Britain Debates Saudis’ Ties to Extremism, Putting May in an Uneasy Spot


LONDON — As Saudi Arabia accuses Qatar, a Persian Gulf neighbor, of spreading Islamist extremism, British politicians are debating whether the Saudis themselves may deserve more of the blame.

The government of Prime Minister Theresa May has acknowledged in recent days that it is withholding a study on the Saudi role in fostering extremism in Britain, and opponents have accused her of pandering to the Saudi royals to protect British trade deals.

On Wednesday, a report from a hawkish think tank in London called new attention to the debate by arguing that Saudi Arabia had, in fact, played a singularly important role in promoting extremist strains of Islam in British mosques and religious schools — including the training of British preachers who have advocated jihadist violence.

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