Qadeer Baksh: I’ve been slandered by Crisis Aid with baseless accusations

Qadeer Baksh

The former CEO of Crisis Aid has said that he’s been slandered by the charity which recently dismissed him for gross misconduct.

Qadeer Baksh said the Luton-based charity had prejudiced his appeal against the dismissal by releasing a public statement which was full of “lies.”

Here is his statement (in which he categorically denies ever stealing the charity’s money) in full:

Assalamualaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Brarakatuhu Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am writing this statement in response to a press release dated on the 10th August 2020 which was circulated by the current Trustees (Altaf Khan and Nurul Islam) of Crisis Aid. This press release levelled numerous slanderous accusations against my conduct whilst involved in charitable endeavours as CEO of Crisis Aid.

I am currently facilitating an appeal against these baseless accusations; therefore, I am legally restricted in the type of response that I can give.

I will, however, state that the Trustees should have exercised better use of judgement in releasing a statement into the public sphere. There was no need to inform the public of the internal issues happening within Crisis Aid. The releasing of said statement has succeeded in tarnishing my reputation and has prejudiced my legal appeal. This in and of itself is tantamount to injustice.

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Allah says: And when you judge between people, judge with justice. Excellent is that which Allah instructs you. Indeed, Allah is ever Hearing and Seeing. (4:58)

I would like to start by directly addressing any false rumours that have circulated on any social media platforms from those who are vindictive, and also those who are just confused regarding the allegation that I stole charity money and/or orphan funds or anything remotely similar to this false accusation. The majority of these cowardly messages were anonymous and had no authors, hence should be disregarded as possessing no credibility whatsoever.

To directly address the rumour of alleged theft, I would like to state that I categorically deny this accusation in the strongest terms possible. This is a complete and utter lie. I swear by Allah and may the curse of Allah be upon me and my family if I ever stole money from the charity or even intended to steal. For those wanting to seek the truth in regards to this situation, I would encourage you to directly contact the Trustees of Crisis Aid themselves. Trustee Altaf Khan, who I am currently involved in an on-going dispute with, can himself testify to the fact that I did not steal any money.

The Trustees had an obligation to prevent Crisis Aid staff circulating these evil lies to the public but they failed to do so at numerous opportunities. This obviously leads to the question: Why? Why did the trustees fail to stop the spread of misinformation regarding one of its own? Though I cannot explain the answer to this point, it is worth noting that various people, through jealousy or spite, were happy to propagate the notion that I was involved in illegal activity and outright theft.

As Muslims when we hear bad things about a person whom we know, or false statements about our fellow Muslim brothers, we are obligated, as our duty, to rush to the defence of our fellow brother and defend his honour. This assumes a greater dimension of responsibility when we directly know of the individual and his character.

Allah says: Why did not Believers, men and women when they heard of the affair― put the best construction on it in their own minds and say “This (charge) is an obvious lie”? (Surah Noor)

Allah also says: Indeed, those who like that immorality should be spread among those who have believed will have a painful punishment in this world and the Hereafter. And Allah knows and you do not know. (Quran: 24:19)

This does, then, beg the question that if no theft of charity money occurred, then what is the current situation about?

One of the salient issues which has arisen after the intentional leaking of a private and confidential document (Barristers Report) by Crisis Aid, is that of a third-party company to which I was connected with. The leak of this confidential document is a serious incident which has brought the image of Crisis Aid into disrepute. The Trustees need to investigate this matter at once to surmise how this breach occurred.

To provide some context to readers regarding the nature of work in the charity sector and how aid work is facilitated, companies like the third party described above are used by charities to facilitate vital aid work in places they cannot reach for whatever reason. In this particular example it was for Syria. Those who know me, know that I have personally been inside Syria during the volatile and dangerous early years of the war distributing aid, establishing contacts, and building a team in remote areas whilst bombs were being dropped and bullets being fired.

There are countless videos and testimonies of those who travelled with me and embarked upon this endeavour, risking our lives in the process. I do not mention this for a false sense of pride or for any recognition. This is a pillar of my faith that I feel compelled to do when no one else does, and of course I do it out of concern for the wellbeing of the Ummah (my reward if Allah accepts it is with Him) it is merely for context I have written this.

At Crisis Aid we have a Conflict of Interest document which must be updated regularly. Because of my involvement with this third party company, even though it was in the best interest of Crisis Aid and known to the Trustees, I did not update the Conflict of Interest Register in the timely manner that I should have. I accept my mistake in this action, and take full responsibility for this oversight. I acknowledge that it was an error to keep an on-going involvement with this third party company whilst being simultaneously employed at Crisis Aid and not having the COI documents updated in a timely manner. Although it is not an excuse, the reason for this mistake was due to simple exhaustion from being over worked and plain human forgetfulness.

There are a number of important points regarding the third party company which need to be highlighted:

1) As Allah is my witness every product that was ever purchased for the people in Syria through this third party company was delivered to them.

2) The Trustees were informed and fully aware of the third party company and knew of my involvement with it.

3) Payments to the third party company were made by Trustees, not by myself. Trustees had done their due diligence on the third party company and had authorised all payments to the third party company.

4) No attempt was ever made to hide the existence of the third party company. Its purpose was legitimate and known to all. The Trustees themselves wrote to the Charity Commission explaining that this third party company saved thousands of pounds and that its use was in the best interest of the charity.

5) I have documentary evidence to prove that this third party company saved Crisis Aid over £200,000 throughout its use.

6) It is not within my contract or Job Description as CEO to organise sourcing and purchasing of goods in bulk abroad. This is the job of a Procurement Officer which Crisis Aid do not employ. Employing a Procurement Officer would cost Crisis Aid at least £40,000 per year in salary. Over a three year period this totals £120,000. It was exactly due to this reason that a third party company was knowingly used as it reduced cost and organisational administration whilst ensuring that no additional money was wasted, thus allowing us to use this money to directly support projects on the ground in Syria.

7) If my intention was to take financial advantage of the charity, I would have used the third party company for many more countries that Crisis Aid operates in. The fact that I only used it for one country (Syria) where it was directly necessary is testament to my good intent.

There are a plethora of additional points but I do not wish to extended this initial message more than I need to, and the points above more than make my case.

It is necessary to clarify that the idea of Crisis Aid was entirely altruistic in its inception; the goal was to always help those in need as a priority. As such the charity experienced phenomenal growth in a short space of time, and the learning curve was dramatic. Unfortunately, in the midst of this rapid expansion, some mistakes were made. These mistakes were not knowingly done with sinister intent or to profit as individuals, they were merely human mistakes.

The Prophet (s) said: “All of the children of Adam will make mistakes, but the best of them are those who repent”

He (s) also said: “Whoever seeks to expose his brother’s sins, Allah will expose his sins even the one he commits within his four walls.” (Muslim)

Ibn Jowzi (RH) said: “Whoever sets his tongue free to slander and speak about the honour of the Muslims and seeks their faults, Allah will hold back his tongue from professing the shahadah at the time of death.”

The correct approach in this situation would have been to conduct an open discussion in a private setting, away from the public, where dialogue could have been engaged in, thereby correcting any issues and preserving the image of brothers and the charity as a whole. This would have prevented harm to honour and blood and wealth.

The Prophet (s) said: “Verily the blood, the honour and the wealth of a muslim is haram for you all like this day (9th Dhul Hijjah) like this month ( Dhul Hijjah) like this place (Arafat)”

Sadly, in good there is always the whisper of the Shaytan, and his intention is to enter into virtue and destroy it. Due to the global good that Crisis Aid was propagating, helping millions of our needy and beleaguered Ummah across the globe, the Shaytan entered and struck at the very root of our brotherhood and organisation, in an attempt to derail the good that was being achieved.

Qadeer Baksh

He caused the brothers to hate and distrust each other using ‘jealousy and animosity’ as his tool. Shaytan has used the very same approach throughout history, for example against the brothers of Yusaf (as) to the point that they tried to kill him, throwing him into a well and leaving him to die, and these were the sons of a Prophet! Unfortunately, Shaytan was able to cause the same divides in the heart of Crisis Aid.

This situation has been a difficult ordeal for myself and my family. My name has been slandered by the public release of the press statement by the Trustees and leaking of additional documents. I have been subject to threats of intimidation and blackmail through letters, the circulation of lies and falsified documents to assassinate my character, and further threats of more leaked malicious information if I do not desist in my appeal. All this in an attempt to curb my charity work and further personal vendettas against me and my family, bringing my children and the women of my family into disrepute in the process. One must question, how is it good Islamic conduct to behave in this manner?

Certain members of staff with little experience in the charity sector some new to the organisation and all having never travelled to any country to do aid work or posses any active field experience, blackmailed and threatened to expose any errors, unless the Trustees suspended me.

The current Trustees under the instruction of a handful of staff, without considering or weighing the impact of the consequences have spent from Crisis Aid money in excess of £50,000 in legal fees to pursue these baseless matters against me. For such malicious claims as these individuals are describing, not a single penny has come from their own pockets to take this further. The option to resolve this matter internally without paying these huge costs was entirely possible but this option was never taken forward. I must question if this entire ordeal would have gained such traction if the accusers would have had to pay out of their own pockets.

Those who have supported me in these turbulent times I am very grateful to you all. I ask Allah, The Most High, to reward you all. Ameen.

Those who have slandered and conspired and back bitten me on groups or in parties or in pairs whether it be in person or on social media platforms, if you cease from this and repent to Allah, you will find me also forgiving and free of bearing any grudges. But if you decide to continue in your rage and your actions, then I am also grateful to you, since I will be asking for your good deeds on that day we should all fear, the Day of Judgement.

I ask Allah, The Most High to guide those who are filled with hate and jealousy and to bring an immediate end to this drama and fitnah. I sincerely apologise to you all for my shortcomings, I pray you will find it in your hearts to forgive me, may Allah forgive me. Ameen

Jazakallah Khair Your brother Abdul Qadir

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