Published: 14:00 GMT Daylight Time - Thursday 20 October 2011
Barnabas Fund vindicated by Charity Commission
Country/Region: United Kingdom, Europe
The UK Charity Commission has completely exonerated Barnabas Fund after receiving a complaint about one of our Operation Nehemiah booklets.
On 7 August The Sunday Times carried an article about our campaign against the growing Islamisation of Britain, making reference to our booklet Slippery Slope. Having read the article, a lay Reader in the Church of England then filed a complaint against us with the Charity Commission.
The complainant asked whether Barnabas should be allowed to retain its charitable status when we were engaged in allegedly “divisive” activity. She suggested that “campaigning” against another religion was akin to inciting racial hatred and questioned its public benefit.
The Charity Commission have now sent us their reply to the complainant. After looking at the article and our booklet, they have concluded:
The charity, in its campaigning around “Operation Nehemiah” appears to be acting within its objects, as the campaign can be seen as promoting “the advancement of the Christian faith”. A charity can become involved in a campaign which furthers or supports its charitable purposes.
The Commission acknowledge that the campaign material fits within its aims, and that the booklet quotes sources for the claims that it makes. They quote its statement of intent, not to promote anti-Muslim fear or hatred, but to address seriously the challenge of Islam to society. They then say:
The campaign does not appear to be inciting racial hatred and the charity believes that it has public benefit in that it “is committed to maintaining Christian values of freedom of conscience, speech and religion for the next generation in church and society”.
The response ends:
We are therefore content that the charity, in carrying out this campaign, is operating within its objects and within the terms of our guidance.
The Commission’s letter thus represents complete vindication for Barnabas Fund regarding the nature and conduct of our campaign.
Since the complaint was lodged, we have been contacted by another person who is deeply unhappy about our policy of supporting only Christians, and who also intends to report us to the Commission. But the recent ruling demonstrates how careful we are to act within both the law and the charitable objects stated within our Articles of Association, and we are confident that any future complaints will receive a similar response.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, said:
We warmly welcome this positive response from the Charity Commission and its exoneration of our Operation Nehemiah campaign. We have been deeply saddened that some Christians regard Barnabas Fund as preaching hatred when we raise the plight of the persecuted Church and the growing influence of Islamism and its impact on the Church and the Christian heritage and liberties of Western society. We are unshakably committed to our stated goals and will continue to pursue them with vigour, for the sake of our Lord’s persecuted people at home and abroad.