US feared UK backed “sharia banks” could become centre of terrorist funding: Wikileaks

March 15th, 2011 - 5:10 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Mar 15 (ANI): Thousands of secret US diplomatic cables released by the whistleblower website ‘Wikileaks’ have revealed that Britain’s support for “sharia banking” had raised concerns in America that London would become the centre of terrorist funding.

Financial reforms pushed through by the Labour government allowed Islamic banks to flourish in Britain, gathering assets amounting to over 12 billion dollars, The Telegraph reports.

The US State Department was so concerned that it ordered US diplomats in London to compile a report on the activities of sharia banks in Britain.

The cable, sent from the office of Condoleezza Rice, George Bush’s then Secretary of State in June 2006, had asked the diplomats to provide it with information on “Islamic financial institutions’ vulnerability to exploitation for illicit or terrorist purposes, such as structuring accounts to mask illicit activity or money laundering”.

The US had feared that that “charitable donations”, which Islamic banks are obliged to make to comply with the sharia law, could be used by the al-Qaeda supporters.

The United States had also demanded to know whether British regulators and anti-corruption investigators were efficient enough to monitor Islamic banks with “effectiveness”, and also asked for information on customers who had accounts with these banks.

A separate cable sent two months later on August 17, 2006, claims that the British Government was aware of “profound shortcomings” in the regulation of charities that were linked to terrorist groups overseas. (ANI)

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