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.