Palestine aid charity seeks to delay forced closure of bank account

Ummah Welfare Trust tells Barclays it needs more time to contact anonymous donors

Islamic aid charity the Ummah Welfare Trust has asked Barclays Bank for a six-month extension on the bank's plans to close its account. The charity wants more time to contact its donors, some of whom are anonymous.

The trust, which works in Palestine and other Muslim countries, met Barclays representatives on 14 January to discuss the closure of the account, which has been postponed until 9 February.

Barclays wrote to UWT in December to say its account would be closed, but did not give a reason for the decision (Third Sector Online, 7 January).

Mohammed Ahmed, director of UWT, said the charity had received £200,000 in donations to its Gaza appeal in the past week. He believed the increased support had come partly in sympathy for the charity's treatment by Barclays. "People have rallied round in support," he said.

Initial fears that the charity would lose 30 per cent of its income from anonymous standing orders were partly allayed when Barclays confirmed that some of the payments would be transferrable to a new bank through the BACS electronic payment system.

But standing orders from smaller or foreign banks cannot be transferred in this way.

Ahmed said the cost of the transfers could discourage other banks from taking on the charity as a new client.

A spokesman for Barclays said the bank does not comment on individual accounts.

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