The Government is to purge “extremist” trustees from every charity in England and Wales in a crackdown that could affect thousands of people.
A leaked draft of the Home Office’s new counter-extremism strategy, seen by the Telegraph, says new legal powers for the Charity Commission to sack trustees will be used far more widely than expected.
In a paper in May on how it would use the powers, now being created in a bill before Parliament, the commission made no mention of extremism being grounds for disqualification.
However, the leaked counter-extremism strategy, due to be published this autumn, states that “once the legislation is enacted, the Charity Commission will take action against all trustees who meet the definition of extremism set out in this document.”
The strategy document defines extremism as “the vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.”
Among those likely to be affected are several mosques, most of which operate as charities, including the hardline East London Mosque. Some of its trustees have publicly supported sharia law and punishments for “crimes” such as adultery.