Controversial appointment follows revelations that the boss of Muslim Brotherhood centre supporting the mosque instructed Muslims to hate Jews and Christians
New controversy has surrounded the Emaan Islamic Centre in Sheffield, after it has emerged that the mosque appointed a convicted shopkeeper as a trustee. Aiman Mohammed Saeed was caught in a police sting operation, selling mobile phones stolen in street robberies from teenagers in the city. The 51-year-old Yemeni national also encouraged his contacts to bring him other stolen goods, such as games consoles, that he could sell in his shop, formerly called A&E Satellites.
In his defence, Saeed told the Telegraph newspaper that “everybody knows about my conviction”, and that he was involved in the education of young people. But his appointment raised fresh doubts over the fitness of the centre’s trust, especially after its chairman, Hameed Asaly, initially said he had been unaware of Saeed’s criminal record.
The gigantic mosque – which has room for 500 worshippers as well as a gym, study rooms and a Qur’anic school – is funded by sponsors in Kuwait and Qatar. The trust says officially “the centre focuses on bringing up young Muslims generations who practice their faiths”, but an official for its Qatari backer has also been linked to hate preaching.
Yousef al-Kuwari, the chief executive of the Qatar Charity UK, now known as the Nectar Trust, founded a website on which he instructs Muslims to hate Jews and Christians “for the sake of Allah”. Nectar Trust is a key funder of the Muslim Brotherhood across Europe.
Emaan Trust is one of the Brotherhoods projects in Europe, where it builds large Muslim centres used to spread its radical Islamist message. A 2014 report by UK officials into the organisation concluded the Brotherhood was building a “secretive network” that “promotes values that appear intolerant of quality and freedom of faith and belief”. Most centres are affiliated to a group in the Brotherhood’s heartland – the Sheffield centre is linked to the Brotherhood in Yemen.
The Sheffield mosque’s construction has been overseen by a Kuwaiti official, Khalid al-Mathkour, who claimed Jews orchestrated the 9/11 attacks. According to investigative website GlobalMBwatch.com al-Mathkour is a chairman of the International Islamic Charity Organization (IICO), which lists among its partners Al-Islah, linked to the Muslim Brotherhood Kuwait; World Islamic Council for Dawah and Relief, an umbrella group with associations to the global Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and al-Qaeda, and terror-linked charity International Islamic Relief Organization.
The revelation of a convicted thief joining the board at Emaan Trust will prove particularly embarrassing for the Muslim Brotherhood and its Qatari funders, which has often been accused of hypocrisy.