HSBC accused of Islamophobia for closing organisations’ accounts

Muslim organisations and individuals in the UK are still reacting after the HSBC bank wrote to them on Tuesday informing them that their accounts would be shut down.

The Finsbury Park Mosque, Cordoba Foundation and Ummah Welfare Trust all received identical letters informing them that the accounts will be closed because “the provision of banking services…now falls outside of our risk appetite”.

The bank did not elaborate further on the decision, which has led to speculation among the organisations that they have been targeted for their advocacy on Middle East issues.

Chief executive of the Cordoba Foundation Anas al-Tikriti, whose organisation focuses on relations between the West and Middle East, said the absence of an explanation has meant he has had to draw his own conclusions on the reasons behind the decision.
Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque, described the decision as “astonishing”. He said the mosque is not involved in any political activities and has accused HSBC of discrimination.

“Our legal advisor has said that while the bank has acted within its terms and conditions, if they have specifically targeted Muslim organisations then this decision can be challenged under discrimination laws,” he said. “We are considering taking legal action as well as holding a protest outside the branch in Finsbury Park.”
Mohammed Ahmad, trustee of the Ummah Welfare Trust, said he believes HSBC has closed their account because of its work in Gaza. The trust has distributed more than £70mn to projects in 20 countries and has had a presence in Gaza for 10 years.
The UK’s Charities Commission has confirmed that it not investigating organisations affected by the decision and the mosque’s local MP Jeremy Corbyn has said he is “shocked and appalled at the decision of HSBC”.