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British government says won’t publish extremism funding report

The British government has announced that it will not publish in full a report on the sources of funding of extremism and terrorism in the country.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd cited national security reasons for not publishing the review that found a significant overseas funding for some extremist organizations in the UK in a written statement to Parliament on Wednesday.

“This is because of the volume of personal information it contains and for national security reasons,” she said.

Following three recent deadly attacks in Britain, the government has been under pressure to release the findings of the report, which was commissioned by former Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015.

Meanwhile, lawmaker Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party who has been pressing the government to release the full report, said the statement from Rudd was unacceptable.

“The statement gives absolutely no clue as to which countries foreign funding for extremism originates from – leaving the government open to further allegations of refusing to expose the role of Saudi Arabian money in terrorism in the UK,” she said.

Last week, a British think tank released the report, saying foreign funding for extremism came from Persian Gulf countries, chief among them Saudi Arabia.

The Henry Jackson Society said in the report that since the 1960s, Saudi Arabia has sponsored a multi-million dollar effort to export the Wahhabi ideology across the Muslim world, including to Muslim communities in the West.

“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,” the report said.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said, “It seems like the government, yet again, is putting our so called friendship with Saudi Arabia above our values.”

Meanwhile, the British government’s stance has angered the opposition that says Westminster is trying to protect the UK’s ally Saudi Arabia.

Fire that broke out at the site of a Saudi-led air strike which hit the northwestern city of Saada, Yemen June 19, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)  

British Prime Minister Theresa May argues that relations with the Saudi kingdom are important for British security and economy, turning a deaf ear to numerous calls by opposition and human rights groups for the immediate suspension of UK arms exports to the Riyadh regime.

Meanwhile, opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said Britain needed to have “some difficult conversations” with its ally Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.

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