Archive for January, 2011

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We fund Hamas through U.N.

January 31, 2011

Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld’s wants the U.S. Congress to stop letting money flow to the United Nations Relief & Works Agency (UNRWA) because the cash bleeds over into Hamas’s piggy bank.  Here are some of Ehrenfeld’s more salient and excellent points:

  • “The May 2009 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report includes UNRWA’s admission that it does not screen prospective staff or aid recipients for ties to Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic Jihad (IJG), or other local terrorist groups.”
  • UNRWA employs a Hamas-controlled labor union of nearly 29,000 Arab workers.  Hamas siphons off 3 to 5 percent of UNRWA employees’ salaries as union dues which directly enrich Hamas.
  • Hamas has used UNRWA schools for weapons storage.
  • Over half of the Palestinian Authority’s revenues, much of which comes from international aid, is transferred to Gaza and pays Hamas municipal employee salaries.

Money Jihad readers may also recall that the international aid transferred by the PA also funds Gaza policemen who moonlight as Hamas militants

Read Ehrenfeld’s full piece at The Terror Finance Blog.

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Analysis of latest pro-jizya propaganda

January 30, 2011

BibleIslam, an Islamic YouTube channel, uploaded a video (which was basically just an audio recording with graphics) on January 19 entitled  “Ask a Muslim—1—Women’s rights, jizya” in response to a critical question.  In the recording, BibleIsam makes several absurd but common defenses to justify the jizya.  Take a listen to this two minute excerpt:

Here’s why BibleIslam is wrong point-by-point.

  1. BibleIslam says, “Every religion…has a tax.”  No, sir.  Christianity does not.  Jesus accepted the authority of the state to tax (Matthew 22:21), but created no Christian tax system and took no profit from his ministry.  Christian tithing is traditionally regarded as one-tenth of your income but that is 1) optional and 2) paid by Christians, not non-Christians.
  2. BibleIslam says, “Jizya taxes are often less than the tax imposed on people by any secular country.”  Slick explanation.  BibleIslam has figured out that jizya can be greater than zakat (which is the falsehood most jizya supporters trot out), so he contrasts it to other secular taxes.  One problem is that in places like Pakistan, people are required to pay both religious and secular taxes.  A second reason why comparing the jizya to secular taxes is silly is because secular tax rates are adjustable:  Western elected officials are subject to election and replacement if a majority of people oppose current tax rates.  At any rate, the comment misses the broader problem which is that the jizya is a tax imposed by a religion against people who don’t even believe in that religion.
  3. BibleIslam says, “In Islam there is only one tax applied to non-Muslims.”  Wow, that qualifies for whopper status!  This person sounds like a polite young man who likes to approach things in what seems like a logical fashion to himself, but this statement illustrates that he is either a hopeless liar or completely ignorant about the topic he’s addressing.  A) The kharaj doesn’t get as much press, but it’s a well-known land tax practiced for centuries against non-Muslims.  The kharaj can also be imposed on Muslims who have acquired formerly non-Muslim land, but its basis is against non-Muslims.  B) The Fai is an outright seizure of assets from conquered non-Muslims with an effective tax rate of 100 percent by the caliphate.  C) Customs duties on articles of trade are levied on local Muslim traders at a rate of 2.5 percent, foreign Muslim traders at 5 percent, and harbi traders (those from outside the Muslim world) are levied at 10 percent.  Therefore, not only is jizya certainly not the “only” Islamic tax imposed on non-Muslims, it is only one of at least four discriminatory forms of Islamic taxation.  Let’s not even address the issue of fida’ (ransom).
  4. BibleIslam says jizya revenues from non-Muslims go to “either provide protection for them” or to let them build churches and temples.  Nope.  The Kitab al-Kharaj, probably the most famous tax treatise of Islam, documents how jizya revenues are to be used to fund the Islamic army.  The army fights to expand Islam.  The Islamic army is not fighting for the freedom of local Jews and Christians to build churches and synagogues.  Jizya does not go into a religious minority capital improvements fund.
  5. BibleIslam says, “The jizya also exists in the Old Testament of the Bible in Deuteronomy Chapter 20…”  Wrong again.  Like war reparations demanded and paid by nations throughout human history, Deuteronomy deals with a temporary tribute imposed against specific groups of people that were militarily defeated.  Deuteronomy does not permit an ongoing poll tax imposed against all non-Jews or anything remotely resembling and a perpetual tax on non-believers.
  6. Lastly, BibleIslam says, “If you don’t pay the taxes in the United States, then you go to prison.”  Your point being?  We the people have created our tax system, as fouled up as it is, through our elected representatives and through our laws.  We have it within our power to change those laws.  Non-Muslims in the Islamic world cannot vote away the jizya.  There is no waiver.  There is no escape.  And yes, after a lengthy legal process, American tax cheats end up in prison.  But no American is given a three-part choice to convert to a religion in which they do not believe, to pay a tax toward a religion in which they do not believe, or die.

Ask yourself, BibleIslam, if the Catholic church forced you to pay a tax to them, would you pay it willingly?

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Obama names fool to lead on terror finance, sanctions

January 28, 2011
Democrat lawyer and Obama mouthpiece

"These books make me look smart"

The White House has announced that Stuart Levey, the Treasury Department’s Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, will resign.  His replacement will be Democrat lawyer David S. Cohen, the current Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing.  Cohen doesn’t deserve his current job, much less a promotion.  The Republicans in the Senate need to resist and grill Cohen during confirmation hearings.  Here’s why:

  1. Cohen has praised Treasury’s efforts at containing terrorist financing to Al Qaeda while failing to recognize the contribution of the U.S. military in the war against terrorism.  It is largely the military pursuit and elimination of insurgent and terrorist financiers and cell leaders that has pushed Al Qaeda closer to insolvency.  It has not been the men in navy blue suits inside the beltway. 
  2. Cohen “is pleased with the contribution that Saudi Arabia” has made in combating the financing of terrorismPleased?  Cohen’s statements on Saudi Arabia are for public show and border on outright lies.  His statements to more than one media outlet have been made to highlight a spirit of cooperation with the Muslim world and to paint a picture of Pres. Obama’s effectiveness at using “soft” power.  The reality is that Saudi cooperation in the financial war on terror is limited to public statements, meager proof, and multiple examples of Saudi duplicity.  Relatedly, Cohen has downplayed the role of the Middle East in international terrorist financing.  At a speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Cohen addressed terrorist financing problems in Mexico, North Korea, Africa, and getting slightly closer, Afghanistan and Pakistan.  He spoke some about Iran and Hezbollah, ignored Yemen, and left out Saudi Arabia’s role in funding Al Qaeda and the Taliban entirely.
  3. Cohen supports Carl Levin’s dreadful incorporation transparency bill which would deepen the federalization of what has historically been a state role—the incorporation of businesses.  The bill would require additional disclosures by companies, additional paperwork by the state incorporation agencies, and would subject the states to turn over records on their businesses to Washington, D.C., and even to foreign countries upon request.  Contrary to what supporters say, the bill would not help expose the Iranian or terrorist shell companies of tomorrow—it is a bill designed to discourage foreign companies to offshore their revenues in the U.S. in the vein hope that foreign countries will reciprocate by helping the U.S. crackdown on its own tax deadbeats.  Cohen’s support for the bill was a deviation from the Treasury policy stated by another assistant secretary who testified under oath before Congress that no new laws are necessary to fight terrorist financing.  Cohen’s position also put him at odds with current FinCEN director Jim Freis, who has a less rigid approach toward beneficial ownership.  That makes Cohen the odd man out among the assistant secretaries he will be supervising if confirmed. 
  4. More broadly speaking, sanctions are the last bow in Pres. Obama’s quiver against a nuclearizing Iran.  Either the Obama administration is or is not serious about enforcing those sanctions, about bringing more nations on board with those sanctions (particularly Europe and Russia), and about keeping the sanctions tight.  Letting the well-respected Levey go and selecting a lightweight like David Cohen suggests that Pres. Obama is no longer serious in this approach.  More menacingly, that suggests that the Obama administration no longer has a genuine plan for containing Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Reuters reports that the announcement of Levey’s replacement “comes as the United States and its allies appear likely to make a push for stiffer sanctions on Iran… U.S. officials emphasized they did not think the staff change would stem the momentum for the drive to put the financial squeeze on Iran or to choke off access by militant groups to international sources of money.  ‘It will have no effect on policy, or on our ability to execute the president’s policy,’ U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said.”

Really, Tim?  But is it not informative that the question is being asked?

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Muslim Charities Forum bridges gap among Hamas donors

January 27, 2011
Founder of Muslim Charities Forum and Islamic Relief

Dr. Hany El Banna, Islamic Relief President

GEO Television reported on Jan. 22 that Muslim Charities Forum representatives from the U.K. visited Islamabad to be thanked by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani for their contributions to Pakistan.

A line toward the end of GEO’s article reads “The forum coordinates and bridges the gap between charitable organizations like Islamic Relief, Human Appeal, Muslim Hands and Human Relief,” according to Dr. Hany El Banna.  MCF’s website confirms that.  Some forum!  Human Appeal International, Muslim Hands, and Humanitarian Relief Foundation are all recognized by Israel as members of the notorious Hamas-financing Union of Good network of “charities.”  If El Banna wants to throw his lot in with them, then his own Islamic Relief organization might as well be listed as a Union of Good charity too.

I didn’t realize there was a “gap” among the charities that are already members of the same Hamas network.  Thank goodness that Hany El Banna is there to fill it.

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Special benefits for Selangorese Muslims

January 26, 2011

Our government is designed to butt out of religion.  But in many countries around the world, government is designed to promote Islam.  In Malaysia, Muslims in Selangor who work unclean jobs from an Islamic standpoint will be compensated with special benefits and training from their state government.  Apparently, the widespread legal and tax discrimination against non-Muslim Malaysians through the bumiputra system just isn’t enough of an advantage for the Muslim population, so Selangor must do even more.  From the Malay Mail on Jan. 19:

SHAH ALAM: The Selangor government today announced that it was allocating RM10 million to help train and provide capital for Muslim workers in the state who are doing non-halal (not permissible in Islam) jobs.

A statement issued by the Selangor Menteri Besar’s press secretariat here today said the government symphatised with the plight of Muslims who worked in factories producing alcoholic drinks or outlets where liquor was sold.

Among the businesses the workers would be trained in are tailoring, beauty  salon operations, cooking and reparing of handphones, the statement added.

Those interested can contact any officer from the sectoral division of the state economic planning unit at 03-5544 7115/7965 or visit the division’s office at the 5th Floor of Bangunan Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, Shah Alam.

The announcement comes in the wake of guidelines under Selangor Syariah law enactments which prohibit Muslims in partaking in any non-halal job.

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ISNA’s zakat scandal par for the course

January 25, 2011

ISNA Canada is in scalding hot water for how little of the money it collects in zakat actually goes to the poor.  ISNA Canada is the Canadian branch of the Islamic Society of North America, which was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation’s Hamas terrorist financing operation.  The Star has published a devastating article on ISNA Canada’s finances on Jan. 20 based in large part on the findings of a rather brave auditing firm.  The article gives us a rare glimpse into the inner workings of an Islamic charity.

That being said, the article focuses a little too much on the personal mismanagement by Ashraf.  There is a much broader phenomenon pervading most Islamic charities which includes three Koran-based patterns:  1) The use of charitable funds for personal gain.  We’ve seen this everywhere from Pakistan’s zakat ministries to Western Islamic charities.  This is justified by the Muslim charity managers in part because the Koran authorizes those who collect zakat to keep a portion of the zakat.  2)  The Koran mandates that zakat will go toward the mujahideen.  However, terrorist financing is illegal in the West.  That creates a built-in temptation by the Muslim charity leaders to conceal their actual expenses and the nature of their charitable programs.  3) A widespread lack of professional accounting at Islamic organizations.  This is partly a cultural problem of the third world where Muslims have immigrated from, but it also has roots in Islam.  Financially speaking, Islam encourages believers to treat each other with trust, but to treat non-Muslims with doubt and watchfulness.  The prejudice results in greater scrutiny by Muslims of in their transactions with non-Muslims but with meager oversight or controls on their internal revenues and expenditures.

Here’s the Star’s full account (h/t RoP):

Muslim charity squandered money for the poor

Jesse McLean, Staff Reporter

Devout Muslims donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to one of Canada’s largest Islamic organizations on the promise that the cash would be used to help the poor.

But only one in four dollars donated to a special pool of money at the Islamic Society of North America Canada (ISNA Canada) actually reached the needy.

Mismanagement of more than $600,000 is among the findings in a scathing audit obtained by the Star.

A “very small portion . . . is distributed to the poor and needy and the major portion is spent on the administration of the centre,” concluded the 2010 audit of the previous four years.

ISNA Canada is embroiled in controversy, with the audit revealing the practice of giving free perks to family members of a top official; the improper issuing of charitable tax receipts; and the diversion of charity money to private businesses. At the centre of it all is long-time secretary general Mohammad Ashraf, who has recently announced he is stepping down.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Banking on corruption

January 24, 2011

According to MoneyLaundering.com on Jan. 18, an anonymous source says that bank officials from two major U.S. banks urged politicians in Afghanistan to open accounts with the banks, even though the banks knew that the politicians’ money came from illegal sources such as embezzled international aid, drug money, or hawala-transferred cash which violates know-your-customer requirements.

It would be one thing if greasy lawyers and financial advisers were privately telling crooked politicians how to deposit their illicit money offshore secretly.  But it’s quite another thing if banks themselves are telling prospective customers how to circumvent the very same compliance standards which they are supposed to enforce.  And if it’s true that the banks are courting Afghan plutocrats, what does that tell us about the banks’ possible activities in Iran, Sudan, etc?

Take their article with a grain of salt due to the anonymous sourcing, but MoneyLaundering.com is an informative site with reporting that’s usually spot-on.  The source is possibly a U.S. Department of Treasury or Department of Defense employee.  This doesn’t sound like a CIA or State Department leak.

U.S. Banks Helped Afghan Officials Launder Millions in Corrupt Funds: Source

By Colby Adams

U.S. officials believe that representatives of at least two major American banks agreed to help top Afghan officials disguise hundreds of millions of dollars in corrupt funds, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The banks, which are among the largest in the United States, maintained accounts for Afghan ministerial officials following meetings in Dubai and Kabul, despite knowledge that their deposits were likely embezzled from development funds or possibly the proceeds of drug trafficking, according to the individual, who reviewed intelligence data from multiple sources.

The U.S. bank officials “aggressively pursued the money in multiple conversations” and advised the Afghan leaders on how to circumvent anti-money laundering reporting requirements through structuring and other means, the person said.

Those strategies were “discussed by high-level U.S. banking officials in Kabul who coordinated with ministerial aides,” the person said. “The principals involved in the Afghan government were good about not directly taking part in the conversations.”

“Their discussions with the banks usually centered around keeping the money under certain thresholds, using certain offshore vehicles to move the money so it wasn’t always coming from the same place and changing remittance companies to obscure the trail,” according to the individual, who said that accounts were unearthed during investigations of Afghan officials.

While the investigations pinpointed two well-known U.S. banks, at least two other Western financial institutions also knowingly accepted corrupt funds from Afghan officials.

“I can say that with 100 percent certainty,” said the person, adding that the Afghan money was either transported in bulk or sent through hawala networks from Afghanistan to Dubai…

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