Archive for November, 2010

h1

Balkan Muslims serve Saudi paymasters

November 30, 2010

NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli reported last month that Saudi-funded radicalism in the Balkans is still gaining adherants. In exchange for a steady check, the Muslim youths grow a beard, wear a veil, and adopt that pesky misunderstanders’ version of Islam. This two-minute portion of her well-done report touches on the special appeal of the Saudi-backed mosques for Kosovo’s poor.

Millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia and a 45 percent unemployment rate in Kosovo make a deadly combination.

h1

Sharia banking gains steam in Algeria

November 29, 2010

Nacer Haidar, an Al-Baraka Bank executive, is calling on Algeria to “enact special laws for some Islamic banking products…”  Special laws, got it?  Not the same standards and laws for all banks.  Not one law for the whole country, but a second set of laws for the Islamists.  That would work out just fine for Al-Baraka, an Islamic banking network which is expanding its presence throughout North Africa.

From Magharebia on Nov. 12:

Islamic banking gains popularity in Algeria

For Algerian consumers seeking to avoid interest payments, sharia-compliant mortgages and other loans remain limited by an inadequate legal, institutional, and regulatory framework. An Islamic financing forum held Tuesday (November 9th) in Algiers examined how to satisfy these clients.

“The law on money and credit permits Islamic banking transactions and products, including mortgages, because these products don’t constitute any breach of the Algerian law, and not because these financial institutions are compliant with the principles of Sharia,” said Zoubir Ben Terdeyet of Isla Invest Consulting, which helped organise the conference.

Ben Terdeyet confirmed that this financial concept is deemed an important alternative solution, as it includes measures that can curb inflation and avoid financial crises that lead to bankruptcy.

Al-Baraka Bank chief Nacer Haidar highlighted the importance of the Islamic banking system in solving the problem financing private-sector businesses. He also emphasised the need to expand the scope of Islamic financing system in Algeria, calling for implementing murabaha (sale on profit) at the level of banks and for using funds to expand production and providing means of work.

”The share of the Algerian banking market doesn’t exceed 1% of the total assets circulated around the world,” Haider said, adding that measures included in the Islamic banking system would put an end to the tax problems with investments and riba-based practices that cause financial crises.

Algerian authorities need to “enact special laws for some Islamic banking products, as was the case with financing through musharaka (joint venture), which complies with the laws and procedures related to investment capital,” Haidar said.

I guess all the jihadi kidnappers in Algeria can’t tolerate depositing their funds into a secular bank.  Glad to know they’ll have new options shortly.

h1

‘Tis the season!

November 28, 2010

Last year, this essay on the different approaches of Jesus and Muhammad toward taxation became one of the more widely read posts on Money Jihad.  Since then we’ve done some tinkering and managed to covert it from an essay into this new, short video:

Please take a look, share with friends this holiday season, and contact us with any feedback.  Have a blessed Advent!

h1

Hillary’s millions will fund Hamas

November 26, 2010

Earlier this month, Hillary Clinton announced an additional $150 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority.  Caroline Glick has written an extensive piece about everything that’s wrong with that plan (hat tip to Israel Matzav and to all who sent this in).  Of particular interest is her analysis of how the aid ends up in the pockets of Hamas:

…The simple truth is that it is impossible to prevent US budgetary assistance to the PA from financing Hamas, in contravention of US law. Each month Fayyad transfers funds to Hamas-controlled Gaza to pay the salaries of PA employees there. Fayyad has argued that this assistance cannot be considered material aid to Hamas, since the employees are employed by the PA. But this is nonsense.

These employees serve at the pleasure of Hamas. Paying their salaries contravenes US law as well as international law, which prohibits states from providing any assistance whatsoever to areas controlled by terrorists. This is true even if the actual money he transfers to Gaza comes from other income sources. Without the direct US budgetary assistance, he wouldn’t be able to funnel money to Gaza.

PROVIDING DIRECT budgetary assistance to Fayyad isn’t the only way the US finances Hamas. It also contributes to Hamas by funding UNRWA. Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

“Illegal taxes” collected in Karachi

November 25, 2010

Pakistan is crawling with mafia syndicates—the drug mafia, the land mafia, the weapons mafia.  But the father of all three is the “bhatta” mafia.  Bhatta refers to extortion.

The bhatta mafia have become increasingly active this year especially against businessmen in Karachi.  Cattle ranchers, rickshaw drivers, gold dealers, paper traders, furniture makers—nobody is immune:

But these may not be simple cases of criminal extortion.  According to a recent Express Tribune article, “Also, during Eid, Mehsud tribesmen living in Karachi are forced to pay ‘bhatta’ in the name of donations for fighters in Waziristan. ‘Last Eid, we received reports that ‘parchiyaan’ (tickets)* were collected from each trader in Sohrab Goth (in Karachi) for this purpose,’ Shahid said.”  The Express Tribune refers to such collections as “illegal taxes.”  Some call them “jagga taxes.”

Bhatta may go against Pakistan’s criminal laws, but taxes against traders—both Muslims and infidels—are required under Islamic law.  Customs duties on articles of trade are regarded as a type of zakat.

* A parchi is a slip of paper with an extortion demand.

h1

Fifth San Diego Muslim funds al-Shabaab

November 24, 2010

No country in the world is in as much danger of terrorist attacks as Somalia according to a new report.  Terrorist financing, whether ransoms paid to pirates or zakat paid to al-Shabaab, seems to be heading in Somalia’s direction as well.

In addition to the four San Diego al-Shabaab financiers we recently found out about, add one more.  Evidently this 24-year-old mother of “five or six” has been busy in more ways than one.  From the Union Tribune on Nov. 15:

SAN DIEGO — Federal prosecutors in San Diego have charged a woman with providing money and other assistance to the Somali terrorist organization al-Shabaab.

Nima Ali Yusuf, 24, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Friday on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to provide material support to al-Shabaab and lying to a government agency investigating a terrorist matter.

Yusuf appeared in federal court Monday for an arraignment after being arrested Friday, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in San Diego. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday to determine whether she should be granted bail.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sabrina L. Féve declined to comment Monday afternoon on the case until that court hearing.

Yusuf is the fourth Somali native living in San Diego to be charged this month with aiding al-Shabaab, a militia that has links to al-Qaeda. The group wants to establish an Islamic state in that war-torn country.

About 10,000 Somalis live in San Diego, mostly in the City Heights neighborhood, making it the second largest Somali community in the United States, behind Minnesota’s Twin Cities.

The indictment of Yusuf, unsealed Monday, sheds little light on what she is alleged to have done or how it may be connected to the other three people who so far have been charged.

It charges her with conspiring to provide personnel and money to al-Shabaab. It also says that on Sept. 22, she told agents with the FBI and U.S. Customs and Border Protection that she had not sent any money to Somalia in the preceding year, though the indictment states that she knew at the time that was false…

h1

Piracy spawns booming insurance sector

November 23, 2010

A finance industry publication called Out of the Storm News published an illuminating interview on Nov. 8 with executive Greg Bangs about the growing market for piracy insurance.  Rather than get slowed down, shipping companies would rather pay ransoms as quickly as possible to their crews’ Muslim captors, necessitating a typical insurance policy of $3-5 million in coverage.

Naturally it’s a good market for insurers.  But it’s even better for the pirates.  In its entirety:

Pirates and Piracy Insurance

By Lena Goodwin

The majority of pirates come from Somalia, which has not had a functional government in more than 15 years.  At current, pirates in this region are holding 19 ships with 428 hostages.

The primary industry at target appears to be oil tankers — however it is not the oil the pirates are after, but something more valuable, the people.  The loot these days is in the ransom.

If there is a delay in shipment, companies lose money, so the reality is that most companies choose to pay the asked ransoms.

And as a result, piracy insurance was born.

We recently captured an interview with Greg Bangs, Worldwide Product Manager for Crime and Kidnap and Ransom Insurance, at the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, regarding his thoughts on pirates, insurance and the current trends in this market.

OOTS:    Do you feel piracy is on the rise? If so, why?

GB:        Piracy is definitely on the rise and is a huge problem in Somalia. As of nine months 2009 there were 34 hijackings, compared to 35 hijackings for the same period this year.  Although this is a seemingly slight rise in hijackings, the organization of the attacks is better both in development and execution. The region suffers from two distinct monsoon seasons which hampers the pirates’ efforts during the summer and the winter periods. But, as soon as the monsoon seasons pass, the attacks increase.  We are also seeing the attacks increase in Nigeria and Indonesia.  The pirates are getting more aggressive; they are boarding vessels, assaulting crew members and stealing from the ship itself.

OOTS:    What are the main items stolen, the most valuable loot, as it were, and why?

GB:        The most valuable “item” is clearly the crew. The vessel and the cargo are important, but the pirates’ primary reason for hijacking the ship are the people on board and the hefty ransom they hope these individuals will bring.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

AQIM funds mother Al Qaeda

November 22, 2010

According to Moroccan terrorism expert Mohammed Benhammou, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (the Islamist term for North Africa) is doing well enough financially that it’s able to pump money back into the global Al Qaeda network.  This was reported by Magharebia in a Nov. 10 article entitled “Al-Qaeda looks to Sahel for new funding sources.”

As Al Qaeda’s money dries up in the Middle East, the timing for Bin Laden couldn’t be any better.  Relations between AQIM and Al Qaeda itself haven’t always been great.  But within the last month, Bin Laden went out of his way in an audio recording to endorse AQIM’s attacks against French nationals work and rebuild bridges with AQIM.

Kamel Rezzag Bara, an adviser to the president of Algeria, says that $150 million euros have been paid in ransoms (or fida’ in Koranic parlance) in the Sahel over the past five years.  That sounds like a good reason for Bin Laden to make kissy with AQIM.

Meanwhile, the West has yawned at the requests of African nations to stop lining AQIM’s pockets with ransom payments.

h1

Bank with Al Shamal!

November 21, 2010

Background:  In 1991, Osama Bin Laden plopped down $50 million in Sudan at the Al Shamal Islamic Bank.  At least during the 1990s and early 2000s, Al Qaeda distributed money to its cells through Al Shamal.  Rumor has it that the U.S. never acted against Al Shamal because of its ties to influential Saudis.  Infidel Blogger’s Alliance ran an interesting post this summer about the connections between Al Shamal and the Ground Zero Mosque. 

All that being said, it’s a much needed time for a laugh from piyaallah:

h1

Muslim Brotherhood linked groups rattle the tin cup

November 19, 2010

Like Al Qaeda, the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) are in financial trouble. 

In a recent interview about IUMS recounted by the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report, Yusuf al-Qaradawi sniffed, “Our problem is in fact financial. We need financial assistance.”

GMBDR also reported in September that WAMY is being forced to close down branches and layoff employees.

Referring to WAMY’s difficulties, the Arab News blamed the hardship on “the stringent restrictions imposed by the respective governments on the fundings of Islamic aid organizations.”

Umm, OK.  Restrictions such as what?  “Respective governments” certainly doesn’t refer to the Saudi government itself, which only provides only the slightest fig leaf of oversight over its own charities.

Maybe they mean “restrictions” such as a handful of terrorist designations against Islamic charities by the Treasury Department?  Or “restrictions” such as the U.S. requiring banks to report, but not prohibit, transactions overseas greater than $10,000?  What “stringent” government restrictions are really reducing your income, WAMY? 

None, especially when the evidence shows organizations like Islamic Relief USA are doing better than ever.

h1

Addendum: Faraj Hassan dead

November 18, 2010

This is an update to this earlier post about Treasury’s Oct. 19 removal of Faraj Hussein al-Sa’idi from its terrorist sanctions list. 

Faraj Hussein, or Faraj Hassan as he was commonly known, was a Libyan living in Britain who had been convicted in absentia by an Italian court on terrorism charges in 2006.  I called Hassan’s delisting “mysterious,” but it turns out that he may have been removed from the list because he recently died.

There are a few reasons for the confusion:  1) No reference to his death was included or discernible from Treasury’s original announcement.  2) Faraj Hassan’s multiple aliases and name spellings (at least five variations) also complicated the research for my original post.  3) There is news coverage by the Harrow Observer of the death of “Faraj Saadi” here and a casual reference in a Guardian article, although I couldn’t find any other mainstream news accounts of the death.  Several online Islamic forums, nonprofit organizations, and personal websites all say that Faraj Hassan died in a motorcycle accident on the morning of Aug. 16 this year.  The Harrow Observer had this photo of the accident scene:

Crash site of Faraj Farj Hussein al-Sa'idi

Accident scene in Harrow, England

Shortly before his death, Faraj Hassan can be seen in video at a rally for would-be murderess Aafia Siddiqi telling the audience that “jihad against America is compulsory.”  See the footage YouTube banned on Yahoo Video here.  (I had originally uploaded the video on YouTube so I could embed it here on WordPress, but YouTube disabled the video for “violating” their policy.  Amazing how when you simply show what the jihadists say, the video gets removed.  And WordPress doesn’t allow for embedding of Yahoo videos.  Sheesh!)

Anyway, sanctions delistings due to death are not uncommon.  The potential problem in lifting such sanctions is that it may result in unfreezing of assets that will return to the families of the designated terrorist.  Depending on the political inclinations of the family, the unfrozen funds become available to funnel back into the fight against the infidel West.

The other tricky thing about deletions due to death is confirming whether the terrorist is actually dead or not.  Terrorists have a natural incentive to stage their own death.  Fortunately, Hassan’s associates videotaped his corpse to prove that he’s dead.  Isn’t that what we’d all do?

I always take a digital camera to funerals so I can document just how dead my friends and relatives are.  Then I like to publish the video online so that everybody, including sanctioning authorities, also know about the death.  It’s all perfectly normal and raises no eyebrows.

It’s remarkable how quickly Treasury verified the death–presumably obtaining a copy of the the police report and death certificate from British authorities first–and delisted Hassan in only one month.  That’s quicker than an average American can obtain a passport!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,097 other followers