Exposed: Did Ashfaq Siddique use his position as Secretary of Al Madina Mosque Barking to enable MEN’s ‘Investment Scheme’?

As you may have heard by now, Adam Ali from Course Reviews met with Rocky Mirza and Ashfaq Siddique recently. However, what had been largely absent in the public discourse is that a representative of Madina Reviews was present in those discussions. The purpose of this article is to elaborate more on our side and ask important questions relating to the developing situation.

Leverage members want to know the extent of Al Madina Mosque Barking’s management’s involvement

What Ashfaq Siddique said in the meeting with Adam and Muslim Reviews’ representative

Ashfaq Siddique was respectful in the meeting and presented a passionate plea to “leave the mosque out of it” as the campaign to raise awareness gathers steam to bring justice for the victims of MEN.

Ashfaq made many claims, and in the interest of full public disclosure and scrutiny, we have listed them below.

Ashfaq claimed the following:

  1. The message of ‘unity’ was shared by the mosque’s management, and therefore it made sense for Ashfaq to work closely with MEN for this initiative.
  2. By giving the Muslim Entrepreneur Network an office space at the Al Madina Mosque Barking, it allowed Ashfaq Siddique and his associates to have better oversight over MEN’s work.
  3. When he got involved with MEN, he realised how ‘incompetent’ – his own words – the structure and organisation was, so he and his associates helped bring out a better middle management system within MEN.
  4. MEN were instructed to vacate the office around 2 weeks ago, and in fact, had already left the premises.
  5. He is not part of MEN in a professional capacity, but he remains linked to the founders informally, because he wants to help every Leverage member get back their rightful refunds.
  6. He refutes the suggestion that his name should be “dragged through the mud” since his actions were sincere and was for the good of Leverage members.
  7. He denies claims he is ‘close’ with Rocky, although admits that when each other’s mothers visit the UK, they enjoy going for walks together, and that both families have invited each other to their homes as guests.
  8. Ashfaq invested £5000 of his personal money into the Leverage programme.
  9. He does not believe members are entitled to refunds should they realise, after the official refund period is over, that MEN had not kept to their end of the bargain.
  10. He briefly presented a diagram of the structure of MEN’s businesses, and claims to have helped write up over 60 documents that helps provide organisational rigour within MEN, which was lacking prior to his intervention.
  11. He claims to not being fully aware that by agreeing to assist Rocky in obtaining a Taxi License from TfL, that he would become a Managing Director of Empty Trip Limited, further claiming that company directorships is not an area he is knowledgeable in.
  12. It was Ashfaq’s decision to end MEN’s involvement with mosques, after a delegation met with Shaykh Hasan Ali. He further claims there were 76 mosques ready to be part of the programme at the time the decision was taken.
  13. It was a critical mistake to allow MEN an office space inside the mosque’s premises and regrets this decision.
  14. He believes the actions of MEN should not have a negative impact on the mosque, and gives the example of the London Muslim Centre and how it was not blameworthy for the fraudulent actions of the Hajj company that had operated in one of its offices.
  15. He will not disclose the reasons why Harun Rashid left MEN, but that we should ask Harun instead. He admits there is a lot more to it than what is publicly being stated by others.
  16. He claims Empty Trip app is still going ahead and not dead in the water, even though the CEO and most influential person within the company, Harun Rashid, quit the business.
  17. He claims to be innocent of the accusations that he enabled a Ponzi scheme to operate from the mosque’s premises.
  18. When asked if he believes Rocky Mirza is ‘sincere’ in his business dealings, his response was an emphatic “yes”.
  19. He outright rejected the advice that he and/or the mosque’s management should publish a statement clarifying their position in the entire matter.

We will look further at some of these claims

Why is Ashfaq Siddique’s name relevant?

He is the Secretary of Al Madina Mosque and due to the ill health of the current Chairman, further acts as Chairman in his stead. Therefore, Ashfaq Siddique is a highly influential person, not just within the mosque, but across much of the Muslim community. He even hosted the then Home Secretary Theresa May for an Interfaith meeting at the mosque.

Young Leaders Programme: Ashfaq Siddique hosted Theresa May at the Al Madina Mosque in 2015.

Ashfaq heavily promoted the business interests of Rocky Mirza, and was seen numerous times appearing in conferences organised by MEN. Ashfaq appeared on a video testimonial for KidBizo that was used in social media ads to promote the business, and took part in MEN’s ‘debt-free initiative’ webinars aimed at mosques throughout the UK, where he referred to Rocky as “an anchor of Islam”.

Furthermore, it is argued that MEN could not have obtained an office space at the Al Madina Mosque Barking without the exclusive support and authority of Ashfaq Siddique.

Measuring their claims against publicly available evidences

Ashfaq claims that the mosque should not be culpable for the actions of MEN, and gives the example of the LMC and the fraudulent Hajj company. To reiterate this point further, MEN’s recently released statement flatly denies that the Al Madina Mosque Barking’s management was involved in MEN and that the relationship was merely that of Tenant and Landlord – which is essentially Ashfaq’s position.

MEN’s statement stated:

In keeping with this agreement, the mosque management has to date, never interfered in the running of any MEN business operation including the Leverage Programme and/or affiliated business projects. The mosque has no stake in, or involvement with, MEN / Leverage operations and has never benefited in anyway except for monthly rental for the space leased to MEN / Leverage as the landlord.

Read full statement here

The problem with the above claim is that it’s evidently false.

Firstly, the analogy of the LMC and the Hajj company missed the point entirely, since the LMC was never involved in the operations of that fraudulent company.

Can the same be said about Al Madina Mosque’s management and MEN?

Below, we will provide several irrefutable evidences that suggests either Ashfaq Siddique used the mosque’s Good Will and his privileged position as Secretary to intently promote the questionable business interests of MEN – or that Al Madina Mosque’s management was entirely involved in the promotion of MEN, thereby disproving claims made by both MEN and Ashfaq Siddique.

1. Al Madina Mosque Barking’s management promoted MEN directly in this promo video for their ‘debt-free’ initiative

2. Ashfaq Siddique’s associates communicated directly from official mosque’s email accounts for promoting their ‘debt-free’ initiative

3. Al Madina Mosque’s management promoted MEN’s now-failed Personal Fitness business in the L5000 programme – the primary business that boosted MEN’s membership by hundreds and earned it millions of pounds

4. Al Madina Mosque Barking’s management promoted the L300 and L5000 Leverage programme, calling it a ‘partnership’ and ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’

5. Rocky Mirza used Al Madina Mosque Barking’s facilities to promote his questionable business interests

The natural questions that follow

Why are MEN and Ashfaq, in tandem, denying that a close relationship ever existed between them? The evidences shows the extent of their cooperation – and there are plenty more publicly available examples of this closeness.

If we are to believe MEN’s claims that both parties independently entered into agreement as Tenant and Landlord and the mosque’s management had zero bearing on MEN’s operations, why then did the mosque’s management – or Ashfaq – so hastily evict MEN from its premises, just as their Leverage ship began to sink?

MEN are accused of promoting an elaborate Ponzi scheme and taking advantage of vulnerable people’s money for their own business interests. It is also alleged they may have engaged in the misuse of funds, including tax and accounting fraud.

What hand did Ashfaq Siddique or the mosque’s management play in facilitating MEN’s questionable actions? Did Ashfaq Siddique or the mosque’s management enable MEN’s ‘Ponzi scheme’?

More importantly, how could the mosque’s committee allow for such a respected place of worship be used in this manner?

The timing of MEN’s eviction strangely coincides with Harun Rashid’s abrupt departure. What does Harun Rashid know that could possibly lift the rid in the entire enterprise that may have got everyone worried? Perhaps we shall find out soon.

What should Ashfaq Siddique or the Mosque’s committee members do next? Here’s 10 to think about.

  1. The mosque committee must launch an internal investigation into the relationship between Ashfaq Siddique and MEN co-founder Rocky Mirza, within his capacity as Secretary.
  2. They must establish whether a conflict of interest existed between Ashfaq’s personal business interests and his official role as Secretary of Al Madina Mosque Barking.
  3. The mosque’s committee must investigate whether Ashfaq abused his role as Secretary to give MEN preferential treatment.
  4. Did Al Madina Mosque’s management authorise the release of their congregations’ donations to be used for Rocky’s business ventures? If so, how much? Furthermore, did any individuals within MEN have direct access to the mosque’s charity funds and if so, how was it accessed? Can it be established that Ashfaq used charity funds for any projects relating to MEN? If so, how much was used?
  5. Who was ultimately responsible for allowing the mosque’s reputation to be used in the promotion of MEN’s businesses?
  6. What kind of vetting process did the mosque’s management take on the founders of MEN prior to their ‘partnership’? Where there any minutes to meetings that discussed this collaboration?
  7. If it is found that Ashfaq Siddique enabled Rocky Mirza and MEN, and had brought the mosque into disrepute, it is only right that he be removed and replaced from this role as Secretary of Al Madina Mosque Barking.
  8. The mosque’s committee should release a public statement outlining their official position in this entire matter and reassure the public that their places of worship will never be used for the personal gains of others.
  9. The mosque committee should consider arranging a meeting with the real victims of MEN, who were misled by MEN’s false promises and their exaggerated claims.
  10. Finally, Al Madina Mosque Barking must improve their procedures and systems so as to not allow a single individual to wield so much influence over the mosque’s direction, whether as Secretary or a self-professed billionaire business expert with no history of business success whatsoever.

We pray that Al Madina Mosque Barking’s Committee members take it seriously upon themselves to protect the House of Allah and honourably rectify the situation.

Wallahu ‘Alam.

3 Responses to “Exposed: Did Ashfaq Siddique use his position as Secretary of Al Madina Mosque Barking to enable MEN’s ‘Investment Scheme’?

  • There is enough conclusive evidence in the form of self-confessed admissions for the brother to immediately resign from his post as of immediate effect or the committee to remove him..though the judgment of the committee is also in question for allowing this to happen in the first place. Conflict of interest red flags were apparent from the off-set, why we’re they ignored.

  • Abdullah
    4 years ago

    This should and will be reported to the charity commission.

  • Hash App
    4 years ago

    Has the local papers been informed?

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