The case of a Muslim charity - Interpal
Interpal is a registered British Muslim charity set up in 1994 that raises funds for humanitarian aid, community development, education and health work for the poor and needy in Gaza and the West Bank, and in Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon. In early 1996 Interpal became the butt of an Israeli misinformation campaign. The Charity Commissioners froze its bank accounts, but following a two-month probe, these were unfrozen. This episode naturally interrupted its work and traduced a hard-earned reputation.
Who would have prompted the Charity Commissioners to act in this way? All the
evidence suggests that the British security services had placed undue importance
to information provided by Israeli sources.
The Sunday Telegraph in May 1996 published an article entitled ‘London Fatwa backs suicide bombers’ which alleged that Interpal was run by Hamas activists and that the Charity Commission was investigating claims that it raised money to fund the training of suicide bombers in Gaza and the West Bank. The journalist responsible was Con Coughlin - described in The Guardian (7 March 1999) as someone with “good contacts in MI6” (see also the Saif Gaddafi episode). In November 1997 the Sunday Telegraph printed the following apology: “we now accept that the Trustees of Interpal are not Hamas activists. We also accept that the Charity Commission’s investigation found there no evidence of any pro-terrorist bias in the charity or of its funds towards the training of suicide bombers”.
Monitoring Hizb ut-Tahrir
The UK-based Muslim newspaper ‘The Muslim News’ in March 1998 reported that “even though the British government claims that it has not allowed Mossad operations in London since 1987, they were given a green light during the Hizb ut-Tahrir conference in London in August 1994. Then, Mossad agents mingled with the young Muslims during the conference taking photographs persumably for future operations. “