A CHARITY worker from Worcester has denied posing with two masked gunmen and says he has never even been to Syria.
The family of Adeel Ali has issued a statement denying claims he posed with his arms around the gunmen, as featured on the front pages of The Sun and Worcester News.
The photograph shows a man purported to be Mr Ali next to two men carrying AK47 assault rifles and clad in military gear but the family is adamant the man in the picture is not Mr Ali.
They say Mr Ali has never even been to Syria but has been to Turkey, near the border with Syria, as part of an aid mission with the charity Al-Fatiha Global.
In the statement, the Ali family and trustees of the charity said: “The Al-Fatiha charity is governed by trustees Mumtaz Ali and Mike Lloyd and Adeel Ali is not ‘the boss’.
“This charity is open to review and study for the management of the funds it has received and processed.
“There have been enquiries by the Charity Commission which have met with full co-operation of the trustees.
“It is apparent that there are sources who wish the Charity Commission to investigate this charity. The trustees will continue to act in accordance with charity law and will continue to publish their accounts. This charity was set up for humanitarian purposes and has always acted and operated on that basis.”
The statement says because of the crisis in Syria, the funds raised have increased substantially.
But it says all funds are accounted for and Mike Lloyd – a trustee and accountant since the foundation of the charity – is confident in compliance with charity laws.
The statement also describes Adeel Ali as a married man with young children, the son of Mumtaz Ali (a charity trustee), who has been active for and on behalf of the charity. Activity has included working with others in a humanitarian role such as working for Syrian refugees.
The statement continues: “Adeel Ali states that the assertion that he has been photographed in Syria with AK45 (sic) fighters of any description or association of tendency is denied.
“Adeel Ali has visited once the Kilis Refugee Camp for Syrian refugees on the border with Turkey.
He was there on June 1, 2013 and with the Turkish Charity IHH and for a period of about four hours distributing humanitarian aid to refugees and others giving help to these refugees.
“His passport was stamped by the Turkey Border Officers on exit and on entrance. There were no Syrian officials. The Kilis Camp is about 500 yards from the Turkey border.”
Mr Ali states that at no time during his time at the camp was the photograph taken.
“At no time in that camp did he pose for such a photo and nor did he meet with or consort with any armed and disguised men as suggested by the photograph and the newspaper articles,” he says.
“Adeel Ali has participated in humanitarian convoys to deliver humanitarian materials for the victims of the Syrian Crisis but on all other occasions has delivered the materials inside Turkey.”
As we reported yesterday Mr Ali is a former taxi driver who used to work for Commandery Cars, but whose licence expired in January.
“The family recognise the serious implication of the story promoted by The Sun. They remain committed to comply with the laws of the UK where they have lived and worked in Worcester now for four generations.”
Commandery Coaches have asked us to point out that there is no association at all between them and Commandery Cars, who were mentioned in our story in yesterday’s paper.