Prime Minister Theresa May has rejected an appeal by survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to publish a report into the role of Saudi Arabia in funding Islamic extremism in Britain.
In July, the government announced that the Home Office report, which was commissioned by former Prime Minister David Cameron, will not be published because of “national security reasons” and the “vast amount of personal information” it contains.
The announcement that the report, completed six months ago, would be permanently shelved has sparked widespread condemnation amid claims the government is trying to cover up substantial evidence of Saudi Arabia funding terrorist organizations in the UK.
Joining the chorus of opposition, a group of 9/11 survivors signed a public letter to May, urging her to publish the report.
“The UK now has the unique historic opportunity to stop the killing spree of Wahhabism-inspired terrorists by releasing the UK government’s report on terrorism financing in the UK which, according to media reports, places Saudi Arabia at its center of culpability,” the letter, signed by 15 survivors, read. "The longer Saudi Arabia’s complicity is hidden from sunlight, the longer terrorism will continue.”
The British government has rejected their request, however.
Sharon Remoli, who was on the 80th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York when the first plane hit, told the Independent: “The US and the UK continue to protect Saudi Arabia, allowing them to operate freely, with impunity, even supplying them with lethal weapons, as they go about their usual business of inspiring tolerance, committing genocide and human rights violations.”
Brett Eagleson, whose son John died on the 17th floor of the South Tower, told the newspaper the British government is withholding potentially-crucial information. “When the UK government had the opportunity to shed light on the funding of terrorism and had the opportunity to make real inroads on the global fight against terror, they have chosen to take the path of least resistance by putting the cozy relationship with Saudi Arabia before the safety of its own citizens,” he said. “It’s a shameful day for democracy.”
Although 15 of the 19 hijackers who attacked New York and Washington were citizens of Saudi Arabia, the authorities in Riyadh have long denied any official role in the attack.
Britain’s Tory government has already faced harsh questions over the viability of its diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia, especially after it emerged that Britain continues to sell arms to the Gulf kingdom. Those very same arms are reportedly being used in the Saudi-led campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen, where thousands have been killed.