Scotland

Anti-Islamic and Nazi T-shirts sold by military charity

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Media captionSecret filming uncovers charity shop's anti-Islamic stock

An undercover investigation by BBC Scotland has discovered a military charity is selling anti-Islamic and Nazi-themed clothing to raise funds.

The charity, 1st Knight, provides respite breaks abroad for military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

It is registered with the Charity Commission and has signed up to the industry Code of Fundraising Practice.

1st Knight told the BBC it had now withdrawn the merchandise from sale.

In a statement, the charity said it should not have been selling this type of merchandise and was grateful for the BBC's intervention.

1st Knight raises funds through selling prize draw tickets across Scotland and the rest of the UK, as well as selling military-style merchandise from its headquarters in Blackpool, which also doubles as the charity's shop.

In a documentary, The Great Military Charity Scandal, to be broadcast on Tuesday, volunteers for the charity can be seen mocking Muslims and some Islamic beliefs.

Offensive T-shirts
Badge being sold by 1st Knight Military Charity
Image caption In a statement, the charity said it should not have been selling this type of merchandise

Caught on secret camera, the founder of 1st Knight Military Charity, Andy Linihan, was selling a Velcro badge which is designed to be placed on uniforms or baseball caps. Underneath the picture of an assault rifle were the words "72 Virgins Express".

When asked by an undercover journalist what it meant, Mr Linihan told her it referred to the shooting of suicide bombers.

He said: "When they supposedly go up to heaven or wherever they go to, there are 72 virgins waiting for them."

Andy Linihan, founder of 1st Knight Military Charity
Image caption The charity's founder Andy Linihan said the badge referred to the shooting of suicide bombers

A volunteer for the charity then told the BBC investigator: "We shoot them and they get the virgins."

Anti-Islamic themed clothing was also being sold by the military charity. One T-shirt had a picture of two naked women, a pint of beer and a pig. It read: 'Pork-eating, beer-drinking, womanising infidel'.

When asked to explain why there was a pig on the T-shirt, the charity volunteer said: "They're not allowed to eat it are they? These Muslims. Pork-eating, beer-drinking - basically it's against their religion. Womanising - they're not allowed to womanise, are they? And yet they call us infidels."

Other merchandise sold by 1st Knight Military Charity included Nazi-themed T-shirts and hooded jumpers.

Nazi-themed merchandise sold by 1st Knight Military Charity
Image caption The charity was found to be selling Nazi-themed merchandise

Some of them were emblazoned with neo-Nazi emblems. One - the skull and bones emblem - is also used by the far-right groups Combat 18 and Blood and Honour.

All the money raised from the sales of this merchandise has gone directly to the military charity.

Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the Fundraising Regulator, described the behaviour as "entirely unacceptable".

Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the Fundraising Regulator
Image caption The merchandise was shown to the chief executive of the Fundraising Regulator

After seeing examples of the merchandise, he said: "That is not respectful and ethical fundraising. We would not expect a professional fundraiser to engage in that sort of thing and would certainly be ready to investigate."

The documentary team also secretly filmed former veterans raising funds for the military charity Support the Heroes.

A Support the Heroes fundraiser told the BBC he was an unpaid volunteer
Image caption A Support the Heroes fundraiser told the BBC he was an unpaid volunteer

They were caught on camera claiming they were unpaid volunteers and telling members of the public that 100% of public donations would go to helping veterans.

However, Support the Heroes confirmed in a statement to the BBC that their fundraisers were paid commission. They said it would be wrong for them to tell the public that all the donations went on helping ex-forces, when fundraiser commission, payments to a management company and running costs still had to be deducted.

The Great Military Charity Scandal will be broadcast at 19:00 on Tuesday 8 November on BBC One Scotland, and afterwards on the BBC iPlayer

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