UKLFI has written a letter of complaint to the Charity Commission about the charity Islamic Human Rights Commission Trust (“IHRC”) concerning the publication of two articles and a video in support of the defrocked Rev Stephen Sizer. The publications were on the joint website of IHRC and IHRC Ltd. The complaint argues that they are in breach of IHRC’s charitable objects. The articles accused the Zionists of “bullying” and the Church of England of being “cowardly” and having “lost the moral high ground”.
On 6 December 2022, the Bishops Disciplinary Tribunal reached its decision regarding a complaint by Marie Van Der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, that Rev Sizer’s conduct was unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in the Holy Orders, in that he provoked and offended the Jewish community and/or engaged in antisemitic activity.
The Tribunal concluded that with regard to four of the allegations Reverend Sizer’s behaviour offended the Jewish community and that in one of the incidents Reverend Sizer had engaged in antisemitic conduct.
Immediately after this decision was made public, IHRC published an article on the website headed “Tribunal rejects antisemitism accusations against former vicar”. This article said that “the central message arising from the tribunal is that the well-documented accusations of repeated antisemitic behaviour made over more than a decade have been dismissed!” The article acknowledged that one allegation of antisemitism had been found to have substance. The article also said the IHRA definition of antisemitism has been “widely criticised for weaponizing antisemitism in order to silence critics of Israel by conflating criticism of Israel with attacks on Jews for being Jews.”
On 30 January 2023, the Bishop’s Tribunal decided that Reverend Sizer should be defrocked until 2030. In response to this news, the IHRC posted another article on their website entitled “IHRC condemns CofE decision to ban ex-vicar for offending Zionists.” The article criticized the Church of England for this decision saying “it demonstrates a lack of moral courage on the part of the Church of England” and that “we find this problematic. The standard for judging offence and provocation should not be set by people on the basis of their political views”. The article condemned the punishment given to Reverend Sizer despite a clear finding that he had engaged in antisemitic activity.
On 3 February 2023 the IHRC posted a video of an un-named representative of its organisation responding to the Tribunal’s decision to defrock Rev. Sizer. The representative of IHRC said that
the decision by the Church of England (to defrock Rev. Sizer) was “so cowardly that they have lost the moral high ground”;
“bullying” was the tactic used by the “Zionists” in this case and also the cases of Nazim Ali and of Professor David Miller. (Nazim Ali was the pharmacist who said, during an Al Quds Day rally “They are responsible for the murder of the people in Grenfell – the Zionist supporters of the Tory party”. David Miller, was the professor sacked by Bristol University because he “did not meet the standards of behaviour [we] expect from [our] staff,” according to the university);
IHRC’s message to the Church of England is “with this action you’re supporting the oppressors, you’re going against the Muslim” and the message to the Archbishop of Canterbury is “you allowed the church to support apartheid and remember that Jesus, peace be upon him, spoke truth to power. You failed.”
IHRC’s charitable objects, are “to promote human rights and equality and diversity (in particular good race relations). . . (iii) raising awareness of human rights and good race relations and cultivating a sentiment in favour of human rights and good race relations”.
UKLFI submits that by posting the two articles and the video, IHRC have breached their charitable objects since they do not promote equality and diversity and good race relations. The first article defended Reverend Sizer’s conduct despite the finding that he had engaged in antisemitic behaviour. It also argued that the Tribunal was wrong to find that his conduct in one incident had been antisemitic. The second article attacked the Church of England and condemned the Tribunal’s decision to defrock Reverend Sizer, belittling the gravity of antisemitism and in effect arguing that it is not worthy of punishment.
The video accused Zionists of being “bullies”. It implied not only that Reverend Sizer should not have been defrocked but also that Nazim Ali, who had been found by the Bishops Disciplinary Tribunal, to have spoken antisemitic words was not antisemitic, and that Prof David Miller should not have been sacked, despite his behaviour towards Jewish students falling below expectations. It accused the Church of failing to speak truth to power, thereby accusing Zionists of being all powerful – another antisemitic trope.
A spokesperson for UKLFI commented: “The impact of these articles and video, and the messages conveyed by them are deeply concerning and offensive to the Jewish community. The IHRC is a charity set up to promote and cultivate good race relations. These two articles and the video will hinder Jewish-Muslim and Christian-Muslim relations as well as encouraging antisemitic behaviour, and therefore are in breach of IHRC’s charitable objects.
A charity must also be for the public benefit. It is clear, that the two articles harm the wider public in so far as they provide Reverend Sizer with credibility whilst tarnishing the reputation of the Church of England for punishing antisemitic behaviour.
IHRC does not have its own website, but shares the website of IHRC Ltd, an associated non profit limited company. However, the donations page on the shared website only allows people to donate to the charity, IHRC. IHRC’s trustees’ report explains that a great deal of IHRC’s work is carried out by IHRC Ltd, including immigration and employment discrimination advice and support, hate crimes research and supporting individuals who have been discriminated against based on their race or religion.