Home Secretary Amber Rudd cited “national security reasons” for the decision to suppress a long-awaited report on the funding of extremism.
The British government has announced it will not publish in its entirety a much-delayed report on the funding of Islamic extremism for “security reasons” – but critics have accused it of trying to protect key ally Saudi Arabia.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced the decision on 12 July in a written statement to Parliament. She said she would not publish the classified report “because of the volume of personal information it contains and for national security reasons.”
The report, commissioned by then-Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015, has not been published since it was completed last year and despite pressure on ministers to do so. There is growing speculation that it had been delayed until now because it could embarrass powerful allies such as the Saudis.
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.”
While Rudd did say overseas funding was a “significant source of income” for some extremist groups, she did not mention any countries by name.
Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP, has also criticised the decision to keep the full findings of the report secret.
According to The Guardian newspaper, she said: “The statement gives absolutely no clue as to which countries foreign funding for extremism originates from – leaving the government open to further allegations of refusing to expose the role of Saudi Arabian money in terrorism in the UK.”
The Home Secretary said the report showed the largest source of income for Islamist extremist groups here came mostly from anonymous individual public donations from within the UK.
The review also says that some Islamic organisations of concern are posing as charities to increase their credibility and to take advantage of Islam’s emphasis on charity.
Rudd added that support from outside the UK enabled UK citizens to study in highly conservative institutions abroad, leading to the dissemination of highly conservative literature within UK institutions.
The Home Secretary said the government would be raising the issues of concern directly with “specific countries as part of our wider international engagement on countering extremism and violent extremism.”