CAGE has been under sustained pressure over the last few months since it’s business bank accounts were closed down. Our work continues to go from strength to strength, but without your help we may not be able to keep our head above the water for very long. Please read this article, circulate it, and join us for our fundraising event next week Thursday, so that we can continue to advocate for truth and justice in the War on Terror.
CC image courtesy of Dominic Alves on Flickr
“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say, ‘We believe’, and will not be tested? And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make it known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make it known (the falsehood of) those who are liars.” (Quran: 29:2-3)
Many of our supporters have recently had their regular standing orders to our bank accounts dishonoured with the answer "Account Closed". We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience and anxiety this has caused our supporters.
While the closure of our accounts has created a high level of operational inconvenience which has disrupted our projects and campaigns, we are in the process of applying for a new bank account. For those who wish to continue to donate to CAGE in the meantime, we are more than happy to receive cash donations and are willing to facilitate this through arranging to collect donations personally from supporters.
Following the arrest of our Outreach Director Moazzam Begg on 25 February 2014, we have noted with great concern that there appears to be a concerted effort to shut the organisation down or to at least render it operationally ineffective. This has recently taken place through the imposition of unwarranted pressure on some of our most significant donors as well as through the closure of our business bank accounts. The reason for the delay in announcing this to our supporters is that we wanted to first exhaust all means available to us to rectify the situation. We are only too aware of the climate of fear that exists in our community and we are conscious to avoid reinforcing that, but we have come to a point now where we simply cannot continue as we are, we urgently need your help.
Like any business, CAGE requires the use of bank accounts in order to function and had accounts open with Barclays and the Co-Operative Bank. In March this year, both banks closed CAGE's accounts without any prior notification. Direct Debits were cancelled and Standing Orders returned with no explanation other than the banks that the accounts had been closed. Shortly after the CAGE account was closed, Barclays also closed the personal accounts of CAGE's Treasurer and a senior CAGE volunteer. CAGE's Treasurer had been banking with Barclays for over 18 years. No explanation has been provided for the closure of any of those accounts.
For over a decade, CAGE has been at the forefront of exposing the role of the UK government in rendition and torture for over a decade and has been a persistent and vocal critic of its counter-terrorism laws and policies. CAGE has always carried out its activities within the remit of the law and the message that we are propagating is reaching an increasing number of people both in the UK and abroad. It is only to be expected that CAGE too would become a target of those measures as a result. All of this is happening despite the fact that we have never been implicated or involved in any wrongdoing, we are a legitimate organisation working transparently yet we are effectively being treated as a designated organisation even though we aren't. The Treasury has written to us on more than one occasion confirming that we are not designated.
Despite the setbacks, CAGE has continued its struggle for truth and justice. Since our accounts were closed, we have:
- Exposed MI5's complicity in the detention and torture abroad of British resident Ahmed Diini and British Citizen Ali Adorus, both featured on the front page of the Independent.
- Published an information leaflet on people's rights during police home raids
- Provided unique insight into the issue of foreign fighters in Syria through comments in the written and broadcast media, including appearances on BBC Newsnight and Channel 4 News
- Participated in the public consultation on the Schedule 7 officer's Code of Practice
- Published an exclusive interview with Heba al-Dabbagh, the author of 'Just five Minutes', an account of her detention and tortured in Syria during the 1980s
We provide support to dozens of people who visit us for advice and support
We have on going discussions and work with partners including Reprieve, Leigh Day Solicitors and other legal firms, International Committee of the Red Cross, Joseph Roundtree Charitable Trust, The Roddick Foundation, The American Civil Liberties Union, The Center for Constitutional Rights, Statewatch and major media organisations.
CAGE is not the first organisation of its kind to be targeted in this way, nor will it be the last. Civil rights groups around the world have historically been persecuted in this manner by the authorities precisely because they work to hold those governments to account for their crimes. When Islam first arrived in the Arabian Peninsula, it was the Prophet Muhammed (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) preaching and campaigning for a more just society free of oppression, in which the rights of Allah, the orphans, women, the elderly, the weak and the vulnerable, were protected, that resulted in the Muslims of that time being arbitrarily detained, tortured and executed. Indeed one of the most powerful weapons that the enemies of Islam used at that time was the complete social and economic boycott of the Muslims and those who supported them, i.e. the imposition of financial sanctions. Although these sanctions lasted for a torturous three years during which the Muslims suffered tremendously with many dying of starvation and malnutrition, this was a defining period in the nurturing of the companions of a strength and conviction that would help them not just overcome their enemies in Makkah but also the mighty superpowers of Rome and Persia in years to come.
CAGE has been operating for over a decade and we perceive these current events in a similar vein. We want to reassure our supporters that despite these setbacks, we intend to be here for another decade with the permission of Allah and even longer in our struggle for truth and justice to create a world free from oppression and injustice.
Finally, while it is natural to feel fear or anxiety, we remind ourselves and our supporters that we must not allow that fear to control our behaviour and actions. Our position today is like that of the companions of the Prophet Muhammed (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) on the day of the Battle of the Trench who initially felt petrified by the coalition forces that had surrounded Madinah, but on remembering Allah declared:
"This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us, and Allah and His Messenger spoke the truth." (Quran: 33:22)
As Allah says, this increased them, not in fear, but in faith and submission.
Trading on fears and insecurities will not work; justice is our currency. However your support is priceless. How you can help:
- Those responsible for complicity in torture, violation of human rights and other crimes have specifically targeted CAGE’s financial lifeline in an attempt to strangle out work. Therefore, the best way to support us is to donate whatever you can, especially in this blessed month. Since our accounts have been closed we require cash donations, we are willing to facilitate this through arranging to collect donations personally from supporters. We can accept your zakah too, for more information on this please see here.
- CAGE has been targeted due to the nature and uniqueness of our mission: to document and highlight state crimes perpetrated in the War on Terror. We call on you to assist us by actively contributing to our mission: organise events; start social media campaigns; write articles; use creative expression through poetry, art, or through making YouTube videos; create posters and graphics; organise a fundraiser for CAGE; lobby decision makers; or engage the media – the list is endless. Simply contact us with your ideas and we will help you bring them to life.
- Our detractors have also carried out these actions to try and instil fear into our community. We mustn’t allow ourselves to be intimidated. Our cause is a just cause and there is nothing for us to fear. Support CAGE and support the cause of justice by maintaining dignity and demonstrating your solidarity by lending your voice to the call for fairness and accountability.
- Perhaps it is Divine wisdom that the advocates of justice will be targeted by sanctions and treated like criminals as CAGE is currently experiencing. We ask you to make dua in this blessed month that Allah accepts our work, guides us through these turbulent times and enables us to emerge stronger and an even more potent force defending those that society has chosen to abandon.
Some of the future projects CAGE is working on to which those donations will go include :
- Publishing and distributing an academic report on the reality of 'blowback' from Syria
- Campaigning to end the criminalisation of those who stand in support of Syria
- Combating the government drive through its PREVENT strategy to create a network of spies among public service providers
- Continuing to document cases and highlight abuses of those detained at airports under Schedule 7 powers
We ask Allah to keep us all steadfast on the truth and on the challenging path to justice. We ask all our supporters to not waiver in their support for CAGE as long as we remain true to the principles of truth and justice and continue to donate generously to the organisation throughout the month of Ramadan. Please contact CAGE if you wish to make any form of cash donation while we finalise the opening of a new bank account, as your prayers and donations are fundamental to the functioning of the organisation.
Please donate generously and assist CAGE through this testing time, please see here for ways you can donate; attend our fundraising event next week: Srebrenica to Syria: Aiding in a time of fear, book tickets here or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and on 0207 377 6700.
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)