Think-tank says Saudi Arabia ‘chief foreign promoter’ of Islamist extremism in UK
The Henry Jackson Society, a foreign affairs think-tank, said there was a “clear and growing link” between Islamist organisations in receipt of overseas funds, hate preachers and Jihadist groups promoting violence and called for a public inquiry into the role of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations.world Updated: Jul 05, 2017 22:09 IST
Government and government-linked organisations in Saudi Arabia, Iran and other Gulf countries are allegedly responsible for providing funding for Islamist extremism in the United Kingdom, according to the London-based think-tank, the Henry Jackson Society.
Its report released on Wednesday, titled “Foreign Funded Islamist Extremism in the UK”, mentions India’s intelligence agencies reported that between 2011 and 2013,” Saudi Arabia sent $250 million, as well as thousands of clerics, to India for the purpose of establishing Wahhabi mosques and seminaries”.
Calling for a public inquiry into such funding, the report said that since the 1960s, Saudi Arabia had allegedly sponsored a multi-million dollar effort to export Wahhabi Islam across the Islamic world, including to Muslim communities in the West.
The report said: “Whereas South Asian graduates of Deobandi seminaries in the UK had previously gone on to continue their studies in India or Pakistan, in recent years there has been an increase in the numbers furthering their studies in Saudi Arabia.
“In the UK, this funding has primarily taken the form of endowments to mosques and Islamic educational institutions, which have apparently, in turn, played host to Islamist extremist preachers and the distribution of extremist literature.”
It added, “Influence has also been exerted through the training of British Muslim religious leaders in Saudi Arabia, as well as the use of Saudi textbooks in a number of the UK’s independent Islamic schools.”
Noting that the Theresa May government had pledged in June to establish a commission for countering extremism, the report said the challenge of foreign-funded Islamist extremism was one area that could be prioritised by the new body.