Islamist Extremism in the U.K. Strengthened by Foreign Funding

British Prime Minister Theresa May and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. © Saudi Royal Court / Reuters

A new report from the Henry Jackson Society has highlighted the need for a public inquiry into the foreign-based funding of Islamist extremism.

The Henry Jackson Society saysthat the report covers a growing body of evidence on the considerable impact that foreign funding has had on advancing Islamist extremism in Britain and other Western countries. The report’s conclusions include:

— The foreign funding for Islamist extremism in Britain primarily comes from governments and government linked foundations based in the Gulf, as well as Iran.

— Foremost among these has been Saudi Arabia, which since the 1960s has sponsored a multimillion dollar effort to export Wahhabi Islam across the Islamic world, including to Muslim communities in the West.

— In the U.K., 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. 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 U.K.’s independent Islamic schools.

— A number of Britain’s most serious Islamist hate preachers sit within the Salafi-Wahhabi ideology and are apparently linked to Islamist extremism sponsored from overseas, either by having studied in Saudi Arabia as part of scholarship programmes, or by having been provided with extreme literature and material within the U.K. itself.

— There have been numerous cases of British individuals who have joined Jihadist groups in Iraq and Syria whose radicalization is thought to link back to foreign funded institutions and preachers.

— Read more in Tom Wilson, Foreign Funded Islamist Extremism in the U.K. (Henry Jackson Society, July 2017)

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