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Saudi Arabia has been funding mosques throughout Europe that have become hotbeds of extremism, the former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sir William Patey has said.
His remarks come a day after the government published a brief summary of a Home Office-commissioned report into the funding of extremism in the UK. The full report is not being published for security reasons. Rudd's refusal to publish full report into extremist funding 'unacceptable' Read more Patey said he did not believe Saudi Arabia was directly funding terrorist groups, but rather an ideology that leads to extremism, and suggested that its leaders might not be aware of the consequences. “It is unhealthy and we need to do something about it,” he said.
“The Saudis [have] not quite appreciated the impact their funding of a certain brand of Islam is having in the countries in which they do it – it is not just Britain and Europe.
“That is a dialogue we need to have. They are not funding terrorism. They are funding something else, which may down the road lead to individuals being radicalised and becoming fodder for terrorism.”
Patey said the Saudis “find it every easy to back off the idea that they are funding terrorism because they are not.
According to the report, Saudi Arabia operates several large charities that fund education involved with their ideologies worldwide, including in Britain, spending at least $87bn on the programmes over the past 50 years.
Saudi Arabia denounced that report as "categorically false".