Peace TV founder Zakir Naik’s charity that funded hate speech channels shut down in UK

Islamic Research Foundation International closed over 'repeated misconduct', says watchdog

Zakir Naik's Islamic Research Foundation International charity was said to have 'fundamental failures in governance'.
Powered by automated translation

A charity founded by Zakir Naik, a television personality whose Peace TV stations were fined in the UK for broadcasting hate speech, has been shut down due to misconduct.

UK charity watchdog the Charity Commission took action against Islamic Research Foundation International after an investigation into its funding of television channels that were fined by British media regulator Ofcom.

India-born Mr Naik ran two television stations, Peace TV and Peace TV Urdu, which were fined £300,000 in 2020 by Ofcom for broadcasting hate speech and incitement to commit murder.

They were funded by IRFI, which gave the stations more than £3.6 million ($4.48m)

Both stations gave up their licences in 2019 and no longer broadcast in Britain.

“The commission concluded that the trustees were responsible for repeated incidents of misconduct and/or mismanagement in the administration of the charity over a number of years,” the Charity Commission report said.

“There were fundamental failures in governance by the trustees which included not being able to identify and manage conflicts of interest appropriately.

“This contributed to the trustees failing to learn appropriate lessons from their decision to continue to fund Peace TV despite the numerous Ofcom breaches, which had occurred over a lengthy period which caused the charity material and reputational damage.

“The inquiry found that Dr Naik was the most prominent trustee, and he was also acknowledged by the other trustees as the driving force of the charity’s activities which included attracting donors and beneficiaries.

“The charity was ultimately found not to be viable and was therefore wound up and dissolved as a result of an order of the commission.”

The charity was officially removed from the register last week.

The satellite channels, which had claimed to reach two million viewers, were funded by the IRFI through appeals to the Muslim audience to contribute to fundraising.

Mr Naik, who is based in Malaysia, has been banned from entering the UK, India and Bangladesh and is accused by the Indian government of laundering £23m.

Britain barred him in 2010, citing “unacceptable behaviour”, although officials have never detailed the nature of this.

The Commission for Countering Extremism government organisation has previously cited Mr Naik’s actions as an example of the current laws failing to tackle Islamist extremism.

It has led to a review of the powers available to the authorities to take action against acts of hate.

Mr Naik continued to operate the channels until recently.

In March, India extended a ban on the Islamic Research Foundation group, also run by Mr Naik, for a further five years.

Updated: May 20, 2022, 12:16 PM