ISIS are using student loans to fund terrorism
No wonder we’re getting paid late
The Islamic State are using our money to finance terrorist attacks as its “frighteningly easy” to get a student loan, security experts have warned.
Several plots have been discovered in the UK where loans meant for those going to uni have been used as payment.
The Metropolitan Police have uncovered a number of cases of fraudulent student loan applications by terrorists.
A report from the Royal United Services Institute says the loans are “ideal for the limited costs associated with lone actor or small cell attacks”.
It adds how an “urgent recalibration” of “disruption efforts” is needed to prevent homegrown extremists from exploiting student and payday loans.
The report also suggests “pre-paid” cards or other restrictions could be used to stop the money being spent on terrorism.
Author of the new report Tom Keatinge said terror financing controls had failed to take such warnings into account and it remained “frighteningly easy” for domestic jihadis to obtain the money to fund attacks.
He said most European jihadi plots required very little funding and that student and payday loans could easily be exploited.
The July 7 bombings in London cost less than £8,000, including overseas training, which could be obtained using loans intended for us.
His report adds: “The potential use of such tools for financing terrorist attacks is not fantasy.
“In 2012, a court in London heard that a group accused of planning a suicide terrorist attack tried to fund its operations from sources including a payday lender and the Metropolitan Police have highlighted ‘a number of cases’ of fraudulent student loan applications being made by terrorists.
“Consideration should be given to placing restrictions on the way borrowed funds are spent.
“For example funds could be provided via prepaid cards with restrictions attached that allow them only to be used in certain shops, to pay for pre-agreed services, or settle registered bills.
“The traditional measures in place for tackling terrorist financing play little role in disrupting this rapidly emerging form of low budget terror.”
The report adds that the Islamic State’s call to its supporters to “perpetrate acts of violence in their homelands” means that the “true terrorist finance risk currently lies much closer to home”.
And this isn’t the first time terrorists have exploited student services to fund their actions.
Last month it emerged the Muslim Brotherhood owned a number of flats close to Leeds Uni, so students were paying for potential attacks just by paying rent.
The Times found 16 of the 78 flats at Samara Plaza accommodation in Leeds are providing regular income streams for causes favoured by the founders of political Islam.
The Muslim Brotherhood is banned as a terrorist organisation in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates but not in Britain.
An investigation also found houses on Woodhouse Street, Woodsley Road and even Clarendon Road – right next to Leeds University.