September 23 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Finsbury Park Mosque is set to stage a demonstration outside HSBC in anger at the bank’s closing of their account.
The protest, expected to take place on August 8 at the Seven Sisters Road branch, follows a letter the mosque received on July 22 telling them their account would be shut.
Bosses of the mosque, in St Thomas’s Road, say they have always been good customers and were given no reason for the decision.
Mohammed Kozbar, manager of the mosque, accused the bank of “Islamaphobia” but HSBC insisted the decision was not based on race or religion.
He said: “They didn’t give a reason, they just sent us a letter saying they have the right to close any account, and we had two months notice.
“We have been in touch with the police and Islington Council, and we are going to take action in front of HSBC.
“Our respectability and credibility are on the line and we will no take it quietly.”
A decade ago Finsbury Park Mosque was notorious worldwide when radical hook-handed preacher Abu Hamza was in charge.
But since the current owners took over in 2005, they have strived to turn it into a community hub and Mr Kozbar does not think HSBC’s decision is linked to the building’s murky past.
“We only opened the account after we took over – quite a long time after so I don’t think it’s connected.
“We think it’s discrimination against Muslim charities, because we are not the only one.
“For us, we only operate in Islington, receiving money from and giving back to the community.
“That is why it’s so bad.
“We have never had issues with our account, we’re never overdrawn. In fact we have investments with them, so to close the account in this way looks like Islamaphobia.”
A spokesmen for the bank said decisions to close accounts were “absolutely not based on race or religion”.
“We do not discuss relationships we may or may not have with a customer, nor confirm whether an individual or business is, or has been a customer.
“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.”