The British government’s new Extremism Analysis Unit [EAU] has been ordered by the Prime Minister to investigate the extent of foreign money used to fund extremist groups in the UK.
The call for the inquiry came from the Liberal Democrat party after the House of Commons voted in favor of extending airstrikes in Syria.
“We call on [the government] to conduct an investigation into foreign funding and support of extremist and terrorist groups in the UK,” said Tim Farron, leader of the Lib Dems.
The EAU was established in September 2015, making it a legal duty for universities and colleges in the UK to ban extremists from radicalizing students on campuses and support those at risk of radicalization.
The EAU must also examine overseas revenue streams subsidizing jihadi groups in the UK.
However, reports suggest that the government-led investigation could lead to a potential stand-off between the UK and Saudi Arabia — Britain’s biggest ally in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia is the UK’s largest single market for British arms and the UK government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review recently outlined Britain’s intentions to continue to work with close allies including “vital partners, such as Saud Arabia, in the Middle East.”
However, Saudi Arabia has been publicly accused by German vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel of funding extremist mosques and groups in the West.
“Wahhabi mosques all over the world are financed by Saudi Arabia. Many Islamists who are a threat to public safety come from these communities in Germany,” Sigmar Gabriel told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
Wahhabism — a fundamental sect of Sunni Islam, practiced in Saudi Arabia — has inspired terrorist groups, including Daesh, also known as Islamic State, as well as al-Qaeda.