Islamist extremist organisations have been receiving hundreds of thousands of pounds a year from individuals in the UK.
A Home Office review into the nature, scale, and origin of the funding of Islamist extremist activity in Britain found that the most common source of support is from small,
anonymous public donations, with the majority coming from UK-based individuals.
‘In some cases, these organisations receive hundreds of thousands of pounds a year,’ Home Secretary Amber Rudd said. ‘This is the main source of income.’
For a smaller number of other groups, however, a ‘significant source of income’ comes from overseas – but the Government has not released which countries are implicated.
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’
And Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas also attacked the review for withholding information.
But Rudd said she had decided against publishing the report in full for national security reasons, and because of the volume of personal information it contains.
She said the Government would be directly raising issues of concern with ‘specific countries as part of our wider international engagement on countering extremism and violent extremism’.
Overseas support has also allowed individuals to study at institutions that teach ‘deeply conservative forms of Islam’, the report found, and provides ‘highly socially conservative literature and preachers’ to the UK’s Islamic institutions – some of whom have since become of extremist concern.
The report was commissioned in November 2015 by the then prime minister David Cameron.
Rudd said it ‘gives us the best picture we have ever had of how extremists operating in the UK sustain their activities’.
It also found that some Islamic organisations of concern are posing as charities to increase their credibility and to take advantage of Islam’s emphasis on charity. Some of these are deliberately vague about their activities and charitable status.
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.
The Government will also work with the Charity Commission to address the abuse of charities for terrorist or extremist purposes.
They will also introduce a requirement for charities to declare any overseas funding sources.