A few days ago an HTML mailshot from the extremist group Britain First was posted to individuals on their database. The mailshot was another way of trying to raise funds for this extremist group through the merchandising of their material.
The material itself was emblazoned with a crown on the sweatshirts and t-shirts which raises an important question when the insignia is placed next to our flag – the flag of the United Kingdom. The misuse of the Crown is an insult to what this country stands for, which is about pluralism and about all communities being part of our national identity, which we should be proud of. This needs addressing since the ‘Crown’ and all it stands for belong to us as citizens and is not to be hijacked by an extremist far right group.
Furthermore of concern is the fact that Mastercard and Visa are providing services to this extremist and far right anti-Muslim group. Any transaction processing company should not be engaging with this group, nor should it be associating its brand with this group.
Recently, we had extensive news coverage on the closing of bank accounts involving a number of organisations who served or engaged with Muslim communities. The reasons that are coming out regarding HSBC’s decision, are allegedly based on the ‘level of risk’ of such groups and we are aware that the groups involved have stringently denied any involvement in extremism and there are challenges underway to HSBC’s decision. Yet, a legitimate question can be asked as to how banking and transaction facilities are being provided to a known extremist and far right group which some call a ‘political party’ – Britain First.
We call on Mastercard and Visa to remove their services and any association with Britain First. Nationally, we have a Prevent strategy which focuses on tackling on extremism. It talks about reducing the capacity of extremist groups to function and in tackling their resource base as one way of tackling the dissemination of their ideology. Surely, this is one example of where Prevent can be implemented to show the wider public that extremism in all of its guises will be tackled.
Either way, we hope that as members of the public, you can write to the Press Office of Mastercard (UK) and Visa (UK) and make clear your displeasure as to why they are providing services to this extremist group. You can contact the following individuals by e-mail:
Kedesh Mather: Kedesh_Mather@mastercard.com
James Thorpe: James_Thorpe@mastercard.com