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HSBC and the Muslim Brotherhood

This is a Cross Post by Amjad Khan

In December 2012, HSBC Bank agreed to pay the US authorities $1.9bn (£1.2bn) in a settlement over money laundering, the largest paid in such a case. A US Senate investigation said the UK-based bank had been a conduit for “drug kingpins and rogue nations”.

In February 2013, the top two executives at HSBC admitted it had become a target for international terrorists and cocaine barons as they sought to insist that Britain’s biggest bank was in the midst of serious reform.

Furthermore, Chief executive Stuart Gulliver and Chairman Douglas Flint came under attack from the Parliamentary Banking Standards Commission. They agreed that the structure of the bank had been “not fit for purpose”, that HSBC’s “geographic footprint” made it a criminal target and that managers had failed to report on obvious indications that money laundering was occurring.

Both men admitted the bank had been too slow to put in place proper anti-money laundering controls. They said the US report into the bank’s behaviour was “excruciating” and a “very sobering read”. Gulliver said “We accept responsibility for our past mistakes,”

This meant that the Bank was in the mood to look at individuals and organisations that have or may have links to organisations that were considered dubious and had connections to organisations such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

It was reported on the 30th July that HSBC had decided to close down the bank accounts that belong to Amanat Trust (Trading as Ummah Welfare Trust), Cordoba Foundation, and Finsbury Park Mosque.

The Cordoba Foundation spin as to why this was done – by Anas Altikriti was:

“The only explanation that comes to mind is my work for Palestine and Gaza

He also encouraged a boycott, urging people to “choose your account before they do”.

Khalid Oumar, one of Finsbury Park Mosque’s trustees, said the fact that HSBC had declined to explain its actions “has led us to believe that the only reason this has happened is because of an Islamophobic campaign targeting Muslim charities in the UK”.

Mohammed Ahmad from Finsbury Park Mosque says he thinks HSBC has made its decision because of its work in Gaza, where he says Ummah provides “ambulances, food aid, medical aid, and grants.

The BBC, who broke the story, also decided to run with a story entitled HSBC closes some Muslim groups’ accounts and proceeded to tell a one sided story of discrimination against innocent Muslims – whilst forgetting to mention that these people and organisations have connections with the Muslim Brotherhood and some of them have been accused of supporting or funding extremism and terrorism.

Cordoba Foundation

It has now been over six years since David Cameron made his speech to the Community Security Trust on 4th March 2008 where he exposed amongst others the Cordoba Foundation as  a front for the Muslim Brotherhood with close connections to people with extremist views, including Azzam Tamimi, who said that sacrificing his life in a suicide bombing in Israel/Palestine would be

a noble cause. It is the straight way to pleasing my God and I would do it if I had the opportunity.”

The founding leader of the Cordoba Foundation is Anas al-Tikriti, a British-Iraqi academic, activist and commentator. He is a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain, having served as President of the Muslim Association of Britain before leaving to found the British Muslim Initiative, with Tamimi and Mohammad Sawalha.

The Brotherhood held an official conference where they endorsed a call for jihad in Syria by any and all means available.

They went on to say:

“Jihad is necessary for the victory of our brothers in Syria – jihad with mind, money, weapons; all forms of jihad”

Furthermore, the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual guide who is residing comfortably in his Qatari residence – Yusuf al-Qaradawi, has also called for a Jihad in Syria stating that anyone who supports the Syrian regime must be fought whether they are military or civilian. He quotes Quranic verses to justify this and as such has also issued an edict calling for able-bodied Muslims to go to fight in Syria.

To further help his cause, Qaradawi has turned the struggle for freedom into a sectarian war and has issued statements whereby he states that Shias are not Muslims and must be killed.

More recently, the PM has ordered Whitehall officials to launch an investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood following on from reports that the organisation has decided to move its global operational base to London in order to launch its global “fight back”.

In addition to this Tony Blair made a speech whereby he said that

“The Muslim Brotherhood and other organisations are increasingly active and they operate without much investigation or constraint.”

In 2006 al-Tikriti expressed support on the Muslim Brotherhood website for

the right of the Iraqis to engage in legitimate resistance against foreign occupation

Even if that means killing British soldiers.

He also supports Hamas, which he says “supports democracy” and should not be regarded as a terrorist organisation. Even though they were elected in January 2006 and showing their true democratic colours, decided not to hold any further elections. Notwithstanding the fact that the EU have decided to list Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

Furthermore, al-Tikriti has written in defence of the Muslim Council of Britain’s decision to boycott Holocaust Memorial Day, describing it as a “principled stand”.

Finsbury Park Mosque

The North London Central Mosque (also known as The Finsbury Park Mosque) was founded in 1988.  It became notorious as the “pulpit” of the extremist preacher Abu Hamza – whose followers included the shoe bomber Richard Reid and the twentieth of the 9/11 hijackers, Zacarias Moussaoui.  In January 2003 the Mosque was raided by the Metropolitan Police who had connected a number of its congregation with the ‘ricin plot’ of 2002. This led to the closure of the NLCM in January 2003 and the removal of Abu Hamza – who continued to preach outside the Mosque until his eventual arrest in May 2004.

In February 2005, with the help of the Metropolitan Police, the Charity Commission and the local council, the NLCM was taken over by a new management committee made up of activists from the Muslim Association of Britain or MAB – The official representative of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK.

Azzam Tamimi, a self-described spokesman for the MAB, stated at the time of the MAB takeover of the Mosque:

MAB was approached by a combination of people – the old Trustees, the police, the Home Office, MPs, and we were asked could we, if we had the opportunity, run this mosque.”

Under the leadership of its new Trustees, the Finsbury Park Mosque claims to have turned its back on extremism and, according to its mission statement, aims to ‘reach out to the rest of society to give them a better idea about Islam and dispel any myths and misconceptions they may have in an effort to promote good relations in society.”  In November 2008 the Mosque won Islam Online’s audience’s award for the “Best Islamic Center in Europe”.  Islam Online is a major Muslim Brotherhood news portal which describes Qatar based Islamist, Yusuf al-Qaradawi as its spiritual mentor.

Some known trustees/affiliates include

Mohammed Sawalha has been described by the BBC’s Panorama as a ‘fugitive Hamas commander’ and perhaps ‘the most influential Muslim Brotherhood memeber in Britain today’ and is said to have master minded much of Hamas’ political and military strategy. He is a former President of the Muslim Brotherhood MAB.

On Monday 24 November 2008 a Dallas Federal court found the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) and five of its leading members guilty of funnelling $12 million to Hamas. The jury convicted all defendants on conspiracy charges — conspiracy to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organisation; conspiracy to provide funds, goods and services to a specially designated terrorist; and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  Sawalha is listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in this case

Perhaps HSBC were worried about a potential UK based trial similar to the above?

Amanat Trust – Ummah Welfare trust

The following has been reproduced from Student Rights and can be found here

UWT has supported projects implemented by the Al-Salah Islamic Association - designated as a Hamas fundraising operation in 2007 by the US Treasury, which described it as “one of the largest and best-funded Hamas charitable organizations in the Palestinian territories”.

Al-Salah had its assets frozen by the Palestinian Authority in 2003 over connections to Hamas and was confirmed as Hamas-linked by the militant group itself in 2002.

The charity is also alleged to have given money to Interpal, designated by the US Treasury in 2003 as one of several organisations that “provide support to Hamas and form part of its funding network in Europe”.

A 2009 Charity Commission investigation concluded that it “…could not verify the material suggesting that certain local partners funded by [Interpal] may be promoting terrorist ideology or activities”.

However, it ordered the charity to disassociate from the designated Hamas fundraising organisation Union of Good (UoG) after it was found that the UoG General Secretary doubled as Interpal’s Managing Trustee.

In addition, UWT has hosted material on its website which called the British government “an enemy to Islam and the Muslims” and encouraged readers to “consider the Police and Intelligence as filthy human beings”.

The timing of the above bank closures is unfortunate and one can understand how with the current climate, HSBC could be accused of being “Islamophobic” or targeting charities that happen to be Muslim and working in Gaza. But the reality is that the decision to remove them as customers was made before the current Israel vs Hamas conflict and they are 3 out of a number of organisations that have received similar letters. In fact HSBC have stated that they have

“..exited relationships with business and personal customers in over 70 countries.”

They did not have their accounts suspended because they are Muslim, they were suspended because they are fronts/supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and if you had been slapped with a $1.9 Billion fine for your bank being a conduit for drug kingpins and rogue nations and was a target for criminal activities where managers had failed to report on obvious indications that money laundering was occurring – would you get rid of any customers that supported extremists or terrorists and run the risk of doing so via your business?