United we stand.”

Kim Leadbeater, sister of the murdered Batley and Spen MP and Labour’s candidate in the current by-election, is an ambassador for the Jo Cox Foundation.

She has taken an unpaid leave of absence from the Foundation for duration of the campaign.  

In a statement to the JC, the Jo Cox Foundation said the donation was made on March 16, before the “incident” at Batley Grammar.

It added: “The Jo Cox Foundation awarded funding of £1,000 to the Batley-based registered charity Purpose of Life as part of a Covid grant from a local corporate partner of our Yorkshire work, PPG.  PPG stipulated that the funding was to be used to strengthen food bank provision in the area and we funded six food banks, including Purpose of Life.”

The POL twitter account this month posted a picture of controversial Batley and Spen candidate George Galloway visiting  its West Yorkshire food bank. 

The post includes the hashtags #georgegalloway #freepalestine and #palestine. 

Mr Galloway has been accused of stoking tensions over Palestine in a by-election that has become mired in division. 

Ms Leadbeater was filmed last week being heckled and chased on the campaign trail by a group of men in an incident condemned by Labour leader Keir Starmer as “disgraceful”.

The by-election takes place on Thursday, just over five years after Ms Cox was murdered by a far-right terrorist while working in the constituency.

The Foundation was set up by Ms Cox’s family and friends to create a “positive legacy” for her work. 

Its mission statement states: “Our vision is for a kinder, more compassionate society where every individual has a sense of belonging and where we recognise that we have more in common than that which divides us.”

The teacher at the centre of the blasphemy row has since returned to work.  The Batley Multi Academy Trust that runs the school found following an investigation that the “teaching staff did not use the resource with the intention of causing offence”.

Ms Leadbeater has said it was “completely unacceptable that a teacher was forced into hiding and his family were put at risk”.

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