Archive for October, 2011

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HPG: Terror laws ruin our humanitarian aims

October 31, 2011

Then maybe there’s something wrong with your “humanitarian” projects in the first place…

A new report from the U.K.-based Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) claims that “The application of counter-terrorism legislation and other measures to humanitarian operations is challenging principled humanitarian action.”  This is the latest argument from the same type of people who falsely claim there has been a “chilling effect” against Muslim charitable giving over the past ten years.

The HPG report fails to offer any data substantiating their claims.  The best the report is able to do is describe interviews with anonymous charity workers who claim to have felt “uncertain” or “anxious” about how to comply with laws against terrorism while carrying out their programs overseas.  Not even one example with a named source or named organization is given.

Money Jihad will spare readers from slogging through HPG’s twelve page report.  We’ll even help HPG out a bit by boiling down their most damning (which are pretty mild) charges about the impact of counter-terror laws on humanitarian action into a simple bullet list:

  • “Several small organisations which ran sponsorship schemes for orphans in the Gaza Strip using private donations from Gulf donors have had to stop their operations”
  • “Examples provided in interviews for this Policy Brief include OFAC licences not being renewed for specific projects in Gaza”
  • “Fears that Al-Shabaab was benefiting from the influx of humanitarian assistance, particularly food aid, led OFAC to suspend over $50 million in humanitarian aid for Somalia in 2009″
  • “Bank transactions are frequently stopped without explanation and organisations have to wait for up to three months while an investigation is carried out.”
  • Due to concern about the parties involved, aid meetings in Gaza are conducted without minutes and advice is circulated on non-letterhead paper.

Those are the worst, most specific allegations they made.  So somebody—we’re not sure who, but they’re probably in Gaza—once felt concerned that they weren’t able or were delayed in carrying out unspecified activities in a manner they chose.  The ladies who wrote the report probably have the best of intentions, but if a certain donor or charity finds it difficult to work in Gaza without working with Hamas, then perhaps they should be performing charity work elsewhere.

The report would have been far more credible if it had included, at best, scientific data, but at a minimum, named sources with anecdotal evidence at a minimum.

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Taliban buys weapons and loyalty

October 30, 2011

Shinwari tribe admits “reliance” on Taliban’s financial help

The Shinwari, an ethnic Pashtun tribe in eastern Afghanistan, have acknowledged that they receive money and arms from the Taliban.  A tribesman told Voice of America that the help is necessary “when there is fighting.”  Good heavens–who does he think causes the fighting?

At any rate, the report is another sign of the robust financial health of the Taliban.  That they have enough money to buy weapons for other groups and to embroil themselves in inter-tribal squabbles confirm that the Taliban aren’t exactly living paycheck-to-paycheck off of their Arab donors from the Gulf.

Supposedly, the Shinwari had no alternative but to accept Taliban help after the Karzai government and U.S. State Department put the brakes on direct aid from the local U.S. military commander to tribal authorities in 2010.  Take a list to this two-minute clip from the Oct. 11 report:

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Halal food + sharia finance = $2 trillion industry

October 28, 2011

With halal food supporters working together with the Occupy Wall Street protestors tomorrow in a rally against “Big Food,” the implications need to be promptly understood.  The local and “slow food” movements should realize that their efforts are being hijacked by big business elements and big sharia banks behind the halal food industry.

Tomorrow, the 3rd Annual American Muslim Consumer Conference is being held today at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick, New Jersey:

Conference attendees will probably still have time to drop by the rally against “corporate food” in the afternoon in Zucotti Park, New York.

Anti-"Big Food" rally

But buyer beware.  Major corporate interests are behind both the halal food industry and Islamic banking, and the two sectors are set to merge for an even bigger financial empire.  An overlooked but extremely important item was reported by the Global Islamic Finance blog earlier this month:

Halal and Islamic finance markets will converge, says Al Islami CEO

The $1 trillion (AED3.68 trillion) global Islamic finance industry is in the process of developing a road-map to converge on $651 billion (AED2.4 trillion) halal market, says Saleh Abdullah Lootah, Managing Director of Al Islami Foods.  He was speaking during the 8th Kuala Lumpur Islamic Finance Forum 2011 (KLIFF).

“Islamic stock exchange for both Islamic financial services and halal FMCG companies is a logical outcome and a natural relationship of the two fast growing industries. The time has come to sustain and channel this growth,” said Lootah.

“Growing Muslim population, awareness and consumers, their rising literacy and professional training, sustainable nature of Islamic economy, role of press and social media are the contributing factors for the impressive growth of Islamic finance and Halal food industry.”

From the international Halal food industry, Al Islami was the only halal food company from the Middle East invited to the international event.

Concurrent industry events were organised to cover the complete package of Islamic finance industry that included: Shariah Forum, The Takaful Rendezvous, Ethics and Finance Roundtable Exhibition, Workshops, Islamic Finance Essay Competition, and Islamic Finance Awards.

KLIFF 2011 gathered more than 1,500 delegates ranging from regulatory authorities, Shariah scholars, bankers, legal practitioners, Takaful operators, consultants, and academicians in Islamic finance around the globe.

The size of Islamic Finance Market in the GCC

According to a 2009 report titled the Development of Islamic Finance in the GCC, published by the Centre for Study of Global Governance of the London School of Economics:“the value of shariah-compliant assets is impressive in the GCC. The current size of global Islamic finance industry is at over $1 trillion (AED3.68 trillion), with GCC having $262.6 billion (AED964.5 billion).”

Islamic finance in the UAE, reports said, has been recording a steady and impressive growth in last few years with $73 billion (AED269 billion). Industry experts estimate the global industry size to rise to $2 trillion (AED7.3 trillion) in five years.

Malaysia, notwithstanding the efforts of the Gulf countries, claims the world’s largest Islamic capital market with assets rose 15 percent to $123 billion (AED452.6 billion) in 2011. The country has integrated the Islamic sector into its broader financial system, providing institutions as well as intermediaries a deep market in shariah-compliant equities, sukuk, exchange-traded funds, real estate investment trusts and derivatives.

(KippReport/9 Oct 2011)

Supporters will no doubt trot out false arguments about sharia banking being “ethical” even though sharia bank profits have been used to fund jihadist militants, “egalitarian” even though musharaka arrangements cost borrowers more money than conventional loans, or “safer” despite the example of Dubai’s economic meltdown.

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Flotilla charity gears up for mass slaughter

October 27, 2011

In commemoration of Abraham’s obedience to God’s instructions to sacrifice his son, Muslims around the world are preparing to make animal sacrifices known as Qurbani starting on Nov. 6.

Despite the vast oil wealth of the modern Islamic world, many Muslims live in poverty, misery, and inequality (largely caused by Islamic law itself).

Consequently, Islamic charities (including American-based Islamic Relief USA, Life for Relief and Development, the Zakat Foundation, ICNA, Helping Hand USA, the Qurbani Foundation, and the Hidaya Foundation), have been busy soliciting donations which they claim will buy animals that can be sacrificed prior to distributing meat to poor Muslims.  No meat will go to poor non-Muslims in the Middle East because that would be prohibited by Islamic law.

The charity that has launched perhaps the most aggressive public relations campaign to solicit Qurbani donations this year is the Turkey-based IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation.  Through its “Closer by Qurban” program, IHH proudly proclaims on its website  that “IHH teams will slaughter the Qurbani animals in 95 countries and regions in the world and 60 provinces in Turkey in this year’s Eid al-Adh.”  It is an impressive figure; Helping Hand USA says it provides Qurbani to 55 countries, but no other American Muslim charity even comes close to a reach of 95 countries like IHH.  Its website pledges that “IHH teams will travel all around, in order to slaughter the Qurbani animals” and strengthen “solidarity among Muslims.”

If IHH sounds familiar to you, it should.  It’s the same charity that launched the infamous “peace” and aid flotilla to Gaza in May, 2010.  The crew of IHH’s Mavi Marmara were armed with clubs and knives used to attack the Israeli Defense Forces who were enforcing the blockade of Gaza to prevent the supply of rockets to Hamas.

Given the IHH’s terrorist links and history of working with Hamas and knowing that cash aid is fungible, donors would be well-advised to avoid participating in IHH’s Qurbani program.

Throat slitting by Muslim males

Photo from IHH's 2010 Qurbani project

Islamic animal sacrificial practices have also come under criticism by Western animal rights groups.  Earlier this year, the Dutch parliament voted in an overwhelming majority to outlaw the practice.  Antwerp, Belgium, has recently offered discounted and free stunning services to prevent live slaughter.

This Qurbani season, will progressive nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and Europe stay committed to their Islamic charity allies, and leave animal rights advocates in the cold?

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Funding jihad is not a tax-exempt activity

October 26, 2011

IRS Form 990, question 76:  does your charity engage in any other activities?  One Islamic charity’s answer:  does funding jihad count?

The First Circuit has reinstated the convictions of the three jihadists who ran the Massachusetts-based Care International, who argued that the IRS’s tax form for nonprofits, Form 990, is too vague.  Money Jihad has looked at a lot of 990s.  Overall, the wording on the tax form is pretty direct.  There may be some legal grounds to question whether the IRS is specific enough on certain concepts, but excluding the publication of your jihadist magazine from your list of activities raises a red flag (or the green flag of Islam or the black flag of jihad as the case may be).

Peter J. Reilly makes some great points in this piece from Forbes last month:

I both love and hate Form 990.  I hate it because it is a real pain to prepare and review.  I have to deal with it both for clients and also in my capacity as a volunteer.  One of the downsides of being a CPA is that when you want to help a not for profit, they usually rope you into being the treasurer or chairing the finance committee. I love 990’s for the information they provide about not-for-profits.  Most not for profits, except churches, are required to file them and they are public records… Whenever I write about a case that in any way involves a not-for-profit, I will look at its 990 and I find it often adds an interesting dimension as in this  donated to .  Useful as 990’s are, I would not have thought there was a role for them in the War on Terror.  Silly me.  The First Circuit’s decision in  has set me straight.

The case was an appeal of criminal convictions of Emadeddin Muntasser, Muhamed Mubayyid, and Samir Al-Mon.  The government was also appealing the District Court’s overturning of the jury verdict on some of the counts.  The case is largely about Form 990 with a particular emphasis on Question 76.  Question 76 asked if the organization has engaged in any activities not previously reported to the IRS.  Like supporting jihad for example.  That is not generally thought to be a valid exempt purpose.

The defendants’ twenty-four day jury trial focused on the circumstances motivating Muntasser’s formation of Care in 1993; the defendants’ failure to disclose some of Care’s activities, such as the publication of certain newsletters from 1993 to 1997; and Care’s support for, and promotion of, Islamic jihad and fighters known as “mujahideen.”  The government’s central theory at trial was that Muntasser had established Care in order to fraudulently obtain a tax exemption, so that contributions being used to finance mujahideen overseas could be deducted from individual tax returns as charitable donations.

Care was the successor to the Boston branch of  an organization called Al-Kifah -

Among its activities, Al-Kifah’s Boston branch published a pro-jihad newsletter entitled “Al-Hussam,” which translates from Arabic as “The Sword”; it sold books and audiotapes extolling the cause of jihad; and it promoted sermons and lectures by like-minded Muslim leaders. It also solicited substantial charitable donations through the publication of an annual Zakat Calculation Guide. 4 Although the organization advertised itself as a tax-exempt charity, it had never been granted charitable status by the IRS.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Zafar Iqbal, Lashkar-e-Taiba money man

October 25, 2011

Lashkar-e-Taiba was behind the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, and is one of the richest terror organizations in South Asia.

One man partly responsible for LeT’s wealth is Zafar Iqbal, a terror fundraiser, terror training camp patron, and madrassa curriculum chief.  In its press release describing the designation of Zafar Iqbal as a terrorist, the U.S. Treasury Department described him this way:

Zafar Iqbal is a senior leader and co-founder of LET, has served in various LET/JUD senior leadership positions and was once considered LET/JUD’s second-in-command.  As of late 2010, Iqbal was in charge of LET/JUD’s finance department. Zafar Iqbal has also been involved in LET/JUD fundraising activities. As of 2008, he was identified as LET/JUD’s chief of fundraising, and in 2010, Iqbal was overseeing the construction of an LET/JUD facility.

From 2003 to 2010, Iqbal was also the director of LET/JUD’s education department. In this capacity, Iqbal has been involved in recruiting activities on behalf of the group and has prepared the curricula for schools run by LET/JUD in Pakistan. As of 2010, Iqbal was a joint secretary of a university trust created by LET/JUD to carry out activities on behalf of the group.

Iqbal formed LET in the late 1980s with current LET/JUD emir Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, designated by the U.S. pursuant to E.O. 13224 in May 2008, and by the UN in December 2008. In 1989 or 1990, Iqbal traveled to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with LET/JUD emir Hafiz Muhammad Saeed to request financial support from Usama bin Laden.

Our prior coverage has revealed that Lashkar-e-Taiba has received funding from zakat collections in Kashmiri mosques, hawala, and donations from rich Arabs in the Gulf

LET member proclaims shahadat is the real life

Note:  The above bum is not Zafar Iqbal, but some other Lashkar-e-Taiba goon displaying his love of jihad for the camera.

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The North Dakota model: A recipe for getting off Saudi oil & putting Americans to work

October 24, 2011

Why buy sharia oil from the Arabian peninsula and help fund an oppressive Saudi system that also diverts profits toward terrorism?  The only “good” answer for years has been “we have to.”

Except we don’t have to.  Slowly but surely, through consistent and persistent development of energy resources in the United States and throughout the Western hemisphere, we’ll continue tipping the balance away from Middle East oil.  IF, as economist Mark Perry suggests, we are willing to acknowledge and follow North Dakota’s blueprint.  From the American Enterprise Blog last month:

There’s no shortage of bad economics news these days. In August there were no new jobs created, retail sales were flat, consumer confidence plunged to recession-era lows, and it was reported this week that the nation’s poverty rate last year rose to the highest level since 1993. Yet, amid all of the national “gloom and doom” there is an amazing story of a booming economy in North Dakota, America’s most successful state by every economic measure. Here are some recent facts about North Dakota’s economy, which is flourishing as a direct result of the booming oil and gas production in the state’s oil-rich Bakken formation:

1. North Dakota set a new record in July for the most oil ever produced in a single month—more than 13 million total barrels at the rate of 423,600 barrels per day—an increase of almost 14 percent above the previous record in June, and a gain of almost 32 percent from July of last year (see chart below). In just a little more than two years (since June 2009), oil production in North Dakota has doubled to its current level. At the current rate of ongoing record-setting production increases, North Dakota will likely surpass California (540,000 barrels per day) and Alaska (550,000 barrels) by next year to become the number two oil-producing state in the country, behind only Texas (1.4 million barrels).

2. While the national economy struggles to add jobs in the current “jobless recovery,” jobs in North Dakota are increasing at a record-setting pace, and not just oil-related jobs. The overall state employment level reached an all-time high in July and is 10 percent above the pre-recession level in 2007. In contrast, U.S. payroll employment is still 5 percent below the December 2007 level. Oil-related employment in North Dakota has more than doubled in just two years, from 6,600 jobs in July 2009 to 15,800 jobs in July of this year (see chart below).

Energy  sector jobs & production

3. In the first quarter of 2011, North Dakota led the country with a 6.9 percent increase in personal income compared to the previous quarter. Second place Wyoming’s income growth at 2.6 percent wasn’t even close, and North Dakota’s income growth was almost four times the national average of 1.8 percent.

4. In 2010, North Dakota led the country with a 7.1 percent increase in real state GDP, almost three times the national average of 2.6 percent, and two full percentage points above the 5.1 percent economic growth for second-place New York.

5. North Dakota’s jobless rate continues to be the lowest in the country. In July, North Dakota’s 3.3 percent unemployment rate was lower than second-place Nebraska’s rate of 4.1 percent by almost a full percentage point, and was almost six percentage points below the national rate of 9.1 percent.

6. At a time when other states are facing declining revenues and budget deficits, North Dakota’s tax revenues are soaring and it currently has a $1 billion surplus. In May, the state legislature passed a bill to reduce individual income tax rates.

7. In this video about Williston, North Dakota, a city in the heart of the state’s oil-rich Bakken formation, MSNBC reports that the local Walmart has a hard time keeping up with demand and sells out of merchandise almost every day, and the local McDonald’s is one of the busiest in the country.

8. North Dakota home prices have risen consistently even through the national housing bubble and subsequent crash, and are currently at record-high levels. While the national real estate crash has brought average U.S. home prices back to 2003 levels, home prices in North Dakota have continued to appreciate every year through both the recession and financial crisis, and are now 46 percent above 2003 levels.

Bottom Line: North Dakota’s impressive economic success clearly illustrates some of the proven benefits of domestic energy production: ongoing growth in jobs, output, and income; a jobless rate close to 3 percent; a bubble-resistant housing market; and a huge state budget surplus. There’s no reason why the economic success of North Dakota can’t be duplicated elsewhere, if we would only open up more U.S. land and off-shore areas to domestic energy exploration and drilling.

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