I am writing to you because we are faced by a totally unexpected crisis which has the potential to force us to cease operations early next month. We received notification the day before yesterday from our bank, the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), that Lloyds TSB (their clearing bank) have served notice on IBB to cease all dealings with Interpal. The notice comes into effect on 8 December 2008 (a nice Eid prsent!). After this time “all transactions into or out of Interpal accounts will be blocked and IBB will be at further risk of all its customer payments being suspended.” IBB has offered us its total support but is apparently powerless in this situation, throwing into question the autonomy of Britain’s burgeoning Islamic finance sector.
As you can imagine, this has the potential not only to damage Interpal but also to affect community relations (and cohesion) in Britain. The bank hasn't even waited for the Charity Commission to publish its latest report on Interpal.
No reason at all is given for this draconian and punitive measure, taken without any consideration for the thousands of contributors who have placed their faith in us to assist the needy of Palestine – and who want to continue to do so. Needless to say, it will be an administrative nightmare to transfer the thousands of standing orders that we have, etc.
By acting in this way, Lloyds TSB has treated IBB with contempt. Their action sends a signal to other Muslim charities – as well as the bank’s 50,000 Muslim account holders – that their accounts can be closed down without warning or explanation at any time.
It is, at the very least, an example of the utter lack of respect faced by the Muslim community from some hostile quarters in this country.
Perhaps it should be pointed out to Lloyds TSB that Muslims are among the British taxpayers who have bailed out the bank after years of wasteful mismanagement!
Be that as it may – we are less than a month away from a potentially very difficult and testing situation. We are currently mobilising all the support we can to try to persuade the banks to rescind this decision – and hope and pray that we can look to you for guidance, advice and practical support at this critical time.
We are calling upon our friends and supporters, and all who stand for justice in the face of oppression to contact Lloyds-TSB and the Islamic Bank of Britain to ask them to rescind this outrageous, unfair and arbitrary decision. Your support in this will be much appreciated.
Islamic Bank of Britain plc,Edgbaston House,3, Duchess Place,Hagley Road,BIRMINGHAM,B16 8NH. Tel: 0121 452 7330 / 0845 6060786
Bulat Betalgiry,Lloyds TSB Bank plc,1st Floor,25, Gresham Street,LONDON,EC2V 7HNTel: 020 7661 email@example.com
Ibrahim HewittChairman of the Board of TrusteesInterpal
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