Founded in 1986, the Al Muntada Al Islami Trust has 70 employees and 20 volunteers. Its annual income for 2012-13 was just under £3 million. Its operations span the African continent, where it works in 21 countries, from Morocco in the North-West to Mozambique in the South-East. Since 2013, Al Muntada also operates outside Africa, in Syria, where it claims recently to have built an entire village in cooperation with the Al-Khair Foundation. Al-Muntada also runs a primary and a secondary school in the UK.
According to the New Statesman, the Al Muntada Trust is “a Saudi-funded ‘charity’ … [that] sees its mission as propagating a Wahhabist version of Islam.”
As well as having a long history of promoting and providing a platform for some of the most virulent Islamist hate preachers, the Al Muntada Trust stands accused of direct links to the Nigerian terrorist organisation Boko Haram, which recently made headlines after kidnapping 276 schoolgirls and murdering up to 300 people.
In spite of these alarming accusations, Al Muntada claims to have the support of such high-profile British political figures as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Deputy Mayor of London Richard Barnes, Andrew Slaughter MP and Stephen Timms MP.
Al Muntada is also known as the West London Cultural Centre, whose departments include Al Muntada Media Centre, Al Muntada Primary School, Al Muntada Secondary School, the Imam Shatibi Institute, Al Muntada Travel, the Sisters Department, Al Muntada Youth and Al Muntada Bookstore.
The Al Muntada Al Islami Trust is also registered with the Charity Commission as a separate charity, the Al Muntada Al Islamia Trust, which shares all of the same trustees, although it is registered at a separate address. Two of those trustees are also trustees of the Gazalah Foundation, another charity. Registered in 2012 and 2005 respectively, neither the Al Muntada Al Islamia Trust nor the Gazalah Foundation seem to be financially active, although they both remain registered with the Charity Commission. Another charity, Muntada Aid, shares one trustee with the Al Muntada Al Islami Trust, although the content on both organisations’ websites is in many places identical, and both organisations share the same Director and Chairman. They appear to be the same organisation, albeit registered with the Charity Commission as separate entities, and share the same address.
Alleged Terrorism Links
Emmanuel Ogebe, a Nigerian human rights lawyer, has testified before the US Congress that “Boko Haram’s funding has been traced to … [the] Al Muntada Trust,” which he also described as an “al-Qaeda-linked organisation.” According to the Nigerian Tribune, “sources in Boko Haram” confirmed that the Al Muntada Trust “had extended some financial assistance” to the group.
Allegations about the Al Muntada Trust’s terror connections go back more than a decade.
In February 2004, Nigerian police arrested Sheikh Muhiddeen Abdullahi, director of the Al Muntada Trust in Nigeria, on suspicion of funding terrorism. A Nigerian police official told Africa News that “the arrest followed the discovery of financial transactions running into millions of naira [tens of thousands of dollars] between Sheikh Muhiddeen and a Kano-based businessman, Alhaji Sharu.” Sharu had earlier confessed to acting as the middleman between the Al Muntada Trust and Islamist rebels in Nigeria.
Earlier, in January, the Al Muntada Trust’s director in Kenya was deported on the grounds that his organisation “posed a security risk,” Agence France-Presse reported. AFP also quoted “a former official of Kano’s biggest bank” as saying that the Al Muntada Trust’s cash transfers from London to Nigeria were frozen for a time soon after 9/11. The report further noted the complaints of “moderate Nigerian Muslim leaders,” who claimed, “Before [the Al Muntada Trust] came to Kano, there had been little or no inter-religious conflict – we heard of it in other places, but not here. Now, God forbid, we are almost on the verge of civil war.”
Additionally, according to the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington DC-based think tank, the Al Muntada Trust is “associated with the official Saudi state charitable and da’wa institutions, the Muslim World League (MWL), World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), and al-Haramain Islamic Foundation. All these groups are alleged by American and international investigators to be terror-financing bodies.”
In September 2005, the Indo-Asian News Service reported that “Bangladeshi intelligence agencies … have put under close watch nearly a dozen foreign Islamic NGOs which they say are channelling funds to militant groups,” and listed the Al Muntada Trust as one of those NGOs.
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”.
Promotion of Extremism
The Al Muntada Trust is a prolific promoter of hate. Extremist preachers provided with a platform by Al Muntada have included:
Abdul Aziz al-Fawzan
Abdul Aziz al-Fawzan has said of coalition forces in Iraq: “Jihad is an individual duty applying to the Iraqi people. They need to wage this jihad against this enemy until it leaves their country.” He is also a 9/11 Truther, having claimed that the US “were accomplices in 9/11, or else they carried it out,” and exclaimed in an interview, “Allah be praised, America is collapsing.” Fawzan describes “the Jews and the Christians” as “the enemies of the [Muslim] nation”, and regards women who wear makeup as “harlots.”
Muhammad al-Arifi has waxed lyrical about “the desire to shed blood, to smash skulls and to sever limbs for the sake of Allah” being, “undoubtedly, an honour for the believer.” Of Israel and the Jewish people, he has said: “What was taken by force will be restored only by force, as conveyed by the Prophet Muhammad, who said: ‘You will fight the Jews’. He did not say: You will conduct negotiations … He said in the hadith: ‘You will fight the Jews and kill them’.”
Nabil al-Awadhi has described the Taliban as “mujahideen” (“holy warriors”), and has criticised Islamic scholars, saying, “the whole world is fighting on the side of the Jews and Christians, and you didn’t fight against them.” He calls Israelis the “descendants of monkeys and pigs,” and Jews in general as “a wicked people. The wickedness is dripping from their tongues and hearts, they do not know what is the meaning of covenant, and they are not truthful in their speech.” Awadhi has also endorsed the idea of developing video games for Muslims in which the player can practise “slaughter[ing] the Jews.”
Wasim Kempson is a patron of HHUGS, a jihadist support group whose other patrons include confessed terrorist Moazzam Begg. Kempson has referred to Shaker Aamer, whom Begg once identified as an al-Qaeda “recruiter,” as “our dear brother;” and has spoken in support of Aafia Siddiqui, the convicted terrorist and “al-Qaeda operative and facilitator.” He also “likes” the Turkish terror-funding organisation IHH, according to his Facebook profile.
Muhammad al-Muqri is the former spiritual leader of Gama’a al-Islamiyya, the Egyptian affiliate of al-Qaeda, regarded as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union. In 1997, the group claimed responsibility for an attack on Luxor, in which 58 tourists and 4 Egyptians were murdered.
Alomgir Ali believes that women should not show their faces, wear perfume or even speak in public, and argues that “it is best for [them] to stay in [their] home[s].” He uses the derogatory term “kuffar” to describe non-Muslims, and complains that Western Muslims have “gone [so] low that we now show discontent to those who call for the Sharee’ah [sic] in the form of a political entity but rejoice in the fact that people call for democracy.” He has also defended the imposition of strict Sharia law in Brunei, and spoke at a rally in solidarity with Muslim terror convicts at Belmarsh prison.
Haitham al-Haddad 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. He believes that cases of domestic abuse should not be investigated; that peaceful co-existence between people of different religions “is wrong”; that female genital mutilation is “sunnah [Islamically correct];” and that suicide bombing “is permissible.” Haddad has also argued that the Japanese tsunami was divine retribution for Japan’s “lack of submission to Allah,” and has urged Muslims to “fight everyone until they establish the law of Allah.” Any system of law other than Sharia, he argues, “is invalid.”
Asif Uddin has described the Jewish people as one of the “outside conspiring forces stifling progress for Muslims.”
Abdullah al-Muslih has said of suicide bombings: “Regarding a person who blows himself up [in a suicide bombing] … There is nothing wrong with [that] if they cause great damage to the enemy … This operation is a good thing.”
Uthman Lateef has a Masters degree in “Crusader Studies” from the University of Damascus, and advocates the violent destruction of the non-Muslim world. He has spoken on the same platform as the late al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, and claims that the anti-Christ will be a Jew who will lead 70,000 Jewish soldiers in an attempt to destroy all Muslims. He has also described Muhammad Hamid, the convicted terrorist, as “our dear brother.”
Muhammad Salah has said in a television broadcast: “I am addressing the Jews … Do you think that we are afraid of death? No, wallahi [I swear to Allah]! It is either victory or eternal life in heaven [for us] … Oh Allah, destroy our enemies.”
Murtaza Khan is a 9/11 Truther who has said, “We [Muslims] did not take down the Twin Towers. You [non-Muslims] yourselves took them down. So in your disguise of ‘war on terror’, you will kill your own people, because you don’t care about them.” He also advocates the death penalty for homosexuals, and has called non-Muslims “filthy.”
Ismail Menk has said of homosexuals: “With all due respect to the animals, they are worse than those animals, may Allah protect us. Remember, we are saying here due respect to the animals, because animals, it is an insult to them to even suggest this to them. Automatically, the dogs and the pigs do not engage in this. Automatically, by nature. We ask Allah to safeguard us.”
Abuz Zubair advocates the execution of people who mock Islam or teach the theory of evolution, claiming that “a kaffir [derogatory term for non-Muslims] and a murtad [apostate] … is subject to execution because the Prophet said ‘execute the one who changes his religion’.”
 “Kano Police Arrest Mastermind of Bloody Revolt,” Africa News, 21 February 2004  “Saudi Cash Adds Bitterness to Nigeria’s Heady Recipe for Strife,” Agence France-Presse, 7 March 2004  “Foreign NGOs Funding Militancy in Bangladesh: Intelligence,” Indo-Asian News Service, 8 September 2005