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World’s biggest Islamic charity branded as terrorist group by 2nd Middle East country

November 17, 2014

Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) has been designated as a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates, the second Middle Eastern country to do so within the past five months. In June, IRW was declared illegal by Israel for being a financial conduit to Hamas, and it was banned from operating in Israel and the West Bank.

The Birmingham, England-based IRW is the largest international Islamic charity in the world with a £155 million (240 million USD) budget in 2013.  IRW has over 280 employees and is active in more than 30 countries.  IRW maintains over a dozen affiliates throughout the world, each with multi-million dollar operating budgets of their own including Islamic Relief USA, which is the largest Islamic charity in America.

IRW accepted a $50,000 check from Osama Bin Laden in 1999, had a Gaza program coordinator who aided Hamas from 2005-06, received over £60K from an Al Qaeda front group from 2003-08, has leaders who are closely aligned with the global Muslim Brotherhood, and had programs staffed by Hamas personnel in the Palestinian territories as recently as this year.  Supporters of IRW have noted that the UK’s charitable regulator has not confirmed the evidence against IRW; however, a 2013 audit found that the Charity Commission is understaffed, too passive in its investigations, and is generally unfit for its regulatory duties.

UAE calls 15 Muslim groups in the West “terrorists”

In addition to the IRW designation, the UAE named 15 other Islamic charities and advocacy groups in the U.S. and Europe as terrorist entities:

  • Islamic Relief UK (the British affiliate of IRW)
  • Muslim Association of Britain (part of the U.K. Muslim Brotherhood)
  • Cordoba Foundation in Britain (once described by David Cameron as a Muslim Brotherhood front group)
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations (the self-described civil rights group which was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas-financing trial)
  • Muslim American Society (which was created by the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood)
  • Union of Islamic Organizations of France (a French Muslim group tied to the Muslim Brotherhood that profits from halal certification)
  • Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (an alliance financed by Gulf sources with ties to Hamas)
  • Islamische Gemeinschaft in Deutschland (the “main representative” of the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany)
  • Associazione Musulmani Italiani (Italian Muslim Association)
  • League of Muslims in Belgium (La Ligue des Musulmans de Belgique)
  • Muslim Association of Sweden (Sveriges muslimska förbund)
  • Islamic Society in Denmark (Islamsk Trossamfund)
  • Islamic Council Norway (Islamsk Rad Norge)
  • Finnish Islamic Association (Suomen Islam-seurakunta)
  • CANVAS in Belgrade, Serbia

The UAE designated over 80 groups overall, most of which are located in the Middle East.  The practical effect of the designations are limited, designed for “transparency” and to “raise awareness.”  In other words, the designations include not asset freezes, travel bans, or prohibitions on transacting business with the designated groups.

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Somalia interdicts shipload of bombs and guns

November 16, 2014

First time for everything. Thanks to a UN resolution authorizing searches and seizures of ships by Somali security forces, one fewer Gulf-backed arms shipment is making its way into the arsenals of al-Shabaab. The resolution will also make it somewhat harder for al-Shabaab to profit from the illegal export of charcoal from Somalia into the ports of the Arabian peninsula.  From Sabahi Online (hat tip to Chris for sending this in):

Tightened security off Somalia’s coast aims to bankrupt al-Shabaab

The recent seizure of an illegal arms shipment off the Somali coast signals the government’s increasing ability to manage maritime security, analysts say, but it also highlights the need for more effective ways to degrade al-Shabaab’s access to weapons and money.

Somali security forces seized a shipping container filled with weapons and explosives October 28th, just days after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution authorising the inspection and seizure of vessels in Somali waters suspected of carrying prohibited items.

Under the resolution, states and regional partners can search ships in Somalia’s territorial waters and on the high seas when there are “reasonable grounds” to suspect they are transporting illegal arms or charcoal, a key source of funding for al-Shabaab militants.

Despite an international ban on charcoal exports, the illegal trade has increased, with al-Shabaab holding on to approximately one-third of the $250 million annual trade, according to a report by the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea released in June.

“Charcoal is giving Al-Shabaab a lifeline,” said British Ambassador to the United Nations Mark Lyall Grant after the resolution passed October 24th.

Grant said Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud had written to the Security Council October 8th, requesting assistance. “Today we have responded to that call for help,” he said in a press statement, stressing that the fight against al-Shabaab was at the heart of the resolution.
Resolution provides welcomed support to Somali security agencies

Somalia’s security apparatus is not yet capable of monitoring and controlling all maritime traffic to the ports under its control and could use the help from its international partners, said retired Colonel Sharif Hussein Robow, a former intelligence officer during the Mohamed Siad Barre regime.

Robow praised the government for seizing the container of contraband weapons and explosives at Mogadishu Port last month, but said there are many more shipments carrying prohibited items that fall through the cracks.

“The entry of these types of weapons and everything else that is illegal in a country depends on the government’s capacity [to stop it],” he said.

Currently, security at Somalia’s ports is weak because personnel are not properly trained and officers lack motivation because they are not paid regularly and lack strong supervision, Robow said.

Nonetheless, the UN resolution will help Somalia’s international partners stop the flow of illegal weapons into Somali ports, he said. It can also help stop the export of charcoal, a key source of revenue for al-Shabaab.

“One of the ways [al-Shabaab] gets money includes collecting taxes from traders who bring charcoal from the forest,” he said. “The second way is they could actually own the charcoal that is being exported, and third, they extort money from the big businesses in the charcoal trade.”

Daud Abdi Daud, secretary general of Somali Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture, a non-profit organisation that aims to expand and improve media coverage of key issues from climate change to civil insecurity, said he welcomed inspections carried out by international partners off the coast of Somalia.

“Taking such a step to stop Somali charcoal exports is a good thing because this issue poses a big problem for both the Somali people and the environment,” Daud told Sabahi. “Cutting [trees for] charcoal has resulted in desertification in Somalia and the migration of wildlife out of Somalia because the trees they would have sheltered under are being cut.”

“Cutting trees is also a big part of the widespread drought and famine in Somalia because deforestation leads to a lack of rainfall, which ultimately results in droughts,” he said.

“When the government took control of Barawe, it was a crippling loss for al-Shabaab’s finances because the millions of dollars al-Shabaab earned from charcoal exports came from charcoal that was exported from the Barawe port,” Daud said.

However in its October report, the UN Monitoring Group said more than one million bags of charcoal are still being shipped out of Kismayo Port each month, even though the Somali government resumed control of Kismayo in 2012…

And Kismayo is just one of several ports being used for illegal charcoal shipping.

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Secret details spilled on ISIS’s funding

November 14, 2014

How jihad group uses WhatsApp, oil hoses, and looted antiquities to stay solvent

ISIS using mobile apps to stay in touch with financiers
There was a time when terrorists preferred moving their money through the traditional Islamic debt transfer system of hawala, through the conventional wire services like Western Union and MoneyGram, or through a combination of both. But fears of detection led ISIS to send personal couriers and fundraisers to Europe, while staying in touch with them through text messaging and WhatsApp, as an ongoing trial against a Syrian-Lebanese man in Germany illustrates (h/t El Grillo)… more>>

Antiquity smuggling isn’t random looters, it’s an organized ISIS racket
ISIS has made over $35 million from selling historical artifacts, and now controls 4,500 archaeological sites (h/t Rushette). They justify their bulldozing and looting on the basis of khums, the traditional Islamic tax on discovered wealth (h/t Sal)… more>> and more>>

ISIS and al-Nusra smuggle oil right under the noses of Turkish gendarmes
Turkish border guards look the other way as vans filled with oil drums and tubes are laid in trenches to transfer black market oil from Syria and Iraq. A new report takes a look at the nuts and bolts of the illicit trade along with photos of how it’s done (h/t El Grillo)… more>>

Businessmen flee Mosul as ISIS breaks no-new-taxes promise
Manufacturers and small business owners in Mosul, Tikrit, and Fallujah abandon their factories to avoid making “royalty” payments to ISIS after they reneged on an earlier pledge not to tax them (h/t El Grillo)… more>>

ISIS’s coffers have been wildly overestimated, says Germany
Even using all of these revenue techniques, there’s a genuine possibility that ISIS may have bigger financial problems than previously reported. German intelligence reveals that ISIS is only to raise between 3 to 10 percent as much money from oil sales as previously reported, and that its production abilities are dwindling rapidly as oil production sites are bombed and oil technicians flee their posts (h/t El Grillo)… more>>

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Jihad money news: recommended reading

November 13, 2014
  • Al Qaeda tells followers to wage economic war against the West… more>>
  • U.S. food and medicine aid to Syrians is being taxed, skimmed, and stolen by ISISmore>>
  • Canada has more home-grown terrorists than the U.S. or Australia, and private donors are sending money from Canada through conduit countries to ISIS… more>>
  • ISIS offered $25K to a Turkish teen for contract bombing of a major Vienna train station… more>>
  • ISIS’s budget constraints and increasing expectations of their subject populations will seal their doom… more>>
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Mounties met with Muslim Brotherhood sponsors after parliament slaying

November 11, 2014

After the jihadist murder of Corporal Nathan Cirillo, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Ottowa police force met with several Islamic groups in order to reach out to them and reassure them. The website Point de Bascule points out that several of the groups that police met with have previously funded IRFAN, Human Concern International, or Islamic Relief Canada, all of which have been implicated in terrorist financing schemes. Here’s an accounting of how much money the groups that Canadian police met with gave to those front groups:

Sponsoring Terror

Thanks to Gisele for sending in the PdB report and the Sun TV graphic on the money trails between the Canadian Islamic groups and suspected terrorist affiliates.

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FSA hammered by Qatar-funded al-Nusra Front

November 10, 2014

The Free Syrian Army, Washington’s best hope for a Syrian alternative to Bashar al-Assad and Al Qaeda, suffered a major defeat last week at the hands of Jabhat al-Nusra—Al Qaeda’s formal affiliate in Syria.  The FSA was recently forced to leave their Western-provided arms behind them as they retreated from advancing Nusra forces.

In case you’ve forgotten who funds al-Nusra, it’s Qatar. And their foreign minister’s cousin.  It’s not just private donors working outside the Qatari ruling class—the money and support for al-Nusra comes from within their very own ranks.  From The Telegraph (h/t Sal):

Minister’s family ties to terror

Cousin of Qatari foreign minister was arrested for terrorist funding but freed after intense lobbying

The cousin of Qatar’s foreign minister has been convicted of funding international terrorism and is believed to be linked to an alleged terrorist known as the “Wolf of al-Qaeda”.

Abdulaziz bin Khalifa al-Attiyah was found guilty in absentia by a Lebanese court of channelling financial support to al-Qaeda.

He was detained in Lebanon – apparently following a tip-off by British and American intelligence – but was allowed to leave the country before his trial after intense pressure by Qatar on the Lebanese government.

On social media, al-Attiyah appears to have energetically supported Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda’s Syria franchise, the al-Nusra Front.

He also appears to have tweeted support for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil.)

The al-Nusra Front last year instructed donors to channel money to it through an organisation closely linked to al-Attiyah.

Al-Attiyah is also associated with Umar al-Qatari, known as the “Wolf of al-Qaeda”. Al-Qatari was named last month by the United States government as a designated terrorist.

In a brief statement, lawyers for al-Attiyah insisted that he had not funded terrorism.

However, they repeatedly refused to deny that he had been arrested and convicted for doing so in Lebanon or that he had written pro-terrorist messages on social media.

The lawyers declined to respond to any further questions about him, despite repeated requests over several days.

Al-Attiyah’s conviction, in June, brings the funding of terrorism closer to the heart of the Qatari government and will increase the growing pressure on the country to end its role as a centre for the funding of global jihad…

Still think that Qatar is a good intermediary for prisoner swap deals in Afghanistan, or for peace negotiations between Israel and its neighbors?  Now we see clearly that Qatar holds the bloody dagger that stabbed Pres. Obama, the State Department, and the CIA in the back in Syria. Will Qatar’s victims learn for this treachery or sit down at the bargaining table to be betrayed one more time?

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Leadership shuffle at U.S. Islamic charities

November 9, 2014

In May of 2013, the financial rating of Islamic Relief USA, the nation’s largest Islamic charity, was downgraded from four stars to two stars by the nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator. By October of 2013, it was announced that IR-USA’s chief executive officer, Abed Ayoub, was leaving IR-USA to take over a northern Virginia charity now known as United Muslim Relief (UMR), that had dropped its old name, “Muslims Without Borders” one day earlier.

While he was CEO of IR-USA, Ayoub presided over a period of falsely inflated growth for the well-known Islamic charity. By grossly misstating the value of deworming drugs, IR-USA gave the appearance of having over received over $160 million in donations in 2010. When it used corrected valuation techniques in 2011, IR-USA reported contributions of only $60 million. The fraudulent bookkeeping of 2001-2010 enabled IR-USA to attract larger institutional donors than it otherwise would have, along with political endorsements from top Democrats and partnerships with federal agencies. Smaller Islamic charities were some of the victims of this fraud, because federal officials have often encouraged Muslim donors to give their zakat to larger, more “trustworthy,” charities like IR-USA. During Ayoub’s final year as CEO, IR-USA donated over $100,000 to nonprofits and mosques connected with terrorism.

Ayoub was replaced by Anwar Khan as IR-USA’s new chief executive officer in June of this year shortly before Israel banned Islamic Relief Worldwide (an IR-USA partner) from operating in Israel due to its financial connections to Hamas.

As for UMR, in its last publicly available tax return for 2012, the charity reported that it received $700,000 in medicine donations, but it is unclear what method was used to calculate that value. UMR did not have its financial statements independently audited in 2012. UMR’s main charitable activities for 2012 took place in Syria. The director of UMR at the time was Shafi Khan, who is still active with UMR both as a vice president and governing board member.

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