Charity behind new Sheffield mosque had 'anti-Semite' and 'Muslim Brotherhood supporter' as trustees

Artist's impression of the mosque
Artist's impression of the mosque
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A charity behind a new mosque in Sheffield is investigating claims one of its trustees is a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood while another harboured anti-Semitic views.

The Emaan Trust is currently in the process of constructing a new £5m mosque and modern Islamist centre on Petre Street, Burngreave which they hope to open in late 2017.

The charity said that the centre's purpose is to provide a "welcoming environment, promoting understanding and collaboration between different cultures and religions" in and around Sheffield.

The Emaan Trust has listed Khalid Al-Mathkour, chairman of Kuwait's sharia council, and Essam Al-Fulaoj, a Kuwaiti government figure, as trustees who have channeled almost £500,000 into the project.

However, The Telegraph have claimed that Dr Al-Mathjour, an honourary chairman of the charity, is reported to be a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a transnational Sunni Islamist organisation founded in Egypt and claims to be a peaceful, democratic organisation.

The Brotherhood played a leading role in Egypt's 2011 revolution and is considered a terrorist organisation by several countries – despite previously taking part in democratic elections on a peaceful platform

In March 2014, David Cameron asked the then British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sir John Jenkins, to lead a government review into the Muslim Brotherhood.

The review of its UK activities cleared them of links to terrorism and through the report, and a later review by the foreign affairs select committee, the Brotherhood was not designated as a terrorist organisation.

The Telegraph also found that Dr Al-Fulaij, who has made several visits to Sheffield on behalf of Kuwait, has written a series of anti-Semitic diatribes in Kuwaiti newspapers.

He was also accused of tweeting a video accusing Jews of controlling US media and politics and writing an article claiming that "the Jewish people are the ones controlling the world".

The Telegraph report that he wrote an article, entitled 'The spread of Jews in the world for Kuwait's Al Anba newspaper.

He wrote: "This was done with great subtlety, planning, deceit, conspiracy, extortion, women, money, "riba"[usury] and organised crime and mafia."

The Emaan Trust said that the charity and Mr Al-Fulaij had agreed, by mutual consent, that he would cease to be a director and trustee before The Telegraph's article was published.

Emaan Trust Chair Hameed Al-Asaly said: " This is because the Emaan Trust considers that some of Mr Al-Fulaij’s personal views are incompatible with the workings and objectives of the Emaan Trust, and in particular in serving the wider community in Sheffield.

"The Trust is also reviewing its procedures for appointing Trustees to ensure that there is no risk of incompatible appointments occurring in the future."

The involvement of the two men with the mosque was highlighted in a report by Steven Merley, a former private investigator whose Global Muslim Brotherhood Research Center tracks the operations of the worldwide network.

Mr Merley's report, which focuses on funding of UK projects by Qatar's Qatar Charity, states how Dr Al-Mathkour, while chairman of Kuwait's sharia council, once drew particular criticism from liberals when he proclaimed that Barbie dolls should be banned.

The Telegraph stated that the report also cited a March 2014 article in the Kuwait Times, revealing Dr Al-Mathkour was "a member of the Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood’s charitable arm, the Social Reform Society" and "follows the Brotherhood’s ideology".

Commenting on Saudi Arabia's decision to designate the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation, he is quoted as saying: “It is not right to accuse the Brotherhood of terrorism without evidence. I have nothing to do with them and I do not interfere in anybody’s affairs - my concern is my country Kuwait, its Amir and stability.”

Mr Al-Asaly said that neither of the men had expressed extremist views and were both "very supportive" of the centre's aims to serve the people of Sheffield.

He said: "Any extremist views are wrong and rejected regardless who is making them.

"The Trust takes all possible precautions to ensure that no extreme views are propagated within the Trust, as such views would run entirely contrary to its principles of inclusion and interfaith dialogue and understanding."

Despite their donations, Mr Al-Asaly said that it would be "categorically wrong" to suggest the two trustees would be able to exert any influence on the manner in which the centre is run.

He said: "We do not expect any effects on the centre. All donations to the Emaan Trust are charitable voluntary donations, which have been donated towards building the Centre.

"The charity’s accounts are professionally audited every year, and submitted to and available on the Charity Commission website.