Update : The Commission has completed their review of the received representations, and has decided to proceed with the appointments as planned.
In 2012 a statutory investigation commenced into Masjid & Madrasah al-Tawhid based on allegations of extremism, that the Masjid strongly denied. These allegations were made in the midst of a dispute over who were the rightful Trustees of the Charity. Some of the allegations were made by Usama Hasan, disgraced former Trustee.
As part of this investigation, the Commission determined that due to some irregularities in Trustee re-appointments in 2003, none of the current Trustees were valid. The Commission recognised the current management of the Masjid as a caretaker management until the completion of this investigation.
The Commission has now issued the following statement, which indicates their intent to re-appoint the six named individuals as Trustees. Comments from the community are requested on the suitability of these nominated persons for re-appointment.
Masjid and Madrasah Al-Tawhid Trust – Notification of decision to appoint interim trustees
In accordance with the provisions of s89(2) Charities Act 2011, the Charity Commission (‘the Commission’) hereby gives public notice of its intention to appoint interim trustees to administer the registered charity the Masjid and Madrasah Al-Tawhid Trust (1070735) (‘the Charity’).
On 4 May 2012, the Commission opened a statutory inquiry (‘the Inquiry’) into the Charity under s46 of the Act, to investigate allegations that the Charity had been or was at that time being used as a platform by individuals to promote and/or express extremist views and ideologies .
At the onset of the Inquiry it was also identified that a dispute was on-going at the Charity and that two separate groups of individuals were claiming to be the rightful trustees of the Charity. As part of the Inquiry, in an effort to regularise the Charity’s governance, the Commission identified that due to a number of procedural flaws the terms of office of those claiming to be the trustees had expired, which includes those being considered for appointment by the Commission as the interim trustees.
The 6 individuals that the Commission now proposes to appoint as interim trustees for an in initial period of 12 months, which is subject to them complying with a supplementary order directing them to complete a number of activities which are expedient in the interest of charity, are as follows:
Mr Mehmud Patel,
Mr Muhammad Idrees Sethi,
Mr Mohamed Patel
Dr Suhaib Hasan,
Dr Liaquat Ali
Mr Muhammad Tahir
Members of the public are now invited to make representations to the Commission in relation to its proposal to appoint the above named individuals as interim trustees of the Charity. Members of the public have until 5pm on 20 August 2015 in which to submit any representations they wish to make about the suitability of these individuals to be appointed as trustees. Where representations are made the Commission will consider those representations before making its final decision.
As you may know, back in May 2012 a statutory investigation was started by the Charity Commission into the Masjid Trust. This was based on claims by a former trustee, and others, that the masjid was being 'taken over by extremists'. Please see this press relase for details.
This investigation into allegations of 'extremism' within the masjid was later broadened into a general investigation into the running of the Charity. As a result of this general investigation, the Charity Commission determined that there had been some irregularities in the appointment of trustees in 2003 and onwards. Based on this, they declared that all existing trustees' trusteeship was nullified, but they allowed the trustees in office to continue their day-to-day business until a new trust could be appointed by the Commission. There has as yet been no change in the current management of the masjid, which continues as it has been for the last two years.
So far the Charity Commission has not commented upon the recent dispute in trusteeship of the masjid, or on any elements of extremism. They are due to release a full formal report of their findings in the near future.
In order to rectify this situation where currently there are no legally appointed trustees of the masjid, the Commission has decided to interview six of the original trustees to re-appoint them as trustees of a new Trust. These six are Mehmud Patel, Muhammad Idrees Sethi, Mohamed Patel, Suhaib Hasan, Liaquat Ali and Muhammad Tahir.
Once these six trustees are appointed, they will then need to appoint four more new trustees in order to bring the trust back to ten members, as required by the masjid constitution.
We ask Allaah 'azza wa jall to bring a swift end to this investigation, to clear the name of the Masjid from these allegations, and to grant the Masjid Trust a bright future serving the religion of Allaah and the local community in the best way possible.
24th September 2012
Masjid & Madrasah al-Tawhid is one of the larger mosques in Waltham Forest, with a large and varied community. The Masjid subscribes to the Ahl-e-Hadeeth school of thought. The Masjid urgently requires a learned, dynamic and approachable scholar or student of knowledge to take up the position of Head Imam at the Masjid.
The position will require leading prayers and being at the Masjid from 'Asr till Isha for 6 days a week. The candidate will be required to give the jumu'ah khutbah on alternate weeks, as well as Eid khutbahs. When required, the janazah prayer must be performed, as well as the performance of Nikah Ceremonies. The successful candidate will be fluent in English and Arabic, and knowledge of Urdu or Somali will be useful.
The candidate must be able to engage with all sections of the community, particularly the youth, and must be highly motivated to spread the true teachings of Islam based on the Qur'an, the authentic Sunnah and the Understanding of the Companions and the Pious Predecessors. He must have a good understanding of current affairs and our position as Muslims in Britain in the 21st Century, and be able to present Islam in this context. He must have demonstrable scholarship of the Sharee'ah, and also the Islamic Sciences such as 'Aqeedah and Hadeeth. The candidate must also be able to counsel members of the community, and advise them on their day-to-day matters as well as more serious issues, including domestic dispute resolution.
The candidate must also be able to work together with the Masjid Management and other staff members in the running of various Masjid services such as the Madrasah, regular classes and events. He must also have experience in interfaith relations, and be able to communicate with and present Islam to non-Muslims in the wider community, and the media when necessary.
Following the investigation into the administration of the Trust, the Charity Commission has concluded that due to some irregularities in the appointment of Trustees in 2003, there have been no valid Trustees of the Masjid since 2006.
The investigator from the Charity Commission, Mr Iain Hewitt, has sent the following plan to the Trustees in order to lay down a framework for a way forward. The Commission has been clear that in the interim period, until the plan is put into place after Ramadan, the current Trustees will remain in authority as a caretaker Trust.
The following email was received from Mr Nizar Boga, the Arbiter chosen by Dr Suhaib Hasan and later accepted by Mehmud Patel and others :
To: Dr Suhaib Hasan; Mehmud Patel
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2012 11:59:25 +0000
assalamu alaikum Shaikh Suhaib Hasan and Mr. Mehmud Patel
I refer to my email of 8 June to both of you advising that the Arbitration process will not be proceeding further in the light of the Charity Commission's statutory inquiry relating to the mosque and that they should be allowed to complete their work first. In the light of developing situation in the mosque and the fact that the Arbitration effort seem to have been undermined from the very day I came to know about the complaint to the Charity Commission both my facilitators, Nugal Durani and Zaffar Iqbal and I have decided that our involvement will now no longer serve much purpose. The Arbitration is therefore formally discontinued and I have advised the Charity Commission accordingly. This leaves me to thank you both for inviting us and we pray that the parties will be able to sort their outstanding dispute themselves.