2011: Sharia bank spent zakat on jihadJanuary 11, 2012
In January we first learned of a sharia bank in Bangladesh called Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited and its sharia charity, the Islami Bank Foundation, and their link to militant Islam:
Allegations of terror financing against the Bank and its sister concern Islami Bank Foundation surfaced during the tenure of the BNP-led four-party alliance government.
Intelligence agencies at the time found that JMB Amir Sheikh Abdur Rahman and Siddikur Rahman alias Bangla Bhai opened three accounts in Bogra, Naogaon and Jamalpur branches of Islami Bank mainly to send money abroad for terror financing.
During the tenure of the interim government, a task force began more intensive investigation into the allegation against Islami Bank and Islami Bank Foundation, unearthing some strong evidences of militant financing by the Bank and the Foundation.
In early March the news broke that Islami Bank Bangladesh was diverting 8 percent of its bank profits as corporate zakat toward militant jihadist operations.
The bank later issued a press release with a telling statement that “the Bank always spent its Zakat fund only for the shariah approved purposes.”
Some limits have been imposed on the bank’s activities since the story broke, but hardly enough action has been taken and the bank remains in business.
Islami Bank played a historical role in financing Rabeta Al Islami, a Saudi organization that started working with refugees in Bangladesh in the 1970s in order to establish a militant Sunni network there.
The Islami Bank Bangladesh news should have been one of the most widely reported terror finance cases of the year. It is a fundamental case because it clearly illustrates the link between sharia finance and funding terrorism. But it received practically no attention or coverage by Western media last year.