Al Muntada and the Islamic State
On 31 August, the Daily Mail revealed that Nabil al-Awadi, a “key financier” of the Islamic State terror group, was “a director of the independent Al-Birr school in Birmingham” until February 2013. The report continues:
Now he is president of the Kuwait Scholars’ Union, which has reportedly channelled tens of millions of dollars to the Islamic State and other jihadi groups in Iraq and Syria. Earlier this month Dr al-Awadi was stripped of his Kuwaiti citizenship along with nine other Kuwaitis, after the state cited “security reasons.” He has also been accused by other prominent clerics in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia of using donations to fund the Islamic State.
Al-Awadi has claimed, it is reported, that a “religious war” is coming, and that Arabic nations should build nuclear weapons and encourage youth, through video games, to “slaughter the Jews and liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque”.
The Sunday Telegraph claims that the Al-Birr school has “close links to the radical Al-Muntada Trust.” Indeed, of the school’s three directors, two are senior officials of the Al-Muntada Trust: Saeed Ata Alghadie and Jamie Charles (aka “Wasim”) Kempson. The Daily Mail report further notes that:
In July 2012, [the Al-Muntada Trust] ran a conference with al-Awadi and another jihadi cleric, Muhammad al-Arifi, who has now been banned from Britain.” Al-Arifi allegedly groomed Nasser Muthana and Reyaad Khan, two young Cardiff men who became the first Britons to appear in an IS propaganda video.
Arifi’s sermons at the Al Manar Centre in Cardiff in particular, have been linked to the radicalisation of three young British Muslims. Al-Arifi was not, however, the only Al Muntada-linked preacher to speak at the Al Manar Centre. Haitham Al Haddad, for instance, is an Islamist preacher and former Imam of the Al Muntada mosque, who describes Jews as “apes and pigs” and “enemies of God”, quotes the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and speaks of a “conflict” between Muslim and Jews. Haddad has spoken at the Al Manar Centre on at least four occasions, two of which took place in 2014. Haddad’s written work has also been promoted on the Al Manar Centre’s Facebook page.
Muhammad Mustafa Al Muqri, who has taught weekly lessons at the Al Muntada Mosque, has also been invited to speak at the Al Manar Centre. Muqri is the former spiritual leader of Gama’a Al Islamiyya, the Egyptian affiliate of Al Qaeda. One Islamic discussion forum even refers to Al Muqri as being, at one point, an Imam at the Centre.
In addition to all this, Stand for Peace has learned that the Al-Muntada Trust will soon be hosting Ali Hammuda, who will be delivering a lecture titled “Major Signs of the Day of Judgement” on 20-21 September. Ali Hammuda is an imam at the Al-Manar mosque in Cardiff, which has been suspected of facilitating the radicalisation of Islamic State recruits Muthana and Khan.
Hammuda presented weekly lectures at Cathays High School, where the young Cardiff Muslims were educated. The Daily Telegraph reports:
Cathays High School allowed regular Wednesday lunchtime sessions in its main assembly hall with Ali Hammuda, a hardline preacher from Al-Manar mosque in Glynrhondda Street. The sessions, entitled “Reminding Cathays High,” included teaching pupils that music and “free-mixing,” contact between boys and girls, were “not permitted in Islam.” In a separate lecture at the mosque, Mr Hammuda described music as a “sickness”.