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British Muslim charities and the "crackdown on Islamist extremism"

British Muslim charities and the "crackdown on Islamist extremism"

Categories: Latest News

Monday January 12 2015

The Sunday Telegraph reports on the loss of public funding by the Muslim Charities Forum claiming allegations uncovered by the paper about its “links to a group alleged to fund Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood political movement” had led to a “crackdown on Islamist extremism” by theDepartment for Communities and Local Government.

The Sunday Telegraph cites claims contained in a report by a US based think tank called Nine Eleven Finding Answers, which relies on evidence from Israeli sources to allege that the MCF, along with Muslim Hands, Human Appeal International, Human Relief Foundation, Muslim Aid and Islamic Relief, were all early members of the Union for Good, “a fundraising body with close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was created to raise money for the terrorist group Hamas.”

It is not the first time that Israeli sources have been used to justify claims of improper conduct by British Muslim charities. Earlier this year, the Israeli Defence Minister, Moshe Ya’alon accused Islamic Relief of funnelling funds to ‘Hamas controlled organisations’. The claims that led to the charity inviting external auditors to review its activities, clearing it of all allegations of impropriety and breach of charity regulations though not without costs to the charity of loss to reputation and obstruction to charity relief.

No review of accusations that have been levelled at British Muslim charities, the “media speculation and a series of unsubstantiated and vicious allegations”, as Peter Oborne puts it, is complete without consideration of the battles waged against Interpal, the British Muslim charity supporting humanitarian relief for Palestinians, and Muslim Aid. Add to the mix the perception of Charity Commission bias against British Muslim charities and you get a sense of the orchestrated campaign intent on vilifying the work of Muslim charities and frustrating their capacity to raise funds and deliver aid.

It is also worth noting the Telegraph’s use of a quote from Sam Westrop, of Stand for Peace, in the article alleging links between British Muslim charities and the Union for Good.

Westrop is a director of the Institute for Middle East Democracy which describes its purpose as a “think-tank and pressure group advocating liberty and democracy in the Middle East” although both its senior personnel, Westrop and Jonathan Sacerdoti, have well established links to pro-Israeli groups. Westrop and his other affiliation, Stand for Peace, have also worked ‘closely’ with anti-Muslim student group, Student Rights, whose links to the pro-Israeli Henry Jackson Society have been revealed by researcher Hilary Aked.

The Sunday Telegraph further mentions the Government’s review into the Muslim Brotherhood and the “”incredibly complex web” of up to 60 organisations in Britain, including charities, think tanks and even television channels, with links to the Brotherhood, which will come under intense scrutiny.”

It would seem the “media speculation and a series of unsubstantiated and vicious allegations” driving the campaign against British Muslim charities is as much informed by the activities of pro-Israeli campaigners as it is by the pressure exerted on the UK by foreign governments.


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