Islamist extremism is being funded by thousands of individuals in the UK

Saudi Arabia Denies Report That It is Linked to UK Extremists and Demands Evidence of the Allegations

Ministers were today braced for new accusations of a cover-up after an official report confirmed that overseas funding is fuelling Islamist extremism in Britain.

The report also found overseas support has allowed individuals to study at institutions that teach "deeply conservative forms of Islam".

Announcing the decision in a written parliamentary statement, Rudd instead published a 430-word summary of the report, including that some extreme Islamist groups receive hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in funding, mainly from UK-based individual donors.

Foremost among these has been Saudi Arabia, which since the 1960s has sponsored a multimillion dollar effort to export Wahhabi Islam across the Islamic world, including to Muslim communities in the West.

Rudd's statement does not name any countries found to be important sources of funding for fundamentalist groups, a fact that some suspect is a deliberate omission to shield Saudi Arabia.

The row over the release of the report began last week after a question was put to the Home Office about when the report, originally commissioned by former Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015, would be released.

It added: "For a small number of organisations with which there are extremism concerns, overseas funding is a significant source of income".

Rudd said the government hopes to create more transparency around Islamic charities because extremist organisations were trying to "avoid regulatory oversight".

"The government of Saudi Arabia has studied the report with great concern, and we demand Henry Jackson Society to provide us with the verified evidence that leads to their conclusions".

Labour's shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said there was a "strong suspicion" the report was being "suppressed to protect this Government's trade and diplomatic priorities, including in relation to Saudi Arabia". The only way to allay those suspicions is to publish the report in full.

Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas also blasted the Home Office's refusal to publish as "completely unacceptable".

"It seems like the government, yet again, is putting our so-called friendship with Saudi Arabia above our values".

The Home Secretary said that no single measure would tackle all of the issues raised in the review, so a comprehensive approach focusing particularly on domestic sources of support for extremism is needed.

Announcing her decision in a parliamentary statement, Ms Rudd said the report provided the "best picture we have ever had of how extremists operating in the United Kingdom sustain their activities".

It added: "These organisations have an interest in ensuring they are not inadvertently supporting extremist individuals or organisations". The Charity Commission will be introducing a requirement on charities to declare overseas funding sources, Ms Rudd added.

"The government accepts that foreign funding is a significant source of income for some extremist groups here in Britain - but they won't say in public where that money is coming from", she was quoted as saying by Business Insider on Wednesday.

Related:

Comments