Rudd refuses to publish full report into extremist funding

Opposition parties have condemned Amber Rudd for deciding not to publish a report into the funding and support of extremist groups.

Home secretary, Amber Rudd, has said that the government decided not to publish the report because of national security, claiming that the full report contained sensitive and confidential information. Rudd instead published a 400-word summary of the report in a written parliamentary statement, including that some extreme Islamic groups receive hundreds of thousands a year in funding mostly from UK-based individuals.

It also mentioned that overseas backing allowed some individuals to study at institutions that teach ‘deeply conservative forms of Islam’, saying that some of these individuals have since ‘become of extremist concern’.

The full report, Rudd said, was being withheld because of the ‘volume of personal information it contains and for national security reasons’.

Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, argued against this point, saying that the public ‘has a right to know if any governments, foreign or domestic organisations or individuals are funding extremism in this country’.

Abbott said: “Of course, security intelligence should not be compromised but this is easily achieved by redaction and other means. The government would never have commissioned this report if it considered this problem insurmountable.

“Instead, there is a strong suspicion this report is being suppressed to protect this government’s trade and diplomatic priorities, including in relation to Saudi Arabia. The only way to allay those suspicions is to publish the report in full.”

The summary did not name the countries of origin for funding or mention Saudi Arabia or any other nations.

The main finding of the review, Rudd concludes, is that: “The most common source of support for Islamist extremist organisations in the UK is from small, anonymous public donations, with the majority of these donations most likely coming from UK-based individuals. In some cases these organisations receive hundreds of thousands of pounds a year. This is the main source of their income. Those giving may not know or support the organisations’ full agenda.”

She details measures the government will take to tackle issues of concern, including: continuing to deliver public awareness campaigns to encourage people to understand the full aims of the organisations they donate to; raising awareness across the financial services sector and grant making trusts and foundations of extremism concerns; reducing the ability of organisations to extremist concern by increasing the proportion of organisations subject to regulatory oversight; the Charity Commission will be introducing a requirement on charities to declare overseas funding sources; ad directly raising issues of concern with specific countries as part of a wider international engagement on countering extremism.

Rudd said that although ‘no single measure will tackle all the issues’, a comprehensive approach ‘focused particularly on domestic sources of support for all forms of extremism is needed’.

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