Interfaith charity to close as Gove withholds funding over Muslim trustee

A 37-year-old interfaith charity has said it is preparing for “imminent closure” as levelling up secretary Michael Gove considers withdrawing funding over concerns regarding one of its trustees, former deputy secretary general of MCB Hassan Joudi, who was appointed on 13 July 2023.

In a letter seen by Civil Society, Gove wrote to Inter Faith Network (IFN) stating that he was “minded to withdraw” £155,000 provisionally awarded to the IFN for the financial year 2023-24.

Gove said his concerns were due to the charity appointing a trustee connected to the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), with which government has a long-standing policy of non-engagement.

The charity said in a statement that “the board of the Inter Faith Network for the UK took, with great regret, an in-principle decision to move towards closure of the organisation” on 7 February.

“Continued uncertainty regarding government funding to the Inter Faith Network has had a hugely damaging effect on the charity,” it said.

“Continuing to operate without the £155,000 offered over six months ago has not proven possible, despite other fundraising efforts.”

In his letter, Gove wrote that the appointment of an MCB trustee to the board of the IFN “poses a reputational risk to government”.

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