London – CAGE supports the findings of the Claystone Report into the recent crackdown on UK charities, which has now taken the form of a draft protection of charities bill that empowers the Charity Commission to single out Muslim charities in the guise of combating “extremism”.

According to the report, Muslim charities have been disproportionately affected by investigations by the Charity Commission, with 38% of all disclosed statutory investigations initiated after January 1st 2013 and still ongoing being on Muslim charities.
The report raises particular concerns with the continued broad definition of “extremism”, the political appointment of William Shawcross to a non-partisan chair, and the resultant tendency for some organisations to be under perpetual “investigation” by the Commission.
These moves threaten civil liberties, create suspicion among British communities, and will further alienate Muslims.
CAGE issues the following statements in support of the Claystone Report:
“There is no clear definition of extremism aside from the fact that it encompasses all views that are a threat to ‘British values’, but what exactly British values are has also not been clearly defined,” says Cerie Bullivant, spokesperson for CAGE.
“In this atmosphere, the burden of proof falls on individuals and groups already disadvantaged by laws that are easily manipulated, and ideology as opposed to action becomes a crime.”
“The report raises key evidence that Shawcross’s appointment is part of a string of appointments where Conservative-backed figures were placed in offices that are supposed to be non-partisan, thereby threatening civil liberties.”
“The Muslim community has had a strong and sustained relationship with the charity sector, and charity is core to Islamic belief. Moves such as this risk being seen as an attack on Islam and will further alienate Muslims.”
“CAGE has had its own bank accounts shut down and funders investigated without being given any clear proof to justify why this is happening. This is taking place in a sector where experts have clearly stated that there are no clear links between charities and extremism.”
“Policy on charities should be simple. If the law has been broken, then the police should be contacted. The Charity Commission must not operate outside of its expertise in remit.”
“The British government must seriously review its counter terror laws, not add more. Our domestic policy is increasingly marginalising people so that they are more likely to commit violence.”
Contact:        Mr Cerie Bullivant
Phone:          +(44) 207 377 6700

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)