A government department donated £18,000 to a charity coalition with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group whose activities Britain has vowed to curtail following concerns over their extremist links in the Middle East, it has been claimed.
Last week the Telegraph revealed that the government was set to impose curbs on Muslim Brotherhood-linked organisations after a report by a senior diplomat exposed its ties with Islamist armed groups in Middle East and elsewhere.
Yet a Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) spending report shows they donated £18,397 earlier this year to the Muslim Charities Forum (MCF), an umbrella group for a number of leading Islamist charities, some of which allegedly have links to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and other terrorist organisations.
David Cameron ordered an urgent investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood’s alleged role in violent extremism in April, after Gulf allies put pressure on the government to curtail the movement’s London-based operations.
The report, which has now been handed over to Downing Street, accepts that some of the movement’s activity amounts to complicity with armed groups and extremists in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Sam Westrop, director of Stand For Peace, an interfaith group that highlights religious and political extremism in the UK, denounced the government donation to the MCF as “madness” and “completely counter-intuitive”.
He said: “If the government is really committed to fighting extremism and ultimately preventing radicalisation to the point of terrorism, it actually needs to stop enabling and funding it.”
The MCF is a charitable body and umbrella group for nine leading Islamist charities.
According to a report by American think tank Nine Eleven Finding Answers, five of these charities – Muslim Hands, Human Appeal International, Human Relief Foundation, Muslim Aid and Islamic Relief – were early participants in the Union of Good, a fundraising body with close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, created to raise money for the terrorist group Hamas.
The US has designated the Union of Good as a sponsor of terrorism, saying it is an “organization created by Hamas leadership to transfer funds to the terrorist organization”.
An MCF spokesman denied that any charities under its remit are members of the Union of Good.
The Telegraph has previously reportedallegations that Muslim Aid, a charity established by activists from Jamaat-e-Islami, the sub-continental cousin of the Muslim Brotherhood, had channelled funds to eight organisations linked to the terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Mr Westrop said: “The Brotherhood is not some benign organisation whose politics we simply don’t like. This is a group described by the former head of MI6 as ‘at heart a terrorist organisation’.
“It is a group that involves all levels of extremism here in the UK. It is a group that is funding and encouraging terrorism around the world.”
Mr Westrop said that his colleagues in America are “shocked by some of the bizarre acts of funding and political collusion that happen here in the UK”.
He warned: “The same thing is happening in America, they are just a few years behind. In the UK a lot of the interfaith dialogue movement is run by figures from the Brotherhood and its south Asian cousins, Jamaat-e-Islami.
“In America the interfaith scene is relatively benign but we are starting to see the infiltration of radical Islamism groups.”
A DCLG spokesman said: “We do not fund any organisation involved with violent or non-violent extremism.
“This funding actively encourages integration, by promoting inter-faith work, promoting the role of women in faith, tackling youth crime and providing training in child protection.”
A MCF spokesman said: “All MCF members are registered with the Charity Commission of England and Wales, and by default abide by charity law.
“They also abide by international humanitarian standards and principles as well as are signatories of the International Code of Conduct from the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
“All our members are purely humanitarian and the Muslim Charities Forum is committed to upholding and promoting the highest of humanitarian standards and principles.”
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