British Muslims are facing bank account closures with insufficient transparency and recourse, according to representatives. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) raised concerns about individuals and organisations in the community being disproportionately affected by this issue. They have written to senior politicians, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, and Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey, urging a review of the decision-making process and the involvement of third parties in the banking sector.
The problem of “de-banking” gained attention when Nigel Farage, the former UKIP leader, had his account closed by Coutts due to his political views. Following his campaign, the bank’s chief executives and the NatWest group resigned, leading to an independent review of their processes.
In her letter to the prime minister, MCB’s secretary general, Zara Mohammed, emphasised the continued arbitrary withdrawal of banking services from different UK banks, particularly affecting British Muslims and Muslim-led organisations. She highlighted the lack of transparency and recourse for those impacted and the absence of action from successive governments to address the issue.
Mohammed pointed out that high-profile Muslim-led charities and individuals have been impacted but were unable to speak out due to fear of reputational damage and limited resources to address the matter with banking authorities, media, and the government.
The MCB called for a comprehensive review to examine why British Muslims and Muslim-led organisations seem to be systematically singled out and disproportionately impacted. They stressed the importance of securing and upholding universal banking rights for everyone, including those with limited access to public platforms.
In response, a Treasury spokesperson emphasised the importance of free speech within the law and rejected the removal of someone’s bank account based on their political views or expressions, stating that it goes against public policy.