Archive for January, 2012

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AQIM urges Algerians to wage money jihad

January 31, 2012

In the jihadists’ latest salvo in the Arab Spring, al-Andalus Media, the public relations wing of Al Qaeda in North Africa (AQIM), has released a video message by Sheikh Abu Abdul Ilah Ahmed urging Algerians to rise up, fund, and fight against their government.

Unlike its Arab Spring neighbors, the Algerian government has managed to stave off the pressure to surrender to the Islamists.  AQIM hopes to reverse the government’s fortunes, and the Jan. 12 al-Andalus message called forgiving aid until we are ruled by the Sharia” in Algeria.

The video was geared to appeal to fervent, young Muslim men of Algeria, saying “O’ lions of the capital, Blida, Chlef, Médéa, Boumerdès, and Bouïra, this is your day go out to give support to your religion.”

The AQIM message reminded its audience of Koran 9:41, a favorite verse cited by jihadists when soliciting funds, which reads, “Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah!”

The video shows once again how inseparable Islamic law is from contemporary terrorist financing.

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IED financier named as casualties fall

January 30, 2012

Earlier this month, a U.N. committee added Ahmad Zia Agha to its list of sanctioned terrorists.  The committee’s summary of the listing included these details about Agha’s participation in the financial pipeline behind the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) being used against coalition forces.

Ahmad Zia Agha is a senior Taliban leader with military and financial responsibilities. In 2010, Ahmad Zia Agha was the leader of the Taliban’s military shura (council), which directed Taliban military operations in western Afghanistan. In 2009, Ahmad Zia Agha served as a Taliban finance officer and distributed money to Taliban commanders. As part of his financial responsibilities, Ahmad Zia Agha transferred tens of thousands of dollars to Taliban shadow provincial governors; the Taliban’s shura treasurer also entrusted Ahmad Zia Agha with hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund improvised explosive device (IED) operations. In 2008, Ahmad Zia Agha was involved in distributing funds to Taliban commanders in Afghanistan and transferred money to individuals associated with the Taliban outside the country. He has also facilitated communications for a Taliban military leader.

Exposing the funding sources behind the IED ring is a helpful; however, the greatest factors leading to the decline of IED-related casualties are adaptive American military tactics, consistent counter-IED training within the military, and American ingenuity in the form of IED-jamming technologies.

IED casualties in Afghanistan spiked in 2010

Roadside bomb deaths on the decline

The decline in deadly IEDs in Afghanistan resembles the successful counter-IED measures by U.S. forces in Iraq prior to the American withdrawal. Unfortunately, the Taliban has shown far greater financial resilience over time than has Al Qaeda, which suggests the Afghan IED ring could remain solvent.

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Taliban recordings openly sold in Kabul

January 29, 2012

Care to buy 50 Taliban songs for a dollar?  Just stroll down the avenues of beautiful downtown Kabul, where your local shopkeeper will be happy to make the sale.  From NPR on Jan. 23:

Reminds us of the West Bank.

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Kenya BBQs al-Shabaab’s charcoal business

January 27, 2012

The West owes a hearty thanks to Kenya and its military for taking on the forces of al-Shabaab in East Africa.  In a year-end press conference, a Kenya Defense Force spokesman indicated that their war is successfully disrupting al-Shabaab from shipping charcoal—a market that Al-Shabaab has consistently exploited to fund its terror.

Al-Shabaab imposes at 2½ percent zakat tax on every stage of Somalia’s charcoal production and exportation.  NTV Kenya notes that “According to the military spokesman, Colonel Cyrus Oguna, charcoal business has been the main source of funding to the Al-Shabaab militants.”

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Taliban chops trees, not just heads

January 26, 2012
Unlawful jingle truck

Truck with illegal Pakistani timber

Deforestation enriches jihadists

The Taliban may regard the trees as their right to exploit as they please due to Islamic laws on “unused” land, or they deem their takings as a form of zakat on timber or ushr taxation on Swat’s residents.  Via the Guardian on Jan. 17:

Pakistan’s forests fall victim to the Taliban

The forests of northwestern Pakistan have become the latest victim of the Taliban’s increasingly desperate quest for resources to sustain and fund its military programme

The landscape of Swat, an administrative district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and once a luscious valley, is now dotted with thousands of tree stumps as militants decimate acres of forest for timber revenues.

“Nearly all the forested areas have been mercilessly stripped of trees but the Swat in particular has borne the brunt of the Taliban’s atrocities over the last two years,” Jamshaid Ali Khan, secretary of the Sarhad Awami Forestry Ittehad (SAFI), told IPS.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Sharia lobbyists target Bermuda

January 25, 2012

In an extension of the ongoing Caribbean Islamization spanning from Venezuela to South Florida, the North Atlantic island of Bermuda is poised to become a gateway for sharia finance.  From EuroMoney on Jan. 18:

Bermuda looks to pioneer Western Shariah-compliant hub

The favourable tax haven is actively seeking to become the first Western centre to provide a Shariah-compliant platform by reviewing its existing legislation.

Bermuda is set to become the first Western centre for Islamic finance in a favourable tax domicile, as the region looks at existing legislation to accommodate a Shariah-compliant platform for such vehicles and products.

In an exclusive interview with Euromoney, executives at Business Bermuda, a non-profit business lobby group that works with the Bermudan government, revealed it is actively educating and pursuing potential clients in Asia and the Middle East, while also working on reviewing existing laws to eventually launch a Shariah-compliant platform for investors.

“We are looking at the Shariah side of Bermuda’s legislation to become the first Western centre for Islamic finance,” says Peter Hughes, group director of Apex Fund Services who also works with Business Bermuda. “We are looking to launch a Shariah platform that will allow us to have Shariah vehicles and products, which would enable us to become the first one of its kind. We have made a real push into this niche area.”

Islamic finance centres around Shariah compliancy – Islamic law derived mainly from the Koran and Hadith. Shariah-compliant finance has consistently grown during the past 10 years, with Western financial institutions looking to tap into the burgeoning markets.

Shariah-complaint finance has become a trillion-dollar business, with sukuks – commonly seen as an Islamic bond, but are actually certificates representing participation and ownership rights in an underlying asset – being one of the largest product sectors.

According to KFH Research, an Islamic investment research firm that is a direct subsidiary of the Kuwait Finance House, sukuk issuance in 2012 is set to increase by 25% to 30% and break the $200 billion barrier. The note says that despite a raft of challenges faced by industry, much like the rest of the world, sukuk issuance will continue to grow.

In 2011, sukuk market issuance grew by 88% compared to 2010.

Cheryl Packwood, CEO and deputy chairman of Business Bermuda, said that the continual growth of Islamic finance and stronger ties with Bahrain and Malaysia led to a focus on developing existing Bermudan legislation more than 18 months ago.

We now have strong links in Bahrain and there is a commonality of wanting to create a niche jurisdiction for Shariah compliancy, that is closer to the US timezone,” she says. “We are also focusing on Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, as it has an enormous sukuk market. The process for getting this off the ground may be slow but we have the Bermuda Monetary Authority and the Bermuda Stock Exchange behind us.”

The burgeoning Bahrain-Bermuda relationship is not encouraging from an anti-money laundering standpoint.  Bahrain still has no legal means of freezing assets that are laundered or fund terrorism.  Bahrain’s Islamic finance sector recently received a major black eye when an audit of one of its major sharia banks revealed 58 potential criminal offenses by its CEO.

Shariah Finance Watch has speculated that the purpose of introducing sharia finance to Bermuda is to spread Islam and sharia law.  That is certainly a factor.  We must also be concerned that an island nation that is a known tax haven is being specifically targeted by sharia advocates.  One might even wonder if the ruling Sunni elites of Bahrain are attempting to off-shore their wealth and protect their long-term self-interests in case Bahrain’s Iranian-backed Shia majority succeeds in an Arab Spring coup.

Bermuda has growing internal problems as well.  Four ex-Guantanamo detainees live in Bermuda.  Bermuda also appears to be facing a rash of street gang violence with possible Muslim involvement.  The introduction of sharia wealth to the island will probably lead to new mosques and Islamic centers.  Given the history of Gulf-funded mosques, such future mosques are unlikely to be “moderate.”

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For-profit halal board claims tax-exempt status

January 24, 2012

Wahhabi-backed U.S. halal certifier pays top officers 6-figure salaries, gets $5 million in business income, claims public charity status

If a food manufacturer wants to call its products halal, and obtain a label that attests to its halal compliance, that manufacturer must submit an application for review by a halal certification organization.

In the U.S., halal certifiers are not government entities and, unlike organic food certifiers, are not accredited by the government.  The halal boards are privately run.

One of the largest halal groups is the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA), a Chicago-based multi-million dollar enterprise.  But as Family Security Matters has noted, “There are very few transparent news reports of the expansion” of the halal industry in North America.  The time has come for fuller scrutiny.

First, IFANCA proclaims on its own website that it is recognized and endorsed by the Saudi-based, Wahhabi hegemon Muslim World League.  The MWL has funded Al Qaeda, Hamas, and other terrorist organizations throughout the world in an effort over several decades to export and ingrain Wahhabism across the planet.  But this doesn’t seem to bother IFANCA.

Second, IFANCA claimed tax-exempt status in its 2010 tax return even though the vast majority of its reported revenues comes from “inspection fees.”  These are fees that IFANCA charges to food producers for the “privilege” of sporting IFANCA’s halal food logo.  Such fees sound a lot more like ordinary business income that should be taxable rather than charitable or “public” contributions which would qualify the entity for tax-exempt status.  IFANCA’s Form 990 showed $5,519,829 in inspection fee revenue.  Its only other reported revenues were $14,466 in gifts.

To qualify for tax-exempt status, a charity needs to get over one-third of its income from donations or grants and no more than one-third of its income from business activity.  With 100 percent of its income from apparent business activity, IFANCA falls far short of federal standards for a nonprofit charity.  (IFANCA’s six-figure salaries to its president and vice-president documented in its tax returns may also raise a few eyebrows.)

IFANCA casts itself as an educational entity of sorts, promoting “knowledge” and “community development” with respect to halal foods.  But it does not base its claim for public charity status on its educational or religious mission, but rather by describing the inspection fees as public contributions.

IFANCA’s tax approach makes it relatively unique among food certification groups such as organic, vegan, and kosher certifying entities.  Several U.S. organic food certifiers are tax exempt on the bases of Section 501(c)(5) of the Internal Revenue Code because they have an agricultural mission—not on the basis of any professed public charity mission under 501(c)3.

The Vegan Awareness Foundation, which is a major certifying entity for vegan foods, maintains tax-exempt status on the basis that it receives a substantial portion of its revenues from donations or grants—not from site inspections.

Many kosher certifying entities are set up as regular businesses and pay taxes.

The IFANCA case illustrates a flawed federal system that accepts 99 percent of all claims for tax-exempt status.  The IRS can start making amends by revoking IFACNA’s tax-exempt status.

Moreover, due to its tax-dodging behavior and World Muslim League affiliation, consumers should avoid buying any IFACNA-certified foods, and grocers should refrain from stocking their shelves with such products.

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Profile: Islami Bank Bangladesh

January 23, 2012

Seal of Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd

Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited describes itself as South East Asia’s first sharia bank.  In the 1980s, it helped handle transactions for the Saudi-based Muslim World League to promote Wahhabism in Bangladesh.

IBBL is not a minor financial institution.  Its September 2011 balance sheet shows bank assets of 330 billion Bangladeshi taka (BDT), or approximately 3.9 billion U.S. dollars.  IBBL has about $3.5 billion in deposits, which would put it on par with a local/regional financial institution in the U.S. such as a large metropolitan credit union or a statewide bank system.

IBBL building

The bank’s sharia advisory board met most recently in December at the posh Islami Bank Tower, and was presided over by sharia board chairman Sheikh Moulana Muhammad Kutubuddin.  Read the rest of this entry ?

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Treasury: We don’t expect full legal compliance

January 22, 2012

When the last banks in Minnesota stopped processing money transfers to Somalia in an effort to prevent funding of terrorism, the Minnesota politicians like Sen. Al Franken and Rep. Keith Ellison criticized the banks.

That was bad enough, but Tim Geithner’s Treasury Department (specifically, David Cohen’s Terrorism and Financial Intelligence office [TFI]) has made an even broader statement than Franken in a mostly unnoticed Treasury blog post in late-December.

In a very craftily written post, TFI policy advisor Scott Rembrandt wrote, “The Treasury Department expects financial institutions, in their compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act, to reasonably discharge their due diligence obligations — not that they be infallible in doing so.”

What Mr. Rembrandt is saying is that Treasury expects banks to do a decent job of enforcing BSA provisions, and not to implement its provisions too strictly.

It is not too far to extrapolate that the suggestion here is that banks should not adhere strictly to counterterror finance laws if such adherence could limit Somali-Americans’ ability to transfer money as they please, and that Treasury would not seek legal action or fines against banks that loosen compliance standards on international money transfers.  This position taken by TFI is troubling on several levels.

Let’s leave aside the possibility that the Muslims in Minnesota would intentionally fund terrorism (even though Amina Farah Ali and Hawo Mohamed Hassan were recently convicted of doing exactly that).

Let’s also leave aside the possibility that Muslim Somali-Americans are not trying to fund terrorism, but the relatives that they are sending money to could support al-Shabaab in Somalia.

The fact remains that many of the Muslim-Americans’ relatives in Somalia live in territory subject to forced taxation by al-Shabaab.  Al-Shabaab receives its revenues by the aggressive, coercive theft through Islamic taxes on ordinary Somali commerce along trade routes and harbors.  Whether local Somalis want it or not, and whether Muslim-Americans like it or not, the money that is remitted to Somalia stands an unacceptable risk of being given to or stolen by Al-Shaabab.

Any plain reading of the Bank Secrecy Act, the Patriot Act, and other modern know-your-customer provisions would convince even the most hard-nosed, profit-driven bank president that it simply is not legally (never mind morally or financially) acceptable to facilitate such money transfers.

Granted, modern anti-money laundering laws are onerous and often ineffective.  But for the Treasury Department to make a public statement that banks are not expected to be “infallible” on carrying out the laws which have been imposed by Congress on the financial sector is absurd.

Suppose that one of the banks in question are taken to court someday by family members of somebody who has been murdered by Al-Shabaab.  Will the victims and the judge be comforted when the bank’s lawyers quote Treasury’s blog by saying, “Your honor, Treasury told us we don’t have to be infallible”?

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Islamic charity & bank fund HUJI’s terror

January 20, 2012

ReutersTV produced this video on the continuing threat to South Asia by the Islamic terrorist organization Harakat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI) earlier this month:

With respect to HUJI’s funding sources, Hillary Clinton’s State Department’s annual report on terrorism last year said that “HUJI’s access to resources is unknown.”

That statement inaccurate.

Prior year State Department reports have named the Islamic organization “Servants of Suffering Humanity” as a donor.  HUJI has also received funding from British Muslims.  HUJI has also been helped by Islami Bank Bangladesh, a sharia bank that has diverted zakat toward militant jihad.  And as the above video noted, Osama bin Laden provided the seed money for the establishment of the HUJI’s Bangladesh-branch.

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Jihad chief discloses Islamic charity donors

January 19, 2012
Saidur Rehman

JMB chief Maulana Saidur Rahman

Maulana Saidur Rahman, the jailed chief of the terrorist organization Jamatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), has admitted that JMB’s financial sources include the major Saudi international Wahhabi charities and the Great Britain-based charity Muslim Aid.  Here is Saidur Rahman’s account of JMB donors along with the countries where they are based:

  • U.K.:  Muslim Aid
  • Saudi Arabia:  World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY)
  • Saudi Arabia:  Rabeta-al-Alam-al-Islami (an alternate spelling for Rabita al-Alam al-Islami, more commonly known as the Muslim World League [MWL])
  • International Federation of Islamic Organisations (probably referring to the Nigeria/German-based International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations [IIFSO])
  • Islamic World Committee
  • Qatar:  Charitable Society (a front also used by Osama bin Laden)
  • International Islamic Front (an alternate designation for Al Qaeda)
  • Kuwait:  Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS)

Most of the above entities will be familiar to Money Jihad regulars.  Do not be lulled into the false argument that WAMY and MWL only have religious, charitable, or educational objectives.  They have violent, terrifying, and political objectives, and JMB’s bomb attacks have killed citizens across Bangladesh.  That Muslim Aid is still allowed to operate in Britain (or that RIHS is allowed to operate in Spain) shows the deadly consequences of Western political correctness and dhimmitude.

This information comes from Rajeev Sharma writing for the Sakal Times on Dec. 30:

Terror funds via Dhaka

Bangladesh has to do a lot more to curb terrorism

Under the prime ministership of Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has cracked down on the jehadi brand of terrorism and terror outfits that have been needling India for years. But Dhaka needs to do more to make the efforts more effective. The Hasina government needs to clamp down on sources of funding to the militants.

Militant organisations like Jama’tul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) or Harkat ul Jehad Islam (HUJI) have been banned but not liquidated. Another set of leaders has taken over. Training camps continue to impart ideological and arms training. Mere banning will not serve the purpose. A top  JMB commander, Mustafizur Rahman Shaheen, who was arrested recently, said during interrogation that JMB has not been liquidated after its ban, or with execution of its topmost leaders Abdur Rahman and his deputy Bangla Bhai. He said JMB cadres were operating under various banners to stage Islamic revolution.

The JMB, HUJI and Islamic networks were spawned by al Qaeda and Taliban jehadis. They were trained by Inter Services Intelligence and Lashkar e Toiba. None of the umbilical cords has been cut for good. In all 20 local and foreign NGOs including al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front finance radical Islamic groups JMB and HUJI. Huge funds pour in every month from Pakistani militant leaders, Sajedur Rahman and Hafiz Mohammad Ibrahim through the hawala channel to JMB chief Maulana Saidur Rahman. This was revealed by Maulana Saidur Rahman.

JMB chief Saidur Rahman said its activists learnt operational tactics of hitting multiple targets simultaneously from the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka. From them they acquired techniques for manufacturing explosive devices and arms. He said the JMB follows al Qaeda’s ideology and works to expand and strengthen al Qaeda’s base in Bangladesh. Information about location of JMB suicide squad members was disclosed by JMB military wing chief Boma Mizan and Zaved Iqbal, both of whom were arrested ahead of Saidur Rahman’s arrest.

Saidur Rahman said bin Laden’s International Islamic Front (IIF) has been offering financial assistance to JMB and HUJI regularly as part of its worldwide endeavour to assist all pro-al Qaeda outfits. Read the rest of this entry ?

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