A Muslim charity which held a vigil for the assassinated Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani has been given an official warning by the Charity Commission over the event.
The Islamic Centre of England (ICE) hosted the vigil on January 3 for the leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards – who had been killed in a US drone strike that day – in their Maida Vale headquarters in London, with one speaker referring to him as a “great martyr”.
The following day, ICE’s director Seyed Hashem Moosavi published a statement on the charity’s website which included praise for Maj Gen Soleimani.
Maj Gen Soleimani is widely credited with masterminding the spread of Iranian influence across the Middle East, and was a key manager of Iran’s backing for Hezbollah through his leadership of the Quds Force.
He was designated a terrorist by the United States in 2005, and had been subject to financial sanctions in the UK.
ICE has now been ordered to review the content on its website and “ensure appropriate consideration is given and risk assessments conducted for any future events held at the charity’s premises”.
In its warning, the Charity Commission said that the event “risked associating the charity with a speaker who may have committed an offence under the Terrorism Acts, as the speaker was filmed during the event appearing to praise and call for support for Soleimani. The trustees failed to intervene or provide a counter narrative.”
Tim Hopkins, Assistant Director of Investigations and Inquiries at the Charity Commission, commented: “Through their actions the trustees have failed in their legal duties towards this charity, putting its reputation at risk.
“Any charity being associated with terrorism is completely unacceptable and we are concerned by the corrosive effect this might have on public confidence in this and other charities.”
ICE has been contacted for comment.