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Zawahiri emphasizes Bin Laden’s money jihad

June 18, 2012

Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current leader of Al Qaeda, has released a video playing up the “generous” side of Osama bin Laden.  Zawahiri claims that Bin Laden “spent all his money for jihad.”

Zawahiri uses this Bin Laden fairy tale in order to convince Islamist businessmen to ante up the same way Osama supposedly did.  What’s really happening is that Zawahiri is running into the same cash flow problems as his predecessor.

When he first took command of Al Qaeda, Zawahiri didn’t say much about money.  Now it’s one of his favorite themes.  Accumulating money is one of Zawahiri’s most important means of staying relevant.  In his last few messages, Zawahiri has encouraged Muslims to give their money to support the jihadists involved with Islamist uprisings of the Arab Spring.

In this latest message, Zawahiri claims that Bin Laden used his personal wealth to fund the 9/11 terror attacks—a claim discredited by the 9/11 Commission which found that Al Qaeda was funded “almost entirely” by zakat and sadaqa (donations beyond the 2½ zakat rate).  From the 9/11 Commission Report:

Bin Ladin did not fund al Qaeda through a personal fortune and a network of businesses in Sudan.  Instead, al Qaeda relied primarily on a fund-raising network developed over time.  The CIA now estimates that it cost al Qaeda about $30 million per year to sustain its activities before 9/11 and that this money was raised almost entirely through donations.

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