UK & World News
Islamist Extremism 'A Deadly Problem For Charity'
A charities' watchdog has warned that Islamist extremism is the "most deadly" problem the sector faces.
William Shawcross, chairman of the Charity Commission, said it was "ludicrous" that people convicted of terrorism offences or money laundering are not barred from setting up charities.
He told The Sunday Times the commission was taking action against any charity that was "sending cash to extremist groups in Syria" or "dispatching young Britons for training in Syria by al Qaeda or other extremist groups".
He said: "The problem of Islamist extremism and charities... is not the most widespread problem we face in terms of abuse of charities, but is potentially the most deadly. And it is, alas, growing.
"I'm sure that in places like Syria and Somalia it is very, very difficult for agencies always to know what the end use of their aid is, but they've got to be particularly vigilant."
In February, the Charity Commission was criticised as "feeble" after an investigation by MPs on the Public Accounts Committee, which found it had failed to act robustly on clear cases of abuse.
Mr Shawcross described the criticism as "completely wrong", but said the watchdog needs better funding and legal powers to improve its function.
He added he had written to the Prime Minister asking for legislation to strength its powers.