The Independent evidently has no idea why Co-op Bank closed the account of the “pro-Palestine” NGO Friends of Al-Aqsa.
A Jan. 6 Indy report (Co-op Bank shuts down account belonging to Palestinian NGO Friends of Al-Aqsa ‘without explanation’, Jan. 6) informs us that a “British NGO that supports Palestine” has called for public support after Co-op Bank closed its account.
We get a hint of what may be the problem in a quote by a bank spokesperson, included in the article, who noted that banks are required to “make sure the funds do not inadvertently fund illegal or other proscribed activities”.
In fact, if the Indy had conducted even a minimal amount of research, it could have at least provided readers with a little background on possible “proscribed activities” by Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA), such as the fact that the group and its leadership supports Hamas and their acts of violent “resistance”.
Here’s more on FOA from the anti-extremism group Stand for Peace:
FOA was involved with an effort by a number of extremist organizations to bring Raed Salah, of the Northern Islamic Movement, to Britain in 2011. Saleh, who admitted to aiding organizations that fund Hamas,
FOA has published writers such as Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh, whose post claimed that Jews control America, and that the Iraq war “was conceived in and planned by Israel through the mostly Jewish neocons in Washington”; Paul Eisen, a notorious Holocaust Denier; Gilad Atzmon, who claims “Hitler might have been right after all”; and Israel Shamir, who has said, “In the Middle East we have just one reason for wars, terror and trouble — and that is Jewish supremacy drive.”
Although FOA is involved with a number of anti-Jewish initiatives, it has been particular instrumental in the establishment of the annual ‘Al Quds Day‘ events in London, in which a wide variety of extremist groups march in support of the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah and the Iranian regime.
Interestingly, the Indy includes a quote by the group’s founder and chairman, Ismail Patel, who also expresses his shock that the bank closed their account – the same Ismail Patel who has expressed support for Hamas, endorsed the late Holocaust Denier Roger Garaudy and who served as spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated ‘British Muslim Initiative’.
Especially in the context of the British government’s new counter-extremism strategy, the fact that a major financial institution decided to sever ties with FOA wouldn’t be the least bit surprising to anyone even remotely familiar with the group’s radical ideology and support for terror movements.