HSBC closes bank accounts belonging to Muslim clients in the UK
Bank says decision to close the accounts wasn't 'taken lightly' and denies religion played a part
HSBC has closed a number of bank accounts belonging to Muslim clients, including one of London's largest mosques, because they fall outside the bank's "risk appetite".
Some of the organisations affected by the bank's decision include a London-based Islamic think tank and Finsbury Park Mosque, where Abu Hamza, who was recently convicted of 11 charges of terrorism in a New York court, served as an imam.
Khalid Oumar, one of the trustees of the mosque in north London, told the BBC they received a letter from HSBC last week notifying the treasurer that the account would be terminated because it falls "outside our risk appetite".
But Mr Oumar questioned the bank's motive, adding that the letters did not provide "any reason why the accounts were closed", which he argues is part of an "Islamophobic campaign targeting Muslim charities in the UK".
In response, HSBC said decisions to end a customer account "are not taken lightly" and insisted that they are "absolutely not based on the race or religion". The bank said it wouldn't comment on individual accounts or businesses.
The Finsbury Park mosque, in north London, has had its HSBC account closed In a statement, HSBC added: "Discrimination against customers on grounds of race or religion is immoral, unacceptable and illegal, and HSBC has comprehensive rules and policies in place to ensure race or religion are never factors in banking decisions."
The bank, which was fined $1.9bn (£1.2bn) by US authorities for money laundering in 2012, has undertaken what it describes as a "five filter" assessment test for its accounts.
At the time, HSBC, which prides itself on being the "world's local bank", admitted it failed to implement proper anti-money laundering controls which allowed Mexican drug cartels to funnel cash into the US and Iranians seeking to skirt US sanctions.
Last summer, HSBC asked more than 40 embassies, consulates and high commissions to close their accounts because they did not satisfy the new criteria, according to the bank.
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...
£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...