Hege Storhaug, HRS
Det er timesonline.co.uk som rapporterer om Straws “anstrengelse”.
Jack Straw helped to secure a £1.5m donation from the Emir of Qatar to a mosque in his Blackburn constituency.
The justice secretary’s help in fixing the gift was used by the Labour party to woo the Muslim vote, it was claimed this weekend.
MPs, security experts and moderate Islamic leaders said Straw’s role raised serious concerns about the way some foreign states were trying to sway the religious views of British Muslims.
Straw wrote a letter of introduction to help his friend and political ally Lord Patel of Blackburn persuade the emir, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani, to part with £1.5m.
The gift came after Straw, then leader of the Commons, accepted free first-class flights and accommodation for himself and his wife for a four-day trip to the desert kingdom in April 2007. He declared the Qatari hospitality in the MPs’ register of interests six months later.
Denne emiren er ingen moderat smågutt. Han er grunnlegger av Al-Jazeera, har tette bånd til verdens største islamistiske organisasjon, Det muslimske brorskapet, og han skal også ha støttet Irans president Ahmadinejad.
The emir is the founder and financier of the Al-Jazeera television channel but, despite his image as a pro-western reformist and moderniser, he is a controversial figure.
Rival states say his administration has close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist organisation, some of whose members have supported suicide bombings. It has also given support to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and the Sudanese president who has been indicted for war crimes in Darfur.
Donasjonen skal ha hatt den ønskede effekten: Straws initiativ er vel mottatt av mang en muslim, sies det.
This weekend, the Liberal Democrats said the Labour party in Blackburn had used Straw’s involvement in the mosque donation to garner votes from local Muslims. Salim Lorgat, a Lib Dem councillor in Blackburn, said Straw was widely credited among Muslims with securing the funding for the Bicknell Street mosque.
“The Labour party said it was because of Jack that we had got this money,” Lorgat said.
Ikke alle muslimer er fornøyd, dog. En sufi-leder er tvert om bekymret:
Haras Rafiq, co-founder of the Sufi Muslim council, said large foreign donors expected mosques to reflect their beliefs, and this was squeezing out moderate Muslims. “This has been a huge problem for the last decade. Some of the biggest mosques and institutions in the UK have been funded by foreign money and have been proven to be portraying extremist viewpoints.
Også sikkerhetstjenesten og andre er bekymret over den ideologiske påvirkningen gjennom petrodollaer fra ørkenen:
Patrick Mercer, chairman of the House of Commons sub-committee on counterterrorism, said there was particular concern in the security service about large sums of cash coming from groups such as the radical Wahhabis, who are prominent in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In recent years the Saudis have been the biggest donors to British mosques.
There is no suggestion that the Blackburn donation is linked to terrorism. However, critics say that such large sums should be monitored. Professor Anthony Glees, an authority on the financing of UK Islamic groups, said: “I think it’s a matter of grave concern that our institutions should receive unregulated funding from individuals and organisations about which we know practically nothing.”
Men Jack Straw er på sin side komfortabel med situasjonen.
Straw’s spokesman said: “Jack is entirely comfortable with his role in this. He is proud of his efforts to support all sections of the community in Blackburn. He does not know whether his trip to Qatar, in his role as MP for Blackburn, had any bearing on the donation to the mosque.”
I Norge har vi for øvrig knapt et ørlite innblikk i pengestrømmen hit til muslimske trossamfunn fra regimer vi ikke liker å sammenlikne oss med. Det burde vært en selvfølge at Regjeringen initierte undersøkelser om slike forhold. For er det en ”ting” som er sikkert, så er det at ”money talks”, og at penger fra land som Iran og Saudi-Arabia kan ha ideologisk innflytelse både på store og små i de mange moskeene i Norge. Vitterlig ingen hyggelig tanke.