Posts Tagged ‘Bangladesh’

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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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Top terror finance stories of 2013

December 30, 2013

From massacres on the streets of Syria to the streets of Boston, 2013 has offered far too many illustrations of how terror-borne bloodshed is financed:

  1. Sunni and Western powers risk funding Syrian rebels despite their Al Qaeda allegiance
    Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, the U.S., U.K., and France have provided money and supplies to the enemies of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad despite the risk of the materiel falling into the wrong hands.  Gulf-based support has gone directly toward Salafist fighters; Western aid has been targeted toward the supposedly moderate Free Syrian Army, but entire brigades of the FSA have pledged allegiance to al-Nusra Front—Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria—during 2013.  Reports this month of a “suspension” of U.S. aid have been somewhat exaggerated; as one official conceded, “the suspension of aid only applies to the opposition in northern Syria, adding that supply lines from Jordan in the south would continue.”  Foreign support has prolonged the conflict in Syria and increased the chances for Al Qaeda to take over the country.
  2. Boston marathon bombing made possible by Saudi money
    North Caucuses militants have been funded for decades by Saudi Arabia.  The Saudis and their wealthy expatriate terrorists like Ibn al-Khattab  and Osama Bin Laden and invested millions of dollars into the training and recruitment of fighters, the construction of radical mosques, and the creation of jihadist websites in Slavic languages.  Tamerlan Tsarnaev read and engaged with these websites and pursued support from these Saudi-sponsored sources when he traveled to Russia in 2012.  Tsarnaev and his brother Dzhokhar also learned from Inspire magazine by deceased terror imam Anwar al-Awlaki, who presided over Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.In effect, Saudi money created the breeding environment both online and on the ground in the North Caucuses in which the Tsarnaevs’ plot was hatched.

    Sadly, the media and public officials have been slow to recognize and expose the connections between the Saudis, the North Caucasus militants, and their followers living in North America.  Two Democrat-appointed federal judges inexplicably reversed the conviction this year of Pete Seda, a Muslim “peace activist” who sent money through a Saudi-based charity from Oregon to Chechen terrorists in the early 2000s.

  3. The U.S. became the world’s #1 energy producer in 2013.  This development reduces our dependence on Arab oil and the flow of petrodollars that fund terrorism.
  4. The compensation of victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism was ignored during negotiations in Geneva on Iran’s nuclear program.
  5. The Somali Islamic terrorist group al-Shabaab’s finances rebounded in 2013 despite their loss of control in 2012 of the key harbor in Kismayo to Kenyan, African Union, and allied forces.  The main ingredients in their financial resurgence included an expansion al-Shabaab’s lucrative charcoal smuggling operation, the resumption of payments from the Dahabshiil money service to al-Shabaab, and indirect support from the Gulf.  The funding has allowed operations such as killing sprees in Mogadishu and the September terrorist attack on Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya.  Nevertheless, a British court injunction has forced Barclays to continue partnering with Dahabshiil to facilitate remittances to Somalia.
  6. Read the rest of this entry ?
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Dhaka: Muslim charity leader guilty of war crimes

November 11, 2013

Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, a trustee of the charity Muslim Aid and a leader within the Muslim community in Britain, has been convicted of war crimes by Bangladesh for murders he committed there as an agent of Pakistani Islamists.

As of print, Muslim Aid has offered no comment on the conviction and sentencing of Mueen-Uddin.  Will they at least suspend him from the board, or is that too much to ask?

From Channel 4 on Nov. 3 (h/t Moinak):

British Muslim leader sentenced to death for war crimes

A prominent British-based Muslim leader has been sentenced to death in his absence at a special war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh.

A special war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh has sentenced to death two Bangladeshis living in Britain for crimes against humanity during the country’s independence war against Pakistan in 1971.

Chowdhury Mueen Uddin, who lives in Britain, and Ashrafuzzaman Khan, who lives in New York, have been found guilty by a three-judge panel of abducting and murdering 18 people, including nine university teachers, six journalists and three physicians.

The two were tried in absentia after they refused to return to Bangladesh to face trial.

East London link

Now resident in the UK, Chowdhury Mueen Uddin helped set up the Muslim Council of Britain and served as the director of Muslim Spiritual Care in the NHS.

He has also served as vice chairman of the East London Musque and London Muslim Centre.

The Home Office is unable to confirm if any extradition request had been made for Uddin.

A 1995 Channel 4 documentary, War Crimes Files, accused Uddin of being being involved in war crimes as a member of the paramilitary force Al-Badr during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.

Deputy Attorney General MK Rahman said “All of the allegations have been proved in the trial. The tribunal has sentenced to death both the accused on all counts”.

Bangladesh says Pakistani soldiers and collaborators killed 3 million people and raped 200,000 women during the 1971 war.

During the war the two men were members of Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamic party and ally of the country’s main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, headed by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, a rival of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina…

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Banker supports taxes for jihad

June 30, 2013

The former chairman of Islami Bank Bangladesh, Limited (IBBL), Shah Abdul Hannan, explained his support for collecting taxes beyond zakat for the purposes of waging jihad in an article posted online around 2003 (available here and here).  Hannan based this argument on the writings of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the notorious Muslim Brotherhood leader, Hamas charity front financier, and sharia finance proponent.

Referring to Qaradawi’s Fiqh al Zakah, Hannan wrote:

…Allah has made it obligatory to carry out Jihad (defence of Islam and Islamic territory and to put an end to oppression anywhere in this world) through employing one’s life and wealth. This is a duty beyond Zakat. To carry out a major Jihad in this age, if needed, there is no other way but to raise resources through taxes…

Hannan has also condemned peaceful Shahbag dissidents who are calling for justice against war criminals in Bangladesh.  Hannan calls the student demonstrators fascists.  Well, Mr. Hannan—it takes one to know one.

Money Jihad has been documenting the terrorist financing activities of IBBL, one of the biggest banks in Bangladesh and its largest sharia financial institution, ever since Bangladeshi authorities revealed in 2011 that Islami Bank has been diverting eight percent of its corporate zakat to jihadi militants.  A member of IBBL’s sharia advisory board was also detained and questioned for possible involvement in an attack against police.

IBBL fell under international scrutiny in 2012 after the U.S. Senate reported that HSBC continued to maintain a business relationship with IBBL despite evidence of its role in funding terrorism.

More recently, U.S. garment importers including Wal-mart and J.C. Penny have severed ties with IBBL due to the Islamic bank’s role in supporting militants.  Nonetheless, Western Union continues to do business with IBBL.

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Muslim Aid trustee charged with war crimes

May 5, 2013

Islamic charity leader indicted for killing 18 intellectuals

Money Jihad has been contacted by Muslim Aid on a couple occasions in the past (see here and here) to insist upon the innocence of their philanthropic endeavors and to disclaim their organization’s membership in the pro-Hamas network of charitable fronts known as the Union of Good.  Will Muslim Aid also claim to be unaware that at least one of their trustees is a war criminal?

From BBC (h/t to Jurist with a special nod to Mahadib who told Money Jihad that Mueen-Uddin could be indicted) on May 2:

UK community leader Mueen-Uddin indicted in Bangladesh

A British community leader has been indicted in Bangladesh for his alleged role in the killing of 18 people during the 1971 liberation war from Pakistan.

Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin strongly denies any role in the murder of 18 intellectuals in December of that year.

He is alleged to have been a member of the Al-Badr group, which identified and killed pro-independence activists.

He is accused with another alleged Al-Badr member, Ashrafuzzaman Khan, a United States citizen.

His lawyers have rejected all the allegations against him. They say that none of the accusations have ever been formally put to him and there has been no attempt to question him.

“The statements made by members of the government of Bangladesh are grossly defamatory to my client, wholly untrue and are refuted in their entirety,” his lawyer Toby Cadman told the BBC.

Mr Cadman’s website carries a detailed rebuttal of all the allegations against Mr Mueen-Uddin.

Holding dual British and Bangladesh citizenship, Mr Mueen-Uddin is a trustee of the UK charity Muslim Aid and played a prominent role in setting up the Muslim Council of Britain.

His website says that he is also the director of Muslim Spiritual Care Provision in the UK’s National Health Service.

State prosecutor Syed Haider Ali told the AFP news agency that he “has been indicted for crimes against humanity and genocide”. He said that Mr Mueen-Uddin fled Bangladesh soon after the end of the war.

Mr Khan, now believed to be living in the US, faces the same charges.

An arrest warrant was issued by the International Crimes Tribunal in Dhaka on Thursday for both men, who are accused of “directly taking part” in the killing of the 18 intellectuals between 10 December 10 and 15 December 1971.

Charges were initially put before the tribunal last month – on Thursday it accepted them and ordered their arrests.

Nobody knows exactly how many people were killed in the 1971 war. Bangladesh says up to three million people died, mostly in massacres by the Pakistan army and their local Islamist allies, the Razakar and Al-Badr forces…

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Money trail news: recommended reading

March 21, 2013
  • Of course, old chap, Bank Saderat has financed Iran’s nuclear program. But that doesn’t give you the right to impose economic sanctions, says an EU court… more>>
  • The web, smartcards, and cell phones were sold as glittering innovations that would empower the world’s poor. Now Bangladesh is desperately wading through massive rivers of fast-moving data in time to catch the next terrorist transaction… more>>
  • Nine men have been convicted of fundraising for the jihadist Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. An overdue update to this story from Paris… more>>
  • Iranian state-run newspaper claims it has proof that Saudi Arabia is funding Al Qaeda fighters of Syria’s al-Nusra Front.  Even a broken clock is right twice a day… more>>
  • A Muslim Brotherhood group is helping coordinate events in Tunisia thanks to some money from an unexpected source.  The British taxpayer… more>>
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Saudi-backed tycoon finances Jamaat-e-Islami

March 19, 2013
http://freemirquasemali.org/mir-quasem-ali-applies-for-legally-entitled-facilities-in-jail/

Mir Quasem Ali

Mir Quasem Ali serves as the de facto treasurer of Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI or simply “Jamaat”), the Islamist political party in Bangladesh with close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and militant causes.  He has served for nearly 40 years as Saudi Arabia’s money man in Bangladesh, being involved major Wahhabi-backed institutions since the 1970s.

Mir Quasem Ali (also often spelled Mir Kashem Ali) is in jail at the moment for war crimes he and his Al-Badr group committed during Bangladesh’s struggle for independence in 1971, but he is still sometimes touted as the party’s next leader.

According to one account, Mir Quasem Ali fled to Saudi Arabia after Bangladesh secured its independence, and returned after amnesty was offered in 1974.  He landed a job at the newly founded Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited, Bangladesh’s biggest sharia bank (which itself has close ties to Saudi Arabia’s Al Rajhi Bank), and he became IBBL’s director for many years according to an article by Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury:

…IBBL provides JEI an opportunity to launder money from abroad and also channel un-audited funds to various militant groups in the country and abroad. Islamic Bank Foundation (IBF), a JEI floated organization oversees all the projects of IBBL and profits generated by it and the interest / commission accrued on foreign donations goes to the IBBL account of IBF.

The IBF is headed by Mir Qasem Ali, JEI Executive Committee member and Country Director of the Saudi based Islamic NGO Rabeta-al-alam-al-Islami that funds a number of projects in Bangladesh. Mir Quasem Ali, the main brain behind JEI’s finances, is now in jail facing trial on war crimes charges. He remained Director of IBBL for a number of years since its inception in 1975…

Money Jihad readers will recall that Bangladeshi authorities say that IBBL has diverted 8 percent of its corporate zakat to terrorists.  The U.S. Senate also blasted HSBC last year for its banking relationships with IBBL.

In his role as country director for the Saudi-backed Muslim World League’s branch in Bangladesh—Rabeta-al-Alam-al-Islami Bangladesh—Mir Quasem Ali collected funds for local militants, Rohingya fighters from Burma, and Afghan mujahideen, which Money Jihad blogged about in 2011.

Mir Quasem Ali also sits on the board of the Saudi-funded Ibn Sina Trust, whose website describes his position with the trust and his previous positions with Rabeta-al-Alam-al-Islami and IBBL without referring to his current status in jail.

An article from the Policy Research Group in 2009 laid out additional details about Jamaat’s money laundering, terrorist financing, and business operations, and Mir Quasem Ali’s role in overseeing them: Read the rest of this entry ?

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Sharia banks that fund terrorism

January 7, 2013

The connections between ethical finance and violent extremism

The relationship is simple.  Jihadists know they can trust sharia-compliant banks to maintain their anonymity, not ask too many questions, and facilitate high-dollar transactions on behalf of their terrorist groups.  Some Islamic financial institutions, such as National Commercial Bank and Islami Bank Bangladesh, have taken the relationship a step farther by donating a portion of their bank profits in the form of zakat as an act of corporate “charity” to terrorist organizations, or in the case of Al Rajhi, through private zakat donations of leading bankers.  Saudi Arabia and Iran are key bases for these activities, but this is a global phenomenon.  Here’s Money Jihad’s short list of the worst offenders:

Al Rajhi Bank:  The Saudi financial institution has served as the sharia bank of choice for the world’s jihadists, including East Africa embassy bomber Mamduh Mahmud Salim, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, and organizations like Indonesian Kompak and Al-Haramain.  Bank co-founder Sulaiman Al-Rajhi appeared on the infamous Golden Chain document of Al Qaeda financiers.  These allegations were reinforced by the recent U.S. Senate investigation into HSBC’s correspondent relationships.

Al Shamal Islamic Bank:  Osama Bin Laden co-founded the Al Shamal in Sudan and invested $50 million there.  During the 1990s and early 2000s, Al Qaeda distributed money to its cells through Al Shamal.  Funds passed through Al Shamal were used in preparation for terrorist attacks.

National Commercial Bank:  Offering conventional and sharia banking services, Saudi Arabia’s self-described first, largest, and most prominent bank is NCB.  Among other misdeeds, a Saudi audit revealed that NCB transferred $74 million in the 1990s as zakat through its charitable front organizations to Al Qaeda (see here, here, and here).  Khalid bin Mahfouz, the head of the bank, exploited libel laws to sue author Rachel Ehrenfeld in an effort to silence accusations about his role in financing terrorism.

Arab Bank:  This conventional bank in Jordan maintains a wholly-owned subsidiary (Islamic International Arab Bank PLC) that offers full-range sharia services.  Arab Bank has transferred money on behalf of Comité de Bienfaisance et de Secours aux Palestiniens (CBSP), a notorious French charity, to a known financial subunit of Hamas.  The Jordanian bank has paid out insurance benefits to families of suicide bombers for the Saudi Committee—another charity that funds Hamas.  Arab Bank has handled transactions for the Holy Land Foundation, whose leaders now sit behind bars for financing terrorism.  It has been the subject of American investigations, but the bank has consistently refused to turn over related documents to the U.S.

Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited:  IBBL, Bangladesh’s biggest sharia bank, has handled Wahhabi accounts to propagate radical Islam since its inception.  In 2011, the Bangladeshi home ministry intelligence revealed that 8 percent of the bank’s profits were diverted as corporate zakat to support jihad in Bangladesh.  One of the men on IBBL’s board of sharia advisors was arrested in connection with a terrorist attack against Bangladeshi police officers.  The U.S. Senate slammed British bank giant HSBC for maintaining relationships with IBBL despite evidence that it served terrorists like Shaikh Abdur Rahman of Jamatul Mujahideen Bangladesh and terror-funding Islamic charities like IIRO.  The Senate’s report also implicated HSBC for disregarding evidence of terror financing at another Bangladeshi sharia bank with whom it worked:  Social Islami Bank.

Bank Melli:  The Iranian Islamic bank sent “at least $100 million to an Iranian Revolutionary Guard branch that supports Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups, the Quds Force” between 2002-06.

Bank Saderat:  Another major Iranian sharia finance house, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned the rocket-funding Bank Saderat, stating that “The bank is used by the Government of Iran to transfer money to terrorist organizations, including Hizballah, Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. A notable example of this is a Hizballah-controlled organization that has received $50 million directly from Iran through Bank Saderat since 2001.”

Other culprits include Dubai Islamic Bank, which is active in both the U.A.E. and Pakistan, and Tadamon Islamic Bank.

So much for “ethical finance.”  For further developments, please continue reading Money Jihad, Shariah Finance Watch, and @moneyjihad on Twitter.

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