Blackburn Islamic charity warned for using funds for new mosque

Masjide Noorul Islam Image copyright Google
Image caption Masjide Noorul Islam opened in 2010

A charity has been reprimanded for building a new mosque with money raised for the advancement of education.

The Islamic Educational Society of Blackburn has been given an official warning by the Charity Commission for using funds for Noorul Islam mosque.

The regulator said the charity had told it the building of the mosque in Audley Range was within its charitable aims.

A Charity Commission inquiry found it was not and also discovered a series of failures in its financial management.

The charity has been contacted for comment.

The review found misconduct and/or mismanagement in the charity's administration due to "poor financial management and governance".

Lack of financial controls "resulted in funds being applied for purposes other than those for which they were raised", it said.

The building of a mosque "does not fall within the scope of the advancement of education", concluded the government regulator.

'Safeguarding concern'

It said the charity also failed to take appropriate steps to get consent for it from the Charity Commission and a subsequent unsuccessful attempt to change its constitution was an "outstanding regulatory concern" which needed addressing.

Breaches were found in its cash handling after Greater Manchester Police reported in 2018 it had seized almost £8,000 from an individual associated with the Islamic Educational Society of Blackburn - £6,555 of which belonged to the charity.

The commission said the individual was on the way to the bank to pay the money in on behalf of the charity but the society's cash handling policy required at least two people to make cash deposits.

The charity's failure to then report the incident to the commission - classed as a serious incident - was a "safeguarding concern", it said.

The commission said the charity's trustees now had an adequate safeguarding policy in place.

The official warning remains in place for a year.

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