Posts Tagged ‘Bangladesh’

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War criminal turned sharia banker sentenced to death by hanging

November 3, 2014

A former director of the largest sharia bank in Bangladesh has been sentenced to death for war crimes. Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal announced yesterday verdicts of Mir Quasem Ali’s guilt on eight counts of abduction, confinement, and torture; and one count of murder. Ali was found not guilty on four related counts. For the murder charge Ali was sentenced to death by hanging.

In addition to being a co-founder and a former director of the sharia financial house Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd. (IBBL), Ali has reportedly maintained over 100,000 shares worth over 40,000 USD in IBBL. Ali has worn several hats while financing Islamist militants in Bangladesh over the last several decades, including a stint as director of the Bangladeshi branch of the Saudi-sponsored Muslim World League “charitable” foundation that raises money for Islamist fighters. He has also played an instrumental role in financing the Jamaat-e-Islami political party. IBBL itself has been implicated in several terrorist finance schemes and is currently under audit by the government of Bangladesh.

The war crimes charges date back to November and December of 1971 when, as the president the Chittagong chapter of the Islami Chhatra Sangha (ICS), the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami militia, and as a member of the Al-Badr death squads, Ali directed torture sessions and at least one murder of pro-independence East Pakistanis (Bangladeshis) at Al-Badr’s rooms in the Dalim Hotel. Interrogations directed by Ali were designed to elicit the whereabouts of civilians and fighters who were sympathetic to the cause of independence.

Findings from the trial include:

  • When a thirsty detainee asked for water during his torture session, Mir Quasem Ali instructed his men to “give him urine to drink.” Referring to the treatment against another victim, Ali said to his men, “seeing him [Shafiul Alam Chowdhury] the detainees here will have some lesson.”
  • On another occasion at the hotel, Ali said of a tortured boy: “he is not dead yet, throw him in [the room] so that the captives understand the consequence of not telling the truth.”
  • Survivor Sanaulla Chowdhury testified that Ali was present during several torture sessions and personally interrogated Chowdhury. Defense lawyers did not dispute Chowdhury’s testimony.
  • Sayed Md. Sarwaruddin testified that Ali and his accomplices “grilled” him for information about freedom fighters and beat him up on explicit orders from Ali after Sarwaruddin refused to answer their questions. Sarwaruddin said he also heard Al-Badr members refer to Ali as “Commander” and “Khan Saheb” [leader/master].
  • Torture tactics included beating detainees with electric wires and hanging them upside down.
  • Iskandar Alam Chowdhury testified that Ali told him “that he would be killed if he did not make disclosure about the freedom fighters,” although defense lawyers argued that Chowdhury had changed his story from earlier testimony.
  • Another witness whose name was transliterated in court documents as “Md. Salauddin @ Chuttu Mia” said that “Mir Quasem Ali threatened to kill and dump him in the river Kornofuli.”
  • Several detainees at Dalim Hotel were shot and dumped into the murky waters of the Karnaphuli including Tuntu Sen and Ranjit Das. Facilitating the murder of teenage detainee Jasim Uddin was ultimately what earned Ali his death sentence.
  • Sunil Kantia Bardhan said that he and five others confined to a room were told they would all be killed if they refused to talk, but the war crimes tribunal did not find his narrative to be credible.
  • Nasiruddin Chowdhury described being abducted and brought to Dalim Hotel where he was beaten by Al-Badr members. When they failed to get information from him, Ali entered the room and asked them why they couldn’t extract information from him, and ordered them to beat him more. They began beating him “indiscriminately with stick, iron rod, electric wire.” Then Ali personally asked, “who are your co-freedom fighters? Where are their shelters and arms?” Still getting no answers, they beat him again till he bled.

Most of the evidence against Ali consisted of eye witness testimony of torture survivors, but in some cases evidence came from second-hand accounts from family members of the deceased, as well as several cases from passages of books written by the victims following Bangladesh’s independence. The evidence appears to be quite consistent in indicating that Ali was in a leadership position over the Al-Badr “muscle” men. The testimony of survivors often depicts Ali giving instructions to Al-Badr members and of impasses at Dalim Hotel being escalated to Ali’s attention.

Ali eventually left the torture rooms of the Dalim Hotel for the board rooms of sharia banking in Bangladesh with Saudi backing.  With 40 years having passed, Ali’s lawyers argued that too much time had elapsed since the alleged crimes for Ali to receive a fair trial.  They also claimed that Ali wasn’t in Chittagong for at least some part of the time period in question, that alleged war criminals received amnesty from prosecution under a 1973 agreement, and that Ali did not have a formal leadership position over the Al-Badr members at Dalim Hotel. The tribunal was not persuaded by those arguments and laid out a 351-page ruling explaining their judgments in detail.

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Sharia bank paying terrorists’ legal fees

November 2, 2014

Legal defense fees for accused terrorists and war criminals are being paid for by the biggest sharia-compliant bank in Bangladesh. According to Khabar South Asia, a news service managed by the U.S. Pacific Command, “corporate social responsibility” funds from Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd. (IBBL) are reportedly being used to pay the bills to suspects’ lawyers. (Hat tip to Cyber Group BD for sending in a link.)

Trials in Bangladesh have been underway for several years to seek justice for war crimes committed by Pakistan-backed Islamists against Bangladeshis in the 1970s. The Bangladesh home ministry has previously revealed that 8 percent of IBBL’s profits are diverted toward militant Islamists as a form of corporate zakat. IBBL officials include suspected war criminals, an attempted cop killer, and a jihad tax advocate, among other troublemakers. IBBL was recently caught distributing counterfeit currency to account holders.

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5-year anniversary of Money Jihad

October 12, 2014

Five years ago today, the first post of this blog was published.

Since then, Money Jihad has blown the lid off connections among Islamic charities including the Zakat Foundation and Muslim Hands, the close financial relationship between Islamic Relief USA and Islamic Relief Worldwide in Britain, and partnerships between Islamic Relief and the Turkish front charity IHH.

Money Jihad has also documented the relationships between sharia banks and terrorist financing—relationships which were previously only discernible through scattered evidence and rumors.

On top of that, this blog has exposed information that was known in Somalia and Bangladesh about terrorist financing in those countries that had never been reported before to Western readers. On several occasions, this blog has helped give voice to dissidents and expatriates from those and other nations who have shared their knowledge about financial mischief in their home countries with Money Jihad to reach a wider audience.

None of this would have been possible if it weren’t for some wonderful people and organizations. Special thanks to Shariah Finance Watch and Creeping Sharia blogs for putting Money Jihad on the map in the first place. Individual thanks go to the vice president at the Center for Security Policy Christopher Holton, human rights activist Puneet Madaan, and American Center for Democracy fellow Ilan Weinglass who have each done a great deal to expand the reach of this blog.

Without additional support and engagement by 1389 Blog, The Counter Jihad Report, EuropeNews, BlazingCatFur, and other counter-jihad blogs—all wonderful blogs in their own right—in addition to news sites Free Republic, American Thinker, FrontPage Mag, The Washington Free Beacon, The Washington Post, and International Business Times, this blog would never have reached the level of influence or readership that it currently enjoys.

Then there’s the vibrant community of readers, sources, jokers and curmudgeons on Twitter! This whole endeavor would be much quieter and boring without them. A special thanks goes out to all-star Twitter users Rushette, El Grillo, MeanKitteh, Sal, Michael, Jackie, Zac, Jack, and FRamabama for all the support and the wealth of information and insights they provide.

Twitter also allows Money Jihad to mutually follow and connect with noted leaders of the counter-jihad movement including author Tarek Fatah, Act for America organizer Brigitte Gabriel, former Navy officer Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, author Diana West, author Dr. Mark Walia, Gatestone Institute president Nina Rosenwald and terror analysts Patrick Poole and Ryan Mauro. TV stars Roseanne Barr and David Boreanaz have helped too (seriously); and prominent financial crimes experts including anti-money laundering reporter Colby Adams; finance and security analyst Tom Keatinge; anti-money laundering attorney Christine Duhaime; Wall Street Journal risk & compliance reporter Rachel Louise Ensign; terrorism and terror finance expert J.C. Brisard; author Jeffery Robinson; fellow financial crime bloggers Helen Gorman and Eric “Mr. Watchlist” Sohn; and a host of certified public accounts, trade and sanctions lawyers, certified fraud examiners, and certified anti-money laundering specialists.

Thanks also to Rachel Ehrenfeld, Robert Spencer, and Kenneth Rijock. The insights and expertise in their writings have helped shape the perspective of this blog.

Now, friends and readers, it’s time for a two-week break. Hasta luego!

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Sharia bank caught circulating counterfeits

October 5, 2014

Islami Bank Bangladesh, Ltd. (IBBL) has distributed counterfeit currency to a garment manufacturer that made a withdrawal to pay its employees’ wages, according to local police.

IBBL, the biggest sharia-compliant bank in Bangladesh, has previously been implicated by the government for diverting profits to terrorist groups as a form of corporate zakat, and is currently under a national investigation for its expenditures. The counterfeit scheme raises the possibility of wider fraudulent activities by IBBL that even previously suspected.

From the Dhaka Tribune on Sep. 14 (h/t Munazir):

Fake notes distributed by Islami Bank

The incident is brewing anger and distrust among that bank’s subscribers

Garments company Lumbini Ltd withdrew Tk50 crores to pay its employee-salary from Bandarban Islami Bank on Thursday September 11 in which thousands of bank notes were found to be fakes.

The company paid employee salary to its 24 sections, out of which the Finishing Section received 500k sixty three thousand where the most number of notes were found to be fakes.

On Saturday, after joining work, the employees complained about the fake bank notes which prompted the company to recover 1,000 fake notes from its 26 employees. Later, those 26 employees were repaid with genuine notes.

The latest news is that police is seizing all the paid salary. They believe, more fakes may be recovered once the seizing process is completed. Police has tightened security around the garments.

The incident is brewing anger and distrust among that bank’s subscribers.

Islami Bank Bandarban branch Manager Nurul Hossain Kauser has denied any allegation of distributing fake bank notes. Among Bandarban Hill Tracts’ 7 upazillas,  there is only one of Islami Bank branch at Bandarban town’s Masjid building.

Many other Islami Bank subscribers are coming out saying they also received fake notes from the bank before…

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Bangladesh probes terror-linked sharia bank

August 26, 2014

The government of Bangladesh is reviewing a report from Islami Bank Bangladesh, Ltd. (IBBL) on its expenditures. Authorities will review whether IBBL has accurately disclosed the organizations to which it contributes money, and perhaps whether the bank maintains any accounts for individuals listed on international blacklists.

IBBL has previously been documented to have diverted profits to militant Islamist groups as a form of corporate zakat. The bank was also cited by the U.S. Senate as one of the financial institutions with which the British bank HSBC should not have been doing business with due to terror finance concerns.

Thanks to readers Talha, Ranel, Ononto, and MFS for sending in the news. This account comes from Bangladesh 24:

Govt is investigating Islami Bank’s spending

The government is looking into where the Islami Bank spends its profit, State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has said.

“Islami Bank already gave a report on how its profits are spent. The intelligence people have been instructed to look into whether there are any discrepancies in it,” said the minister.

He was speaking to reporters after emerging from a meeting of the ministry’s Antiterrorism Committee on Thursday.

Kamal said the government was monitoring a few other financial institutions, operated by the bank, accused of terrorist-financing.

“The key to terrorism is funds. If that can be traced then wiping out terrorism will be easier,” said the minister.

Islami Bank has been under international pressure in the last few years after a US Senate Committee report accused it of terrorist financing.

Banks like HSBC, Citi Bank NA and Bank of America have suspended transaction with it since then.

According to Bangladesh Bank officials, the bank maintained accounts of people, who were on the UN’s suspicious people’s list.

Islami Bank authorities did not disclose information of those accounts to the central bank…

The bank, widely believed to be supported by the Jamaat-e-Islami, has come under fire from pro-liberation forces for their alleged funding of Islamist groups.

The party itself is facing investigation of the International Crimes Tribunal for the crimes against humanity committed during the War of Independence.

The Board of Directors of the bank is always dominated by people linked to Jamaat-e-Islami.

According to claims of Islami Oikya Jote leaders, the incumbent Chairman Abu Naser Mohammad Abduz Zaher was a leader of Al-Badr, a vigilante group of Bengalis raised by Pakistani occupation army, in Chittagong.

Islami Bank’s former Vice-Chairman Mir Quasem Ali is a member of Jamaat central committee and now facing trial for alleged war crimes perpetrated during the 1971 Liberation War.

He is also the member (administration) of Islami Bank Foundation and a member of Ibn Sina Board of Trustee, an associate organisation of the bank.

Islami Bank’s former Chairman Shah Abdul Hannan is known to be closely linked to the party, which had opposed the nation’s independence from Pakistan in 1971.

Its Deputy Managing Director Syed Abdullah Md Saleh is the sibling of former Jamaat MP from Chouddagram, Syed Abdullah M Taher.

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Sharia bank board joined at Jamaat’s hip

May 13, 2014

The extensive ties between the sharia bank Islami Bank Bangladesh, Limited (IBBL), and militant movements, extremist political parties, and terrorist financing, have come into sharper focus over the last few weeks. Consider:

  • The current chairman of IBBL’s board, Abu Nasser Muhammad Abduz Zaher, is alleged to have been a leader member of the Al-Badr militia, which committed war crimes in an attempt to prevent Bangladesh from gaining independence from Pakistan in the 1970s.
  • IBBL’s former director and vice chairman, Mir Quasem Ali, is in jail awaiting trial for war crimes.
  • Shah Abdul Hannan, variously described as a former chairman or director of IBBL, is also close to Jamaat-e-Islami, which opposed Bangladesh’s independence.
  • Former deputy director Syed Abdullah Md Saleh is the brother of a former Jamaat member of parliament.
  • IBBL sharia board member Abu Bakr Rafique was implicated in a terrorist attack against police officers.
  • Bangladesh’s home ministry revealed in 2011 that 8 percent of IBBL’s profits are diverted as zakat to terrorist groups.

Thanks to Munazir for sending in related news.

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Sharia banker’s former life as terrorist exposed by shocking allegation

May 1, 2014
Chairman Abu Nasser Muhammad Abduz Zaher

Chairman Abu Nasser Muhammad Abduz Zaher

The chairman of the board of the sharia-compliant financial institution Islami Bank Bangladesh, Limited (IBBL), Abu Nasser Muhammad Abduz Zaher, was a leading member of the Al-Badr militia during the war for Bangladesh’s independence according to an unconfirmed report by a former vice chancellor of Chittagong University writing for the Daily Sun last month.

Al-Badr assassinated and tortured supporters of independence from Pakistan, and some Al-Badr members have been convicted of war crimes. Money Jihad previously revealed that IBBL diverts 8 percent of its profits to terrorist groups as a form of corporate zakat, and that at least one other IBBL board member was named in connection with a terrorist attack against Bangladeshi police. IBBL’s relationship with international bank HSBC was also cited as an example in a U.S. Senate investigation of HSBC’s sloppy counter-terror and anti-money laundering program.

Abdul Mannan indicates that “Professor” Zaher the banker is the same person as Abdul Zaher Mohammed Abu Naser who was an Al-Badr leader. This is entirely plausible because many of the Al-Badr leaders, who were backed not only by Pakistan but by Saudi Arabia as well, were well protected and funded in the years that followed Bangladesh’s independence. The men formed a far-flung and loosely confederated group of charities, trusts, and political entities from Dhaka to London to New York. These men share the same goals of keeping Bangladesh under Pakistan’s sphere of influence and fanning the flames of radical Islam in both countries as a hedge against India. They use sharia banks and Islamic charities to funnel money toward jihadists today.

Thanks to Munazir Hussain Syed for sending in related news.

Jamaat-Shibir: The terror merchants

To begin with many of the readers would not know Abdul Zaher Mohammed Abu Naser, an Al-Badar high command member of 1971 and its District Chief in Chittagong. He was also a member of the central committee of the Islami Chhatra Sangha, the predecessor of the Islami Chhatra Shibir, currently ranked as the third deadliest and fiercest outfit in the world by the IHS Jane’s 2013 Global Terrorism and Insurgency Attack Index from HIS Inc, a leading London based global source of critical information insight. But perhaps the name of Prof. Abu Nasser Muhammad Abduz Zaher would ring the bell amongst few, especially those who are linked with the banking world. An online news correspondent awakes me from my regular afternoon siesta to ask me if these two persons are same. Strangely some of my friends and well-wishers rightly or wrongly think that I have all the clues to unknown facts of our national history. I try to oblige them as best as I can, but never feed them with wrong information. I tell my young friend to give me some time. I go back to my sources and inform him that the person who was an Al-Badar operative in Chittagong in 1971 later served as the personal assistant to the Saudi Ambassador in Bangladesh as well as the Embassy’s Librarian. The current Chairman of the Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL) also served in the same capacity for thirteen years, his name seems very similar and claims he passed his MA in English Literature from Rajshahi University. The Al-Badar operative of 1971 studied in Chittagong, and went into hiding like many of his kind to resurface after the killing of Bangabandhu in 1975. I ask my young friend: why has suddenly Prof. Abduz Zaher become so important? He informs me that he was standing in line with the Prime Minister when a group of bankers went to the PMO on February 25 to hand over cheques to the families of the BDR carnage of 2009. I tell him I have given you the information. Now it is the duty of the government agencies and the investigative journalists to dig out the past of Prof. Zaher. Once Quader Mollah was sentenced to death and executed, many of his followers were quick to point out that this Quader Mollah and the Quader Mollah, the butcher of Mirpur in 1971 is not the same person. On that evening I had the misfortune of taking part in a TV talk show with one of the learned advisors of Begum Zia. He was so upbeat in holding on to this theory that at one point I thought the elderly advisor may have a heart attack. I tried to cool him down but to no avail. I told him Mollah is dead and a dead man tells no tale. I tell my young journalist friend some people are hyper lucky. They can go up to the PMO and spend time with the Prime Minister and that is made possible by some of the short-sighted functionaries at PMO. I wish the PM knew who these functionaries were. Things do not stop here. Even some of our very important policymakers in the government and responsible ministers often try to downplay the public perception of Jamaat and its storm trooper Islami Chhatra Shibir and open protective umbrellas over their head and shield them from public disgrace. Good sense seldom prevails amongst these ‘important’ persons. Let us hope someone will take the responsibility to solve the riddle of Abdul Zaher Mohammed Abu Nasser and Prof. Abu Nasser Muhammad Abduz Zaher. With a good intention that should not be a problem. Given a chance sometimes our sleuths can do the impossible…

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