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|Type||Advocacy organisation with a focus on Muslim detainees|
|Purpose||To raise awareness of the plight of the detainees held as part of the War on Terror and to "empower communities impacted by the War on Terror"|
CAGE, formerly Cageprisoners Ltd, is a London-based advocacy organisation which aims to "empower communities impacted by the War on Terror" and "highlight and campaign against state policies pertaining to the War on Terror". The organisation was formed to raise awareness of the plight of the detainees held at Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere as a result of the War on Terror and has worked closely with former detainees held by the United States and campaigns on behalf of current detainees held without trial.
Its outreach director, Moazzam Begg, is a former Guantánamo Bay detainee who was released without charge in 2005. In November 2010, The Guardian reported that US embassy cables, praised Begg for his campaign for European countries to take in more Guantanamo detainees.
Critics have called the organisation "apologists for terrorism", a "terrorism advocacy group," and propagators of a "myth of Muslim persecution", while human rights groups say the organisation is doing "vital work".
CAGE is an advocacy organisation whose stated aim is "to highlight and campaign against state policies developed as part of the War on Terror", It has run campaigns in support of freeing all detainees who continue to be held without charges, and to help former detainees to re-integrate into society. Cage has also criticised the UK's anti-terrorism laws.
In October 2003, CAGE's website was launched to highlight the plight of detainees held as part of the war on terror. It published names, photos and other information about detainees which the United States had kept secret, much of which was obtained from detainees' families.
CAGE's outreach director, Moazzam Begg, is a Briton from Birmingham who was held for a total of three years by the United States in extrajudicial detention as a suspected enemy combatant in Bagram and the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp in Cuba by the U.S. government. He was released without charge in 2005. He has worked to represent detainees still held at Guantanamo, as well as to help former detainees become re-integrated into society. He has also been working with governments to persuade them to accept non-national former detainees, some of whom have been refused entry by their countries of origin. In November 2010, The Guardian reported that US embassy cables in the Wikileaks showed then-U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg, Cynthia Stroum, praising Begg for his campaign to persuade European nations to take in Guantanamo detainees for resettlement.
Qur'an Desecration Report
Controversies and criticisms
After Anwar al-Awlaki's release from Yemeni detention in 2007, Begg was the first person to interview him. CAGE invited the cleric to address their Ramadan fundraising dinners in August 2008 (at Wandsworth Civic Centre, South London - by videolink, as he was banned from entering the U.K.) and August 2009 at Kensington Town Hall.
CAGE was criticised by Gita Saghal for championing al-Awlaki, which "should have rung alarm bells", because he had been linked to al-Qaeda and various terrorists. In November 2010 CAGE issued a press release to clarify their position on al-Awlaki. They noted that, before his 18-month detention, al-Awlaki had been known as a cleric of moderate views. In that period, he had been invited to speak at the Pentagon and had served as a chaplain at an American university. They defended their support of him as a prisoner held by Yemen without charge for 18 months and said that at their events he had only spoken of his experiences as a former prisoner. Adding that they strongly opposed his newly espoused radical positions, but at the same time, they opposed the United States' plan to target him for assassination in a missile strike. Awlaki was later killed by the US in a drone strike in 2011.
Amnesty International controversy
In February 2010, Amnesty International suspended Gita Sahgal, its gender unit head, after she criticised Amnesty for its links with Begg. She said it was "a gross error of judgment" to work with "Britain's most famous supporter of the Taliban". Salman Rushdie supported her, saying: "Amnesty ... has done its reputation incalculable damage by allying itself with Moazzam Begg and his group Cageprisoners, and holding them up as human rights advocates. The journalist Nick Cohen wrote in The Observer: "Amnesty ... thinks that liberals are free to form alliances with defenders of clerical fascists who want to do everything in their power to suppress liberals, most notably liberal-minded Muslims".
After Osama bin Laden was killed in an American raid in May 2011, CAGE published an editorial written as news satire. It announced "American War Criminal Barack Obama has been killed by Pakistani security forces in the UK". Michael Weiss, a research director for The Henry Jackson Society called the satire "a sick joke".
Mohamed Emwazi or 'Jihadi John'
In February 2015, Mohamed Emwazi a 27-year-old Briton was identified as the probable masked beheader of civilian captives of ISIS in Syria. Emwazi had between 2009 and January 2012 been in contact with CAGE while in the UK, complaining that he was being harassed by British intelligence agencies. Following the naming, CAGE's Press Officer, Cerie Bullivant, released a video detailing CAGE's contact with Emwazi, and saying "There is going to be pressure on Muslims to condemn and apologise … we should not have to justify our humanity by running out and feeding into this idea that all Muslims are culpable for the actions of one person".
At a press conference the following day, CAGE's research director, Asim Qureshi, called Emwazi "a beautiful young man" and "extremely kind, gentle and soft-spoken". In Qureshi's view, Emwazi's contact with the UK security services had contributed to his transformation into a killer, "Individuals are prevented from travelling, placed under house arrest and in the worst cases tortured, rendered or killed, seemingly on the whim of security agents". Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the suggestion that this radicalisation was the fault of British authorities as "reprehensible", whilst Mayor of London Boris Johnson called it an "apology for terror". John Spellar, said that CAGE were "very clearly coming out as apologists for terrorism".
In the wake of the incident, the counter-extremist Quilliam Foundation questioned whether CAGE could have done more to prevent Emwazi, adding that for "Cage to focus entirely on grievances" was "part of the problem and not part of the solution". Qureshi's sympathies were also questioned by Newsweek, after video emerged of his calling for support for "the jihad of our brothers and sisters" in Iraq and Afghanistan and other countries "facing the oppression of the West" at a 2006 Hizb ut-Tahrir rally.
Partly as a result of Qureshi's statement, the Charity Commission pressured 2 charities that had previously funded CAGE to cease doing so. Amnesty International, which had previously campaigned with the organisation on issues relating to Guantanamo and torture, said, “We are reviewing whether any future association with the group would now be appropriate”.
Mosa Zi Zemmori is a Belgian former Guantanamo Bay detainee. Following his release in 2005, Zemmori was invited to events hosted by CAGE as a reciter of Surah. After being placed under surveillance by the Belgian government, Zemmouri was arrested on July 24, 2015, alongside 3 others in Hoboken, Antwerp, Belgium, accused of attempted burglary, allegedly trying to use the stolen funds for the Al-Qaeda linked Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group.
Between 2007 and 2014, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust gave grants to CAGE totaling £271,250. In a similar period, the Roddick Foundation, founded by Anita Roddick, gave grants totaling £120,000. In 2015, following pressure from the Charity Commission, which had expressed concern that funding CAGE risked damaging public confidence in charity, both entities agreed to cease funding CAGE. The Rowntree Trust defended its funding, "We believe (Cage) has 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," it said in a statement. CAGE said that the majority of their income comes from private individuals and that the group "would continue its work regardless of the criticism levelled at it, … even though we aren't a proselytizing organisation, we are a Muslim response to a problem that largely affects Muslims".
Lord Carlile, formerly the British Government’s independent reviewer of anti-terrorism legislation, said at the time: "I have concerns about the group. There are civil liberty organisations which I do give money to but CagePrisoners is most certainly not one of them".
In October 2015, following an application for judicial review by CAGE, the Charity Commission had to change its position and said it would not in future interfere in the discretion of charities to choose to fund CAGE.
In 2014, CAGE held an online discussion about Zakat, and the Muslim obligation to prisoners. It appealed to Muslims to make donations to help free those "wrongly imprisoned" in Guantanamo and elsewhere. 
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- "Zakah and the forgotten Islamic obligation towards prisoners".
This Ramadan, give your support to the cause of the oppressed by paying your zakah and sadaqah to CAGE. Any money we collect in Zakah is restricted to matters which directly benefit prisoners’ cases