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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Qatari head of UK charity also cofounded extremist website

Sponsored by the Qatari government, the website aims to "enrich knowledge" about Islam but also espouses extreme views

The head of the UK arm of a charity which says it helps disadvantaged young people In Britain and Europe, previously cofounded a website which issued extremist fatwas and advised British Muslims that they should not swear an oath of citizenship to Britain.

Yousef bin Ahmed Al Kuwari oversaw the launch of Islamweb.net, which is sponsored by the Qatari Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs, where Mr Kuwari was head of information technology, according to an official biography given when he spoke at a Corporate Social Responsibility summit in Qatar.

Islamweb says it is "a site designed to enrich the viewers' knowledge and appreciation of Islam", and is used by British citizens "seeking religious guidance on a range of issues." But it also espouses extreme views on such issues as integration into British society. In June, the website said of Jews and Christians: "It is incumbent to hate them for the sake of Allah."

In response to a query about whether Muslims should sign an oath of allegiance when becoming a UK citizen, it says: “There is no doubt that a person who accepts the naturalisation of disbelieving countries commits many religious infractions. Among these infractions is to utter what is not permissible to believe in or abide by, like accepting their regime which is totally different from Islam, and uttering an oath to be loyal and friendly with them.”

Mr Kuwari is listed as the chief executive of Qatar Charity UK (QCUK) at Companies House and as chairman on the Qatar Charity website. Accounts filed to the Charity Commission — the body that regulates registered charities — show that 99 per cent of the charity’s money comes from its parent organisation in Doha.

Mr Kuwari's biography describes him as "a Qatari leader who is keen to help poor people around the world."

In 2015 QCUK provided a grant of £400,000 (Dh1.96 million) for a “multipurpose centre in the UK”, a project they worked on with the Emaan Trust in Sheffield, northern England. The Daily Telegraph reported that one of the trustees of the Emaan Trust, Essam Al Fulajii, has said Muslims and Christians should unite against the “monster” Jews, and claimed that he is “still convinced that the international Zionists and Mossad were behind the September 11 attacks.”

According to he Daily Telegraph, neighbouring Gulf states have designated QCUK's parent body, Qatar Charity, as a proscribed organisation.

Another trustee, Dr Khalid Al-Mathkour, is “a member of the Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood’s charitable arm, the Social Reform Society” and “follows the Brotherhood’s ideology”, the newspaper alleges.

QCUK also has links with preachers who have been banned in the UK. Accounts show that it donated £800,000 (Dh3.9 million) to the European Institute for Human Sciences (IESH) in France. The IESH publishes fatwas following the guidance of the European Council on Fatwa and Research. The president of the Council is Yousef Al Qaradawi, a Qatari hate preacher who has been banned from the UK.

The Qatari Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs, which set up Islamweb, has been a source of controversy since Qatari royal Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalid Al Thani was appointed minister in September 1992.

During his time there, he encouraged Khaled Sheikh Mohammed — the mastermind of the September 11 attacks on the twin towers in New York and the Pentagon — to move to Qatar, according to documents leaked from the US department of defence.

US Intelligence officials told ABC News say Sheikh Abdullah helped Khaled Sheikh Mohamed avoid US capture in 1996. The officials also said Osama bin Laden visited Sheikh Abdullah in Qatar between 1996 and 2000.

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