Home Office-funded counter-extremism group promoting anti-Corbyn messages

10 November 2019 — The Canary

An initiative receiving counter-extremism funding from the Home Office has reportedly been posting consistently anti-Corbyn messages.

Faith Matters is funded by the Home Office’s Building a Stronger Britain Together programme (BSBT). It has regularly shared views against Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn. According to a report published by the Home Office in October, it has awarded “around £8.8 million of government funding” to recipients of BSBT funding since 2016.

Tweeting against Corbyn

As Middle East Eye reported, Faith Matters shared anti-Corbyn views criticising his handling of antisemitism complaints in the party. It also reported accusations that Corbyn has sympathy for Syrian leader Bashar Al Assad and supports governments and organisations committing human rights violations. They also include allegations of intelligence agencies considering Corbyn a threat to national security.

Middle East Eye, contacted the director of Faith Matters Fiyaz Mughal. Mughal reportedly “refused to engage with the issues” raised which “included legitimate questions about the use to which Faith Matters puts public funds”.

Faith Matters published a pre-emptive response on its website stating:

Faith Matters has been and will continue to be critical of the poor way in which antisemitism has been tackled within the Labour Party and the way that Jeremy Corbyn has linked up with groups who have a very poor track record of relationships with communal Jewish organisations.

Meanwhile, Middle East Eye has said:

an analysis of Faith Matters’ tweets since it was listed by the Home Office as a recipient of BSBT support in February 2018 demonstrated that it has tweeted about Labour and Corbyn more than 200 times, while tweeting less than 40 times about the Conservatives, Johnson and Theresa May, his predecessor as party leader and prime minister.

Government funding for attacks against opposition

According to Middle East Eye:

The Home Office’s funding for Faith Matters appears to raise fresh questions about political attacks on the leader of the official opposition by organisations benefiting from government support.

In December 2018, a Foreign Office-funded company was also investigated for spreading views against Corbyn. In response, Labour’s Emily Thornberry said:

It is one of the cardinal rules of British public life in our country that official resources should not be used for party political purposes.

Institute for Statecraft, the company in question, later issued an apology to Corbyn.

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