1. ITV Report

Exposure: Hatred and extremist views in charities

An ITV documentary has revealed hatred and extremist views in registered charities.

A year-long investigation by the Exposure programme followed three separate organisations:

  • The Steadfast Trust
  • Global Aid Trust
  • Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh UK.

Undercover filming suggests they have been involved in some uncharitable activities, with The Steadfast Trust having worrying links to the far right.

  • The Steadfast Trust

This charity describes itself on its website as "the first and only registered charity which undertakes work specifically for the English community."

Uncover filming of a non-charity event attended by a trustee of the charity and its supporters shows people shouting “white power” and “victory to the Aryan Race”.

ITV News Presenter Mark Austin reports:

The Steadfast Trust said in a statement:

Tim Hawke has been suspended pending an internal investigation.

The Trust does not share or support the offensive views expressed, some by people unknown to the charity.

We cannot be held responsible for the views, actions or political affiliations of our supporters.

We always work within charity law and all donations are used to further our registered objectives. Tim Hawke attended the event to identify whether it could benefit from a grant, he disliked what he saw and told trustees he would not attend in future.

– The Steadfast Trust
  • Global Aid Trust

The Global Aid Trust says its primary aim is "to promote education amongst the underprivileged."

But on a charity boat trip, a reporter heard preacher Dawah Man discussing jihad in Syria being an option after having launched into an apparently antisemitic speech.

In another incident an employee of the charity called Shafiq can be heard saying he admired US-born hate preacher Anwar al-Awlaki.

The Global Aid Trust told ITV they "firmly condemn" and "reject" the comments made by Shafiq Shabbar and the external speakers filmed by Exposure.

We express our great regret at these incidents, which were the result of a process failure in the organisation.

GAT no longer employs Mr Shabbar. He was a temporary worker.

Mr Shabbar indicated no extremist tendencies during his job interview, and the remit of his role was made clear to him.

As soon as [the boat trip] incident was highlighted to us we made a decision not to book Dawah Man again.

– The Global Aid Trust

In an interview Dawah Man denied his speech was antisemitic, saying he had been criticising Zionism as a political ideology, not Israeli or Jewish people.

He also denied encouraging people to go on jihad in Syria, saying he had told people not to go there in his recent videos and that jihad does not refer exclusively to fighting.

  • Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh UK

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh UK (HSS) "runs as a voluntary organisation with weekly youth leadership training centres across the country," according to its website.

But undercover filming shows children as young as 13 being taught at a summer camp organised by the charity that the number of good Muslims "can be counted on fingers".

The same tutor at the camp can also be seen telling children, "To destroy Hindu history is the secret conspiracy of the Christians," and "If it comes to Islam, they are the world’s worst religion."

The charity has since told Exposure that depicting it as "anti any religion" is "wrong and counterproductive to the positive work HSS has done in building interfaith relations."

We promote Hindu values which are about cohesiveness, duty to society and universal peace.

Our actions over the years show that HSS promotes diversity and unity in Britain.

We are investigating these alleged comments to ensure those who made them are better informed, trained or prevented from making statements which may be interpreted as anti another community.

– Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh UK

Asked about the programme's findings, the Charity Commission said they were "absolutely shocking" but said, "We don’t have a power to shut down an ineffective or a troubling charity in that way".

The Commission also said that in the draft Charities Bill it has asked for a specific power to wind up a charity that is no longer fit for purpose.

Since filming, it has confirmed it is investigating the serious concerns raised by Exposure about Global Aid Trust and HSS (UK), and that it has removed The Steadfast Trust from the Register of Charities.