Is there a plot to shut down CAGE?

CAGE demonstration outside the Home Office in 2014

“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say, ‘We believe’, and will not be tested? And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make it known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make it known (the falsehood of) those who are liars.”

(Quran: 29:2-3)

Many of our supporters have recently had their regular standing orders to our bank accounts dishonoured with the answer “Account Closed”, writes CAGE’s Fahad Ansari. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience and anxiety this has caused our supporters.

While the closure of our accounts has created a high level of operational inconvenience which has disrupted our projects and campaigns, we are in the process of applying for a new bank account.

For those who wish to continue to donate to CAGE in the meantime, we are more than happy to receive cash donations and are willing to facilitate this through arranging to collect donations personally from supporters.

Following the arrest of our Outreach Director Moazzam Begg on 25 February 2014, we have noted with great concern that there appears to be a concerted effort to shut the organisation down or to at least render it operationally ineffective.

This has recently taken place through the imposition of unwarranted pressure on some of our most significant donors as well as through the closure of our business bank accounts.

Like any business, CAGE requires the use of bank accounts in order to function and had accounts open with Barclays and the Co-Operative Bank.

In March this year, both banks closed CAGE’s accounts without any prior notification. Direct Debits were cancelled and Standing Orders returned with no explanation other than the banks that the accounts had been closed. Shortly after the CAGE account was closed, Barclays also closed the personal accounts of CAGE’s Treasurer and a senior CAGE volunteer.

CAGE’s Treasurer had been banking with Barclays for over 18 years. No explanation has been provided for the closure of any of those accounts.

War on Terror

CAGE has been at the forefront of exposing the role of the UK government in rendition and torture for over a decade and has been a persistent and vocal critic of its counter-terrorism laws and policies. CAGE has always carried out its activities within the remit of the law and the message that we are propagating is reaching an increasing number of people both in the UK and abroad. It is only to be expected that CAGE too would become a target of those measures as a result.

Despite the setbacks, CAGE has continued its struggle for truth and justice. Since our accounts were closed, we have:

CAGE has urged the authorities not to criminalise British Muslims who travel to Syria
CAGE has urged the authorities not to criminalise British Muslims who travel to Syria

– Exposed MI5’s complicity in the detention and torture abroad of British resident Ahmed Dini

– Published an information leaflet on people’s rights during police home raids

– Provided unique insight into the issue of foreign fighters in Syria through comments in the written and broadcast media, including appearances on BBC Newsnight and Channel 4 News

 

– Participated in the public consultation on the Schedule 7 officer’s Code of Practice

– Published an exclusive interview with Heba al-Dabbagh, the author of ‘Just five Minutes’, an account of her detention and tortured in Syria during the 1980s

Targeting

CAGE is not the first organisation of its kind to be targeted in this way, nor will it be the last.

Civil rights groups around the world have historically been persecuted in this manner by the authorities precisely because they work to hold those governments to account for their crimes.

When Islam first arrived in the Arabian Peninsula, it was the Prophet Muhammed (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) preaching and campaigning for a more just society free of oppression, in which the rights of Allah, the orphans, women, the elderly, the weak and the vulnerable, were protected, that resulted in the Muslims of that time being arbitrarily detained, tortured and executed.

Indeed one of the most powerful weapons that the enemies of Islam used at that time was the complete social and economic boycott of the Muslims and those who supported them, i.e. the imposition of financial sanctions.

CAGE is known for its work on Guantanamo Bay
CAGE is known for its work on Guantanamo Bay

Although these sanctions lasted for a torturous three years during which the Muslims suffered tremendously with many dying of starvation and malnutrition, this was a defining period in the nurturing of the companions of a strength and conviction that would help them not just overcome their enemies in Makkah but also the mighty superpowers of Rome and Persia in years to come.

CAGE has been operating for over a decade and we perceive these current events in a similar vein. We want to reassure our supporters that despite these setbacks, we intend to be here for another decade with the permission of Allah and even longer in our struggle for truth and justice to create a world free from oppression and injustice.

Finally, while it is natural to feel fear or anxiety, we remind ourselves and our supporters that we must not allow that fear to control our behaviour and actions. Our position today is like that of the companions of the Prophet Muhammed (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) on the day of the Battle of the Trench who initially felt petrified by the coalition forces that had surrounded Madinah, but on remembering Allah declared:

“This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us, and Allah and His Messenger spoke the truth.”

(Quran: 33:22)

As Allah says, this increased them, not in fear, but in faith and submission.

We ask Allah to keep us all steadfast on the truth and on the challenging path to justice. We ask all our supporters to not waiver in their support for CAGE as long as we remain true to the principles of truth and justice and continue to donate generously to the organisation throughout the month of Ramadan.

Please contact CAGE if you wish to make any form of cash donation while we finalise the opening of a new bank account, as your prayers and donations are fundamental to the functioning of the organisation.

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