There are growing calls in the Muslim community for a boycott of HSBC bank after it closed the bank accounts of a prominent Muslim activist and his family members.
Anas Altikri, the CEO of The Cordoba Foundation, tweeted this morning that last week HSBC had informed him that he, his wife and two sons would have their personal accounts closed down. According to Altikriti, HSBC did not offer an explanation for these actions.
Altikriti subsequently tweeted: “I’ve been with HSBC for 29 years, my wife for 19. The way we’ve been treated is incredibly disrespectful and shoddy… As much as we’ve tried to get an explanation for HSBC’s decision to close down our accounts, no response has been forthcoming… The only explanation that cones to mind is my work for Palestine and Gaza. If not, then I call on HSBC to deny it…”
He added: “While one could see why my account would be closed, why my wife and my 16 and 12 year old sons?… The fact that HSBC are hiding behind their terms and conditions in closing down accounts for children is disgraceful… We’ve all heard that HSBC has also closed down accounts for Finsbury Park Mosque and the Cordoba Foundation. Who next? … From what happened to me and my family and the lack of explanation from HSBC, it’s time to choose your account before they do.”
British banks have closed down the bank accounts of several Muslim organisations and charities in the past but the targeting of individuals seems to be a new phenomenon.
5Pillarz has approached HSBC for comment but has received no reply thus far.
Altikriti is known to be close to the Muslim Brotherhood. A few months ago Prime Minister David Cameron ordered Whitehall officials to launch an investigation into the Brotherhood’s UK activities.
According to the Guardian newspaper, the review would examine allegations that the Muslim Brotherhood was behind the murder of three tourists on a bus in Egypt in February and that it planned extremist activities from Britain.
A No 10 source confirmed a report in the Times that the investigation is being launched as the prime minister faces pressure to follow the example of Egypt and Saudi Arabia (which claim that the Muslim Brotherhood uses London as a crucial centre for its activities) to ban the group.
MI5 will assess how many leaders have been based in Britain after last year’s coup in Egypt in which Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood president, was ousted.
British officials are saying it is “possible but unlikely” that the Muslim Brotherhood will be banned in Britain on the grounds of terrorist links.
The Muslim Brotherhood has many supporters in the UK, especially among British Arabs.
Prominent British Muslims such as Azzam Tamimi, as well as Anas Altikriti, are well known Muslim Brotherhood supporters and organisations such as the Muslim Association of Britain, the British Muslim Initiative, Al Hiwar TV channel, the Cordoba Foundation and Middle East Monitor are thought to be sympathetic to the Brotherhood.
Moreover, Muslim Brotherhood supporters in the UK are well known for their advocacy of political Islam but have always had a reputation of working within the law and the system.
In a statement after the inquiry was announced the Islamic Human Rights Commission said it “believes that the PM’s decision is a direct response to the outlawing of the Muslim Brotherhood by the armed forces in Egypt in December last year, shortly after the movement’s democratically elected leaders were overthrown in a military coup…
“In March, Saudi Arabia also designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist group and banned it from operating in the Kingdom. It is no secret that the Saudi and Egyptian regimes have been lobbying western capitals to curb the movement’s activities in a bid to reduce its influence in the Middle East.
”IHRC believes it is outrageous that the British government should be pandering to the authoritarian regimes in the Middle East when British interests and justice would be better served by taking diplomatic action against them for their part in overthrowing a democratically elected government and bringing back military rule.”
Ummah Welfare Trust
Just a few days ago HSBC issued Muslim charity Ummah Welfare Trust with a two-month notice to shut down its account.
A similar “notice” was issued by Barclays who told UWT to close their account during the 2008-2009 Gaza war.
In response, UWT has pledged to increase its financial support for the people of Gaza and Syria through alternative banking methods.
The charity has made an appeal to the wider Ummah to sympathise with the humanitarian cause of the Syrians and Palestinians, and to support UWT by doing the following:
– Boycott and close down your personal and business accounts with HSBC.
– Inform your contacts worldwide in the Muslim world and further afar to boycott HSBC Global.