List of UK groups linked to Qatari-owned bank involved in terror financing

Muslim worshippers gather for Friday prayer on the streets outside the mosque of the Muslim centre in east London, 11 June 2004. (File photo: AFP)

The UK-based Qatari-owned Al Rayan Bank has clients including designated terrorist organizations and controversial Islamic groups linked to Hamas, according to The Times.

Al Rayan Bank is a commercial bank that claims to operate entirely within Islamic principles. According to The Times, Al Rayan is 70 percent owned by Masraf Al Rayan, which is Qatar’s second-largest bank and has close ties to the Qatari state.

Using publicly available records, The Times drafted the following list of controversial organizations that have an Al Rayan bank account.

Interpal

Interpal, a Palestinian aid charity that has been designated as a terrorist entity by the US Treasury due to alleged funding links to Hamas. The British government identified Interpal as part of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood’s British infrastructure in 2015, and its banking facilities were previously withdrawn by Natwest in 2007 and Lloyds TSB in 2008.

The Nectar Trust

The Nectar Trust, previously known as Qatar Charity UK, has received more than £37 million from Doha-based Qatar Charity and is partners in Sheffield with the Emaan Trust, a group whose leaders have close links to the Muslim Brotherhood, according to The Times. The Nectar Trust has been accused of founding pro-Muslim Brotherhood mosques in Europe.

The Islamic Research Foundation International

The Islamic Research Foundation International is led by Indian televangelist Zakir Naik, who was banned from the UK in 2010 following a history of controversial comments. Naik claims that 9/11 was an inside job and has praised Osama bin Laden, saying that “every Muslim should be a terrorist” if it meant fighting the US. Naik’s satellite channel Peace TV has promoted hardliner views including four programs which breached broadcasting rules on hate speech, abuse, offense, and incitement to crime, according to an investigation by the UK regulator Ofcom.

Finsbury Mosque

The Finsbury Park Mosque, where hate preacher Abu Hamza was based in the 1990s. Abu Hamza was the imam of Finsbury Park Mosque in London, where he preached extremism. He is currently serving a life sentence in prison in the United States, after being found guilty of eleven terrorism charges in May 2014.

Ummah Welfare Trust

The Ummah Welfare Trust, a UK-based international relief and development charity, has had its accounts with Barclays and HSBC banks closed due to its activities. The charity has worked with Interpal, a Palestinian aid charity which has been designated as a terrorist entity by the US Treasury, in the past.

HHUGS Charity

Helping Households Under Great Stress aims to support the families of Muslims accused of terrorism-related offenses. The charity’s accounts with HSBC and Lloyds TSB banks were closed.

Islamic Forum Trust

The Islamic Forum Trust, which is the charitable arm of the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) and is based at the East London Mosque complex. According to a Telegraph report in 2010, which viewed internal documents from the Trust, IFE stated its main mission was to change “the very infrastructure of [western] society, its institutions, its culture and its creed … from ignorance to Islam”. The IFE once raised a complaint with Ofcom after Channel 4 described the trust as “extremist and fundamentalist” in a film. The UK's communications regulator rejected the complaint, saying that the descriptions stood as it “supported by recorded clips or actual quotes.”

East London mosque

The East London mosque and its associate the London Muslim Centre have been accused of being linked to radical Islamic thought through their relations with the Islamic Forum of Europe. Both institutions have hosted controversial preachers, including Haitham al-Haddad, a Salafist scholar. Sara Khan, Britain’s counter-extremism commissioner, has condemned Al-Haddad for his previous speeches deemed racist, misogynistic and homophobic. The mosque has also hosted Jamaican-born Canadian Bilal Philips, an Islamic scholar who lives in Qatar and named by the US as a co-conspirator in a 1993 plot to bomb the World Trade Centre in New York.

Mend

Muslim lobby group Mend says it focuses its work on tackling Islamophobia across the UK. The group has been criticized for encouraging Muslim parents to protest outside schools in the UK, which teach tolerance toward same-sex relationships. It held a conference last year, which featured controversial speakers including Salafist scholars who have praised Hamas militants as “freedom fighters”.

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