INTERPAL, the U.K. Palestinian charity that is part of a Muslim Brotherhood led Hamas fund-raising network, has issued a statement indicating that the organization faces imminent closure because their bank has received notice to stop dealing with them. According to the statement:
Due to the overwhelming support Interpal has received on this matter, this statement is being released for further circulation and clarification. On the November 12, Interpal received notification from their bank, the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), that Lloyds TSB (their clearing bank) has served notice on IBB to cease all dealings with Interpal. Clearing banks are responsible for the processing of all financial transactions and Lloyds TSB is one of the 4 clearing banks in the UK which all high street banks must work through. The notice comes into effect on 8 December 2008 (date subsequently revised to 30 January 2009) and has the potential to force Interpal to cease operations early next month. After this time “all transactions into or out of Interpal accounts will be blocked and IBB will be at further risk of all its customer payments being suspended”. To date, despite pressures from Lloyds, IBB has offered Interpal its full support but it remains threatened by Lloyds’ demands and to our understanding, possible future closure itself. Lloyds TSB has treated IBB in a discriminatory fashion and its customers with complete disrespect. Other Muslim charities now face the same discrimination and their accounts can be closed down without adequate warning or explanation. At a time when ties amongst communities need to be strengthened, this is an Islamophobic attack on the rights of all British Muslims and sets a dangerous precedent for discrimination on all British citizens and account-holders. This is not only an attack on Interpal, a leading British charity, but on all other Muslim charities, all charities working in politically-sensitive regions, all customers of IBB and the Palestinian people, 80% of whom are completely dependent on international aid for survival. This comes as a result of pressures from foreign groups, which do not have the legality to interfere with either the British banking or charity sector, yet have managed to place IBB in a compromising situation. Additionally, this comes as Lloyds TSB recently benefited from a bailout of taxpayer’s money, without considering that Muslims are also among British taxpayers.
INTERPAL is perhaps the key organization in the Union of Good, a worldwide coalition of Islamic charities headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi that has recently been designated by the U.S. Treasury as a terrorist entity in connection with its fundraising for Hamas. INTERPAL has many connection with the European Muslim Brotherhood not the least of which is that according to a NEFA Foundation report, as of May 2007 the General Manager of INTERPAL was Abdelkarim Bensiali who in December 2005 was also the Executive Director of the Europe Trust, the charitable funding arm of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, the European umbrella Muslim Brotherhood. INTERPAL is strongly supported by many organizations in the U.K. which are part of the Muslim Brotherhood network including the Muslim Council of Britain, the Muslim Association of Britain, the British Muslim Initiative, and the Palestinian Return Centre.
INTERPAL has been the subject of numerous investigations by the U.K. Charity commission, U.K. media, and others but it appears that the U.S. designation of the Union of Good may have tipped the balance. Local media is reporting that Islamic organizations in Britain are mounting a protest over the matter.