Posts Tagged ‘Bangladesh’

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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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Farid Foundation defends ICNA donation

April 10, 2014

This also appears at Terror Finance Blog:

The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) is the progeny the Muslim Students Association and the Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami movement. ICNA was previously directed by Ashrafuzzaman Khan, who was convicted in absentia by Bangladesh last year for war crimes committed during that country’s war of independence in the 1970s.

Tariq Farid, founder and CEO of the fruit basket company Edible Arrangements, and trustee of the Farid Foundation, has donated money to ICNA. This revelation comes from the Farid Foundation’s own website and from Farid’s attorney, who wrote last week that, “…the Farid Foundation’s only contribution was to a special fund of the ICNA called ‘ICNA Relief USA’, an organization in New York City, which, among other things, helps women with temporary housing.” The lawyer’s statement was made in response to an article published at Blue MauMau, a website for franchisees.

The Blue MauMau article highlighted a lawsuit filed by former Edible Arrangements controller Tara Perino, who says that Farid maintained a hostile workplace and discriminated against non-South Asians and non-Muslims. The lawsuit also describes the Farid Foundation’s support to ICNA: “Farid and his brother, Kamran Farid (Edible Arrangements’ Chief Operating Officer), at all relevant times hereto have been the two trustees of a foundation called the Farid Foundation, operated out of the same location as Edible Arrangements. Farid Foundation makes significant contributions to Islamic causes and organizations, including the Farid Foundation Pakistan; the Salma K. Farid Academy; Islamic Circle of North America Relief; the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut; the Inner-City Muslim Action Network; the Wallingford Islamic Center; Masjid AI-Islam; and the Islamic Association of Southern Connecticut.”

The author of the Blue MauMau article, Corbin Williston, noted that, “The head of ICNA at the time the suit was filed was Ashrafuz Zaman Khan”—the same man convicted of war crimes—and that the argument that the ICNA donation was “only” to a special fund wouldn’t comfort the people whose loved ones were tortured and murdered by Khan.

Indeed, and ICNA Relief USA isn’t exactly a ‘special fund’ anyway. It is a tax-exempt entity operated by ICNA. The statement that ICNA Relief USA provides transitional housing to women may be true, but it is quite misleading in terms of the charity’s primary activities: according to their own last tax return, ICNA Relief USA spent just $580,000 on housing for women out of its total $5 million in annual expenses.

On the revenue side, ICNA Relief USA received a $30,000 grant in 2012 from Helping Hand for Relief and Development, a Michigan-based Islamic charity with links to a Pakistani front charity that funds Hamas.

Tariq Farid’s attorney is doing his best to defend his client against some very damaging claims. But an admission that the Farid Foundation donated money to ICNA Relief USA doesn’t do much to clear the air.

Blue MauMau should be commended for reporting on the lawsuit against Edible Arrangements, and for keeping the article on their website despite the demand from Farid’s attorney to retract the article.

Acknowledgment: Thanks to Paul for alerting me to these developments

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ISI and Jamaat-e-Islami behind 10 truckloads of smuggled arms

February 7, 2014

Verdicts have been reached in a 2004 case involving the discovery of 10 trucks full of Chinese-made guns and ammunition intended to help fighters of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) break away from India.

While Assamese separatists are mostly non-Muslim, they have been sustained financially and logistically by Islamist elements in Pakistan and Bangladesh including the ISI spy agency and the Jamaat-e-Islami party.  Fracturing India would give Pakistan a strategic advantage in the subcontinent.

Motiur Rahman Nizami, a Jamaat party member who served as Bangladesh’s industries minister during a coalition government in the early 2000s, is the senior-most official convicted in the case, whose involvement demonstrates Jamaat’s desire to foster separatism in northeast India.

As for the involvement of Pakistan’s involvement through its ISI spy service, The Daily Star reports that former Bangladeshi intelligence official Shahab Uddin, one of the conspirators in the smuggling operation, admitted that, “the ISI had provided mobile monitoring equipment” as a “gift,” and that Shahab met with ISI officials to discuss gun-running plans.

Previous reporting by the Times of India has shown that ULFA fighters were trained by the ISI as early as 1991.

Thanks to Munazir Hussain Syed for apprising Money Jihad of these revelations.

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Police: Jamaat funded by border drug smuggling

January 27, 2014

Jamaat-e-Islami operatives posing as mango and tomato exporters in eastern Bangladesh are actually smuggling drugs, hemp, prescription cough syrup (which is also drunk for intoxication), and people across the border with India, according to local police.

The Islamist Jamaat party and its student Shibir wing have been attacking the government and moderate elements in Bangladesh for years, and Jamaat is trying to put a stop to Bangladesh’s ongoing efforts to bring Islamist war criminals to justice for atrocities they committed in the 1970s.

Jamaat receives significant sponsorship from Pakistani and Saudi sources, Western and Gulf-based Muslim charities, and sharia finance institutions, but regional smuggling profits are needed as well to maintain Jamaat’s wide-scale operations.

An excerpt from a report by the Dhaka Tribune follows, with thanks to Shah Ali Farhad for sending this over:

…What was most surprising to this correspondent was that Jamaat Leader Modasser Ali and Secetary General of the upazila and Kibria Jamaat Unit Golam Azam operate a smuggling racket in the area, according to police and locals under anonymity. They smuggle Phensedyle, hemp and others Indian items into the country, they said.

Regarding the funding of Jamaat-Shibir, Abdur Razzak said members of the Islamist outfit mainly collect money from drug smuggling to run their political activities in the area.

However, upon inquiry Modasser said he used to operate a mobile cell phone shop at Shibganj Bazar and that he brought best quality items from India during that time.

“I have a trade license. The ruling party men vandalised my shop and since then it has remained closed,” he said.

Over the course of the conversation, Modasser repeatedly denied being involved in smuggling.

However, people in the area said Modasser providede funding for Jamaat-Shibir to operate their political activities.

In contrast, Modasser said he did not need to finance anybody.

“People love me and they follow my instruction,” he added.

Similar replies came from Jamaat Leader Azam,  who said they mainly cultivated mango and tomatoes, leaving no time to smuggle things into the country.

AKM Mizanur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Shibganj police station, said that smuggling was not a new trend in the area.

“We are working on it and a number of illegal shipments have already been recovered in the past couple of months.”

Rab-5 Lieutenant Colonel Anwar Latif Khan of Shibganj said members of the elite force are active in the area and that a large quantity of drugs had been seized in recent drives.

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Jamaat intertwined with sharia banks and Islamic charities

January 23, 2014

Analyst Chris Blackburn has written an undated piece documenting the abuses of Jamaat-e-Islami, the radical Islamic political party in Bangladesh, and its support networks.  The article caught our attention when it was reposted in December on a Google group forum by Bangladeshi progressive Suhas Barua.  The write-up is especially timely and relevant considering how Jamaat has attempted to use money from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to attack moderate and secular elements in Bangladesh and short-circuit the ongoing war crimes trials against arch-Islamist operatives.

Blackburn provides valuable insights into the role of the sharia finance house Islami Bank Bangladesh, Arab businessmen, and Gulf- and Western-based Islamic charities in the financing of South Asian terrorist organizations:

Jamaat-i-Islami has been involved in murder, terrorism, intimidation and bigotry from it’s direct participation in war crimes during the 1971 War of Liberation to it’s involvement in pursuing sectarian violence against the Ahmadi sect in Pakistan and Bangladesh . Recently the Jamaat has been threatening the lives of journalists in Bangladesh if they continue to report and uncover the Jamaat and Shibir’s ties to militancy . A democracy must be allowed to have a free press- all actions must be taken to ensure this type of intimidation does not persist during the forthcoming elections.

The Jamaat-Bangladesh has been repeatedly linked to terrorist organisations mainly due to the fact that the majority of leaders and terrorists belonging to Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Jagrata Muslim Janata (JMJB) have past histories of involvement with Jamaat and the Islami Chhatra Shibir .

The Islami Bank Bangladesh (IBBL) is also linked to militancy and is controlled by the Jamaat – banks which act as foreign sponsors of IBBL have previously been used or have been accused of funnelling money to al-Qaeda linked militants and supporting radical Islamism in other countries. Yassin Qadi, a US and UN designated financier of terrorism’s family are also close to the bank . Qadi is a Saudi businessman and is the son-in-law of Sheikh Ahmed Salah Jamjoom, a foreign sponsor of IBBL . Jamjoom was a former finance minister in the Saudi government. It is not known if Qadi has direct ties to the bank. The Kuwaiti based Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS) also had accounts at the bank they are suspected of financing terrorism in Bangladesh and elsewhere- it is believed that the organisation helped finance the 17th August serial bombings in 2005 .

The links between the IBBL and the International Islamic University (Chittagong) – show how the Jamaat-Ikwhan is growing in influence in education- mainly in Dawa and Islamic financial sectors. The Jamaat- Shibir Bangladesh has also acted as a funding conduit for the ISI and the Jamaat-Pakistan . In 2000 Indian intelligence agencies intercepted a letter from Jamaat leaders which acknowledges that monies had been transferred through Jamaat-Bangladesh to the Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA) from Jamaat-Pakistan . It must be noted that the US State Department and the US Department of Justice are concerned that the Bangladeshi Government is not investigating 45 major money laundering cases related to International terrorism; they believe it is due to political reasons- the US sent a team of officials from the Department of Justice to Dhaka to directly talk to their opposite numbers, this meeting was meant to be secret but was leaked to the press because of the frustration at the lack of progress .

MULTA is a terrorist organisation which is working towards turning Assam, a region in North India, into an Islamic enclave which will be run by Shariah law. The group has been involved in bombings and assassinations of civic leaders in Assam. MULTA works closely with Harkat-ul-Jihadi-Islami (HUJI-B) and is funded by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) . HUJI-B has been added to the US and UN list of terrorist organisations. MULTA also works closely with other terrorist organisations such as the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) which are all allied to Osama Bin Laden’s International Islamic Front (IIF).

The network wants to create a Brihot Bangladesh or ‘greater Bangladesh’ by merging Muslim communities from North India into Bangladesh. Islami Chhatra Shibir (ISC), Jamaat’s student wing are also believed to have been involved with this militant network and are working in tandem with the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) to support the network. In 2002 Salim Sajid, SIMI’s financial secretary was interrogated and confessed how ISC were closely working with the SIMI to plan and attack Indian interests . The groups have been meeting in West Bengal under the banner of the ‘Islamic Action Force’.

SIMI was the student front of the Indian branch of the Jamaat-i-Islami and follows the thoughts and teachings of Mawdudi . It has a history of supporting the Taliban and al-Qaeda . Its cadre are believed to have been directly and indirectly involved in recent bomb attacks in India- they are believed to have helped terrorist cells in Varanasi, New Delhi, Mumbai and Adohya; these attacks have been major escalations for the SIMI as they have caused extremely high fatalities and casualty rates. SIMI is also working with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) which are based in Pakistan . These are also members of the International Islamic Front.

In 2003 Indian Muslims working in Middle Eastern countries were contacted and recruited by known SIMI operatives to go and fight Coalition forces in Iraq – which is another escalation of the group’s international activities. The worrying point is that the ICS and Jamaat are working closely with SIMI and are well aware of its current strategy to attack India.

Jamaat’s support network in the UK and US

Jamaat-Pakistan and Jamaat-Bangladesh also receives backing from the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and Muslim Aid branches who act as fundraisers, missionaries and PR managers for the Jamaat-i-Islami movement in the West . The charities have been linked to terrorism and have also been linked to Mueen Uddin Chowdhury and Asrafuzzaman Khan , two expatriate Bangladeshi’s with Jamaat backgrounds who are suspected of being directly involved in war crimes. The two charities send money collected in the UK, US, Germany and Austrialia to the Al-Khidmat Foundation/Society and Muslim Aid’s Bangladeshi branch . They are both de facto arms of the Jamaat. Al-Khidmat aids militancy and helps to support the Hizbul Mujahideen, Jamaat’s armed wing and other groups . Hizbul Mujahideen is designated by the US and UK as a terrorist organisation .

In 2004 Russian security agents from the Federal Security Bureau (FSB) assassinated Zelimkhan Yanderbiyev, the former vice president of Chechnya in a car bomb attack in Doha, Qatar . They believe he was meeting with wealthy Middle Eastern figures to collect funds for Jihad. Yanderbiyev was a recipient of Jamaati funds to wage war on Russia . Jamaat-i-Islami is listed by Russia’s Supreme Court as a leading financier and supporter of terrorism. After the 9/11 attacks the Russian FSB passed information to the US stating they believed that Jamaat would be involved in the attacks on the WTC and Pentagon, these assertions proved correct when Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks was arrested in the home of Jamaat leaders .

Al-Khidmat has recently helped to repatriate 2500 Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists that have been released as part of an amnesty by the Pakistani authorities . There have been reports that Taliban fighter are being treated at Al-Khimat’s medical centres in Pakistan. Al-Khidmat has also recently donated huge sums to Hamas to carry on with its Jihad against Israel . Al-Khidmat, ICNA and Muslim Aid’s branches should be added to UN and US sanctions for their direct financial support for terrorism.

Al-Khidmat has also recently given money to Sheikh Faisal Malawi of the Jemaah Islamiya (Lebanon) to aid his Al-Fajr militants to help Hezbollah attack Israel in Lebanon . Malawi is the former deputy chairman of the European Council for Fatwa and Research alongside Sheikh Yusef al-Qaradawi…

Also notice that Yasin al-Qadi is mentioned in the piece.  Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey is currently under fire for his close relationship with al-Qadi, and his possible relevance to the unfolding corruption scandal in that country.

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