It is being reported that the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust is under investigation by the voluntary sector watchdog in connection with its funding of Cage. A recent statement from the JRCT seems to send out contradictory signals.
27 February 2015 As a Quaker trust, we reject and condemn all violence, including all violence for political ends. We believe that building sustainable security requires patient, long-term work to address the underlying causes of conflict and injustice.
Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust has previously funded Cage to promote and protect human rights. We believe that they have played an important role in highlighting the ongoing abuses at Guantanamo Bay and at many other sites around the world, including many instances of torture.
The Trust does not necessarily agree with every action or statement of any group that we have funded. We believe that Cage is asking legitimate questions about security service contact with those who have gone on to commit high-profile and horrific acts of violence, but this does not in any way absolve any such individual from responsibility for such criminal acts.
The first paragraph is essentially throat clearing – it would be peculiar if they thought or said anything different. The second paragraph, on the other hand, reads like the prelude to a ‘but’. The fact they say it ‘has played’ not ‘plays’ an important part in highlighting abuses hints at a break.
But the reference to not being in full agreement with all groups they fund, by contrast, suggests a more defensive position, as does the first half of the final sentence. Yet the last point, of course, implies a criticism of Cage’s widely condemned attempt to blame the security services for Mohammed Emwazi’s murderous brutality.
Whatever message it is trying to convey, the JRCT must have been confronted with ample evidence of the very many reasons not to support Cage, since it started to fund the ‘human rights organisation’ several years ago. Here’s what their spokesman had to say back in 2010:
“We have got a Muslim community in Britain which feels highly alienated and the people who in our view are able to build bridges and make links to those young Muslims are people like Moazzam Begg and Cageprisoners.
At least now – due to the widespread revulsion at Cage’s latest comments – more people are realizing just how despicable they – and their funders – are.
— Maajid Nawaz (@MaajidNawaz) February 28, 2015