The historic sexual assault allegations against some members of the Ahmadiyya community have made their way to the United Kingdom’s charity regulator which has started assessing the information, Samaa Digital learnt on Friday.
The Ahmadiyya community is registered as a charity in the UK. The movement is registered with The Charity Commission of England under the name of Ahmadiyya Muslim Association United Kingdom. An official of the charity commission told Samaa Digital by email that, “In line with our guidance on reporting serious incidents, the charity (The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association United Kingdom) has reported this matter to the Commission. We are currently assessing the information to inform our next steps.”
SAMAA Digital is attempting to contact Fareed Ahmad, the secretary for foreign affairs for the Jamaat in the US, for comment.
The serious incident refers to allegations by a 36-year-old Ahmadi woman, Nida Ul Nasser, a close relative of the incumbent head of the Ahmadiyya community and grand-daughter of both the third and the fourth community heads. She has said some members of the religious community sexually assaulted her. The allegations are being investigated by the London Metropolitan Police since July 22 last year. Nida was born and lives in Britain, where the movement incumbent leader also lives.
Other than the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association United Kingdom, at least 10 other Ahmadiyya charities are registered with the Charity Commission. The commission makes it the responsibility of charities to ensure that they have systems in place to mitigate the risk of sexual abuse and deal with it properly if reported. As such, the Commission does not investigate individual allegations of sexual abuse but acts as a regulator to hold charities to account for wrongdoings.
If trustees (the people responsible for controlling the work, management and administration of the charity) fail to report a serious incident that subsequently comes to light, the commission may consider this to be mismanagement. This may prompt regulatory action, particularly if further abuse or damage has arisen following the initial incident, according to the guidelines available on the commission’s website.
Following the 2018 and 2021 allegations of sexual exploitation and bullying against staff, the UK had suspended aid funding for Oxfam. Last year June, the commission issued a safeguarding alert to charities reminding them to adopt best practices which include “responding quickly to complaints, improving reporting mechanisms, and taking a survivor-oriented approach in responding to allegations”.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK was registered with the Commission on May 11, 1988. Its income for the financial year ended June 30, 2020, was GB Pound 25,402,444 while expenditure for that year was GBP 20,308,408. In 2016, its assets were 20.42 million pounds which increased till 2020 by 59.61 million pounds. It has 240 employees, 37 trustees and 9,680 volunteers. It also owns land.
Other Ahmadiyya charities registered in the UK are: Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat International, Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya (UK), Majlis Ansarullah (UK) Ltd, Lajna Ima’illah (UK), Charity Walk For Peace, Humanity First, Humanity First UK, IAAAE International, and Muhammad Hussain Hajira Hussain Abdus Salam Nobel Talent Fund. It is worth mentioning that Hussain and Hajira were parents of Nobel Laureate Dr Abdus Salam.
The writer is based in Canada. He can be reached @RanaTanver.