The Charity Commission has closed its statutory investigation into the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA) after nearly three years, concluding that there had been “misconduct and mismanagement” during the formative years of the organisation.
The regulatory body opened the inquiry into IERA in March 2014 after a records inspection at IERA’s premises earlier that year.
The Charity Commission stated that, “it identified a number of regulatory issues connected to the charity’s approach and policies for organising events and inviting external speakers and its associated records and documents.”
Today, the Charity Commission published its final report into the inquiry where they concluded that during the formative years of the organisation there had been “misconduct and mismanagement” on two occasions – the filing of annual returns with some omissions, and the failure to close a company bank account that had collected donations on behalf of the charity.
IERA says that it “acknowledges this oversight” but can confirm that all their public records are accurate and up to date. Additionally, the regulatory body confirmed that the funds in the company account were used solely for charitable objectives.
In a press release issued today, IERA stated that: “The charity has robust policies and procedures in place to manage risk and has been able to demonstrate compliance. The Commission has provided further advice and guidance on this area which the charity has taken on board.”
In response to the Charity Commission’s closure of the statutory investigation, IERA’s Vice Chairman, Saqib Sattar, said: “Since the launch of IERA in 2009 the organisation underwent rapid and significant growth as the impact of our work was received positively by both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
“Being a young and ambitious organisation experiencing these ‘growing pains’ we had on occasion not managed to attain the high standards the Commission sets out in our formative years.
We are happy to report that since 2013 we have made significant progress in the quality of our governance and administration.
“The charity, as the Commission noted during the investigation wields considerable influence, which we recognise and exercise responsibly.
“We remain committed to articulating a warm, intelligent and compassionate case for Islam, in an environment of increased hostility and misunderstanding of Islam and Muslims.”
Within the Charity Commission’s report, there were no evidence to suggest that IERA were found to espouse extremist or anti-Semitic views, to have enforced gender segregation at the UCL debate between Professor Lawrence Krauss and Hamza Tzortzis, or influenced Ifthekar Jaman from Portsmouth in any way to leave for Syria and join ISIS – accusations levied by the right-wing press throughout the period of the inquiry.