MI5 pay British Muslims up to £2,000 a time to spy on mosques in bid to avert new terror attacks
- Intelligence agency allegedly recruiting individuals for short assignments
- Counter-terrorism programme believed to be focused on specific targets
- Use of payments criticised by one senior figure in the Muslim community
- Comes two days after head of MI5 warned UK faces unprecedented threat
MI5 is paying British Muslims up to £2,000 to spy on mosques in a bid to avert terror attacks, it has been claimed.
The intelligence agency is allegedly recruiting individuals to work on temporary assignments in cities including London and Manchester, sources from within the Muslim community said.
The counter-terrorism initiative is believed to be targeting specific individuals, with informants gathering information over a series of weeks.
A source with knowledge of the payments, but who is not from Whitehall, told the Observer: ‘It’s being driven by the [intelligence] agencies, it’s a network of human resources across the country engaged to effectively spy on specific targets.’
The use of payments to gather information has been criticised by one senior figure in the community, who asserted people may be tempted to make information up.
Salman Farsi, a spokesman for the East London Mosque, which has not been confirmed as one of the places frequented by informants, referred to a previous anti-terrorism initiative called Prevent as he questioned the new strategy.