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HSBC closes more Muslim accounts

HSBC closes more Muslim accounts

Categories: Latest News

Friday August 01 2014

Further to the report on HSBC’s closure of Ummah Welfare Trust’s bank account in Bradford, BBC News reports on the bank’s closure of other accounts owned by Muslims.

Finsbury Park mosque is one of those that has been contacted by the bank with a letter notifying that it will be withdrawing banking facilities on 22 September and closing the account. The reason given by the bank in the letter sent to the mosque’s treasurer was “the provision of banking services… now falls outside of our risk appetite”. There is no explanation as to what that means or why it is now being cited as reason to close an account.

The mosque’s chairman Mohammed Kozbar told the BBC: “The bank didn’t even contact us beforehand. Didn’t give us a chance even to address [their] concerns.

“For us it is astonishing – we are a charity operating in the UK, all our operations are here in the UK and we don’t transfer any money out of the UK. All our operations are funded from funds within the UK.”

Anas al Tikriti, Director of The Cordoba Foundation, his wife and his two sons, aged 12 and 16, have also received separate letters from HSBC notifying them of the bank’s decision to terminate their accounts.

Speaking to the BBC, Anas, who has banked with HSBC for over two decades, said, “I can only speculate – and I wish someone from the bank could explain [why the accounts were closed]. The organisations are mainly charities and the link is that many of them if not all of them are vocal on the issue of Palestine.”

The Cordoba Foundation also received a letter, identical to the one sent to the Finsbury Park mosque and dated the same day, informing of the bank’s decision to close the organisation’s bank account. The reason cited was, again, that “the provision of banking services… now falls outside of our risk appetite”.

HSBC has denied claims that its policy has the look and feel of anti-Muslim discrimination stating it is “absolutely not based on race or religion”.

A Freedom of Information request enquiring about details, based on the equality strands, of clients whom have been sent letters advising of account closure would perhaps substantiate HSBC’s claims that this is “absolutely not based on race or religion”. What proportion of clients contacted by the bank self-identify with race or religion and how many with the other strands of gender, age and sexual discrimination? And would letters such as those received by Finsbury Park mosque, Ummah Welfare Trust and Cordoba Foundation, if sent to Jewish charities, attract interest from concerned politicians and the Charities Commission?


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