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Seven ways to stop funding terror

September 5, 2012

Money Jihad has previously proposed methods to limit zakat and hawala—two major mechanisms for funding terror.  Here’s a more comprehensive set of our recommendations that would reduce terrorist financing overall:

  1. Drill, baby, drill.  The U.S. should expand offshore oil drilling, open federal lands for drilling, ease its permitting process for new refineries, encourage hydraulic fracturing methods that tap previously inaccessible energy sources underground, and approve the Keystone XL pipeline.  Increasing domestic U.S. and Western Hemisphere energy production will reduce reliance on Persian Gulf oil supplies and thereby minimize the profits reaped by hostile, foreign regimes that sponsor terror.
  2. Eliminate foreign aid to Pakistan.  Pakistan uses its ISI spy service to fund the Taliban, the Haqqani network, and Lashkar-e-Taiba.  Continuing to waste money on Pakistan is not only wasteful when we can least afford it, but it is suicidal.
  3. Study the true enemy and threat.  Among the most important concepts for the Western public to understand are:

    If we fail to acknowledge Islam as the animating force behind terror finance, we’ll get confused and aim at the wrong targets.  For example, we’ve spent billions of dollars complying with extensive bureaucratic requirements such as currency reports that have yielded minimal results.

  4. Launch a new offensive against Muslim American charities and entities that fund terrorism.  Pick a few of the highest profile ones and make an example of them by prosecuting their leaders and dressing them in orange jumpsuits.  Prosecute Islamic Relief USA under the laws against providing material support for terrorism.  Prosecute the Council on American-Islamic Relations under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.  Strip the halal food certifier IFANCA and the mosque deed financier North American Islamic Trust of their tax-exempt status.
  5. Tax hawala. Terrorists use the traditional Islamic money transfer system known as hawala to exchange money without being monitored.  Hawala dealers in the U.S. are required to register with FinCEN, a financial regulator, but about 85 percent of hawaladars ignore the requirement.  Imposing a simple one percent tax on hawala remittances would help put hawala under the jurisdiction of tax authorities rather than financial regulators who focus more attention on large banks than on small money services businesses.  A one percent tax would be a mild, positive step in beginning to track the transactions to countries that intend us harm.
  6. Designate ISI and Muslim World League as terrorist entities.  Pakistan funds jihadists through its ISI intelligence agency.  Saudi Arabia funds Hamas, Al Qaeda, and other Wahhabi movements abroad through the Muslim World League (MWL) which is comprised of eight subdivisions including the notorious International Islamic Relief Organization and the World Assembly for Muslim Youth.  The U.S. should declare the ISI and MWL to be foreign terrorist organizations in the same fashion that the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps has been designated.
  7. Stop paying ransoms to jihadists.  Enforce U.N. Resolution 1904 which prohibits paying ransoms to terrorists or broker a new treaty banning the payment by governments or insurance companies of ransoms to specified terrorist groups.  Al Qaeda affiliates, the Taliban, Abu Sayyaf other jihadist organizations have made millions of dollars in the kidnap-for-ransom business.  Discourage recreational travel by Westerners to locations such as Somalia, Yemen, and the southern Philippines.

Any one of these proposals alone could help reduce terrorist revenues by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Other analysts have proposed improving and standardizing financial regulations, adopting conditions-based aid rather than open-ended foreign aid through the use of millennium challenge accounts, encouraging divestment and terror-free investing, promoting alternative energy sources, enacting harsher sanctions against Iran, a putting a greater focus on the prosecution of white collar financial crimes.

Ultimately, you have to examine the biggest sources of revenue for jihad, then look at what actions would be likeliest to reduce those revenue streams.

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