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Sat 7 Mar 2015 05:05 PM

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UK charities cease funding group linked to "Jihadi John"

Muslim campaign group Cage was in contact with Kuwaiti-born Londoner Mohammed Emwazi several years ago

UK charities cease funding group linked to "Jihadi John"

Two high-profile British charities have stopped funding Cage, a Muslim campaign group that has drawn criticism over statements about the ISIL militant known as "Jihadi John", the regulator of British charities has announced.

Cage was in contact several years ago with Kuwaiti-born Londoner Mohammed Emwazi, at a time when he was on the radar of Britain's intelligence services over signs of radicalisation.

Since Emwazi was identified on February 26 as the man in a black balaclava who appears in ISIL beheading videos, Cage members have said he was once a "beautiful young man" and have blamed the intelligence services for radicalising him.

"Last week, public statements by Cage officials heightened concerns about the use of charitable funds to support their activities," the UK's Charity Commission said in a statement late on Friday.

"In our view, those statements increased the threat to public trust and confidence in charity," it said, adding that it had taken "robust action" by requiring two well-known charities that had funded Cage to confirm they would no longer do so.

The two organisations are the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, a Quaker foundation, and the Roddick Foundation, set up by the late founder of the cosmetics retailer Body Shop. They had come under intense public scrutiny since Emwazi was named and Cage went public with their views about him.

The commission said Joseph Rowntree had made grant awards to Cage of £305,000 ($459,000) between 2007 and 2014, of which £271,250 was paid, while the Roddick Foundation had made grant payments of £120,000 between 2009 and 2012.

The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust confirmed it had stopped funding Cage and would not do so in future, citing "regulatory pressure" and saying it wanted to protect the interests of other recipients of its funding and other work by the trust.

The Roddick Foundation could not be immediately reached for comment.

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