Saudi Arabia is the leading promoter of Islamic extremism in the UK, a new report has claimed.
The report from the Henry Jackson Society says Saudi Arabia has sponsored a multimillion dollar effort to export Wahhabi Islam across the world” for the last fifty years.
The think tank goes on to claim that there is a “clear and growing link” between Islamist organisations in receipt of funds from Saudi Arabia, hate preachers and Jihadist groups promoting violence.
The society said:
“A number of Britain’s most serious Islamist hate preachers sit within the Salafi-Wahhabi ideology and are apparently linked to Islamist extremism sponsored from overseas, either by having studied in Saudi Arabia as part of scholarship programmes, or by having been provided with extreme literature and material within the UK itself.”
The Saudi embassy in London described the claims as “categorically false”.
The report adds to the pressure on the government to publish a Home Office report on UK-based Islamist groups and their backers, which was commissioned by former Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015, but has never been published. As the former home secretary, Theresa May will have read the report.
Critics say the government has sat on the report because it contains embarrassing information, and could put the UK’s relationship with Saudi Arabia in jeopardy. The UK’s bilateral trade deal with Saudi Arabia is worth billions of pounds, and the country is one of the largest buyers of British-made arms.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for an arms embargo against the oil-rich state in response to its history of human rights abuses and ongoing military action in Yemen.
The publication of the Henry Jackson Society report comes after Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt imposed sanctions on Qatar, which they accuse of supporting extremist groups and funding terror groups in Syria and Iraq.