Posts Tagged ‘Sharia finance’

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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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The money jihad: recommended reading

February 13, 2014
  • A senior Al Qaeda facilitator/financier in Iran is “more active than ever”… more>>
  • Sharia-compliant finance was concocted by the Muslim Brotherhood to undermine the Western financial system and establish the banking backbone of a neo-Caliphate, says the American Center for Democracy… more>>
  • Al Qaeda affiliates have more money than Al Qaeda Central. Time to rethink who’s calling the shots… more>>
  • Sen. Warner says that he knows from the intelligence community that what happened to Target shoppers in its credit card breach “happens daily to financial institutions”… more>>
  • Banks and businessmen should keep an eye on Turkey because it’s still helping Iran evade sanctionsmore>>
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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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Bin Laden’s old bank signs £100m London deal

December 3, 2013

Osama Bin Laden used to send money to his operatives through Tadamon Islamic Bank, a sharia-compliant financial institution based in Yemen.  Hassan al-Turabi, the man largely responsible for the imposition of sharia law in the Sudan, also had free access to Tadamon in the 1990s.

Tadamon, now calling itself Tadhamon International Islamic Bank, maintains a “wholly owned subsidiary” investment bank called Tadhamon Capital in Bahrain.  Tadhamon Capital has just reached a £100 million (163 million USD) agreement to build a mixed-use student housing and commercial development on Paul Street in London.

From ArabianBusiness.com:

Bahrain investment firm inks $163m London deal

By Andy Sambidge

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Bahrain-based Sharia compliant investment firm Tadhamon Capital has announced the acquisition of its second Central London development in a deal worth more than £100m ($163m).

It said the Paul Street development was concluded in a joint venture with Apache Capital and McLaren Property following the full letting of its first prime London student development, Paris Gardens.

The Paul Street development will be comprised of three blocks, two of which will contain 456 student accommodation units with a 1,550 sq ft ground floor retail space, with the third block consisting of a stand-alone office building.

Tadhamon said in a statement that construction work is expected to commence in during the first quarter of 2014 with completion targeted by the end of Q3 2015.

It said the investment is expected to generate a minimum average annual net cash yield of 7.3 percent.

Paul Street is located on the northern fringe of the City, within proximity of the fashionable areas of Hoxton and Old Street.

Waleed Abdulla Rashdan, CEO of Tadhamon Capital, said: “Over the past four years we have taken a strategic decision to expand our investments within the UK and have since focused on building our social infrastructure platform.

“To date, we have successfully closed 10 transactions at a total value of £240m… We will continue exploring further opportunities within these sectors as part of our platform as they have proven their resilience to market changes, and continued their marked growth.”

He added “Over the past years we have established a solid real estate investment platform which will be used to replicate our success and experience within the UK to invest over the next 18 months in selected cities within the EU, US and Turkey.”

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Kuwaiti tycoon runs Hamas’s newest sharia bank

November 21, 2013

In May, Kuwaiti businessman Dr. Riyadh Al-Khulaifi launched Al-Intaj bank, an Islamic financial institution that has no license to operate from the Palestinian Monetary Authority.  Hamas and Al-Khualifi conceived of the bank to help keep Hamas afloat, to help evade international sanctions, and to increase sharia-compliant services in Gaza.

Hamas is probably concerned that Islamic National Bank, the other unlicensed sharia bank upon which the terrorist group relies, could be disrupted again by Israel, prompting the creation of Al-Intaj.

Al-Khulaifi is a member the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, a Muslim Brotherhood affiliated group that supports “armed resistance.”  His leadership over the Gaza bank could indicate an acceleration in Kuwait’s foot race with Saudi Arabia and Qatar to see who can buy the most Islamist loyalty abroad.

From IslamicFinance.de earlier this year:

A new bank is set to be inaugurated in the Gaza Strip next week, although it has not yet received the necessary license from the Ramallah-based Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA). The Al-Intaj bank has a capital of $20m and a board of directors chaired by Kuwaiti businessman and member of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, Dr Riyadh Al-Khulaifi. The bank… will be headquartered in Gaza City and have branches in other parts of Gaza Strip in the coming years. 50% of its capital will be channelled to production-oriented activities, while 40% will be allocated to the traditional transactions. The remaining 10% will be set aside to the ‘murabahat’ (Shari’ah-compliant transactions), the lender’s deputy board chairman Rushdi Wadi said.

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Two unlicensed sharia banks sustain Hamas

November 7, 2013

Islamic National Bank and Al-Intaj have no approval from the Palestinian Monetary Authority to operate.  These Islamic banks are dangerously under-capitalized and they circumvent international sanctions against Hamas.  Even the rabidly anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada is admitting this situation:

Unlicensed banks provide “safety net” to besieged Gaza

Hana Salah
29 October 2013

Gaza Strip—Two Islamic banks have played a critical role in helping Gaza cope with the siege imposed by Israel and enforced by the Egyptian government.

The Islamic National Bank and Al-Intaj have managed to stay in business despite attacks on them and threats to their operations; Israel bombed the Islamic National Bank in November last year. Meanwhile, the public sector which both banks sustain has been hampered by the closure of tunnels linking Gaza to Egypt.

Both banks operate without the approval of the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA), which was established under the 1993 Oslo accords to oversee the financial system in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Instead, they have been given permits to operate by the Hamas-led administration in Gaza.

Due to their lack of PMA approval, these banks can only work in the Gaza Strip, without connections with Israeli or international banks.

“Safety net”

Mohsen Abu Ramadan, an economic analyst, said that the two banks have provided “a monetary safety net for the Hamas government, and replaced the licensed banks, which refused to deal with Hamas.”

The nexus between these banks and Hamas underscores once again the natural relationship that exists between Islamic banks and the financing of terrorist groups.

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Financial mischief: recommended reading

September 26, 2013
  • “We should bleed America economically,” says Zawahiri…  more>>
  • It was a lot of fun laundering $1.4 million for terrorist guerrillas, until he got caughtmore>>
  • The Muslim Brotherhood created international sharia-compliant finance, and still controls it… under Saudi supervision.  More>>
  • If Muhammad Atta II waltzed into SunTrust today, would he qualify for a bank account?  More>>
  • Uzi Shaya could prove to be a crucial witness in the terror finance trial against the Bank of China—if Israel lets him testify… more>>
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Prominent members of radical mosque indicted for money laundering

August 20, 2013

Amer Ahmad, the former deputy treasurer and CFO of the state of Ohio and former city comptroller for mayor Rahm Emanuel in Chicago, Illinois, and his longtime friend Mohammed Noure Alo have been indicted for money laundering.  They were members the radical Noor Islamic Cultural Center in Columbus, Ohio.

A tip of the hat to anti-money laundering lawyer Christine Duhaime for tweeting this out from Columbus’s Channel 10:

Former Ohio Deputy Treasurer, Columbus Lawyer Indicted In Alleged Money Laundering Scheme

Thursday August 15

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The former Ohio deputy treasurer and a lawyer from Columbus are accused of engaging in bribery and money laundering scheme involving the Ohio Treasurer’s Office.

Amer Ahmad, 38, of Chicago, and Mohammed Noure Alo, 35, of Columbus, were indicted Thursday on charges of conspiracy and honest services wire fraud. Two others also were indicted.

Ahmad also is charged with money laundering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, federal program bribery and making false statements…

Ahmad and Alo have a documented history of improprieties.  In 2009, former Ohio treasurer Kevin Boyce “hired [Mohammed Noure] Alo’s wife in late December to fill a sudden opening in his office. Ahmad said the job, which pays $37,500 a year, was not posted. He announced the opening at his mosque and [his friend] Alo’s wife, [Walaa] Waeda, responded. She was the only job candidate interviewed, Ahmad said.”

The Dayton Daily News reported that Ahmad did not disclose this hiring of Waeda when a state contract was awarded to one of Alo’s clients, State Street Bank.  Recently, State Street was also selected to manage a major Saudi sharia-compliant investment fund in Ireland.

After serving as deputy treasurer of Ohio, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel hired Ahmad to become the comptroller of Chicago, despite the fact that “When Emanuel brought Ahmad to City Hall in late April 2011, newspapers in Ohio already had raised questions about the links between Ahmad and Alo after a Boston-based bank won business from the Ohio treasurer’s office after hiring Alo as its lobbyist.”

Current Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel was previously excoriated by the liberal media for accurately pointing out the improper dealings of Boyce, Ahmad, and Alo during his campaign to unseat Boyce.  So far, the media has yet to acknowledge that Mandel was right all along.

In addition to attending the radical Noor mosque, Amer Ahmad was a speaker in 2010 at the Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals (CAMP), a group with several ties to the Muslim Brotherhood in North America.

Ahmad and his wife created a community service organization called “SalamCorps” for which no registration or tax records could be found by Money Jihad.  Noure Alo and Walaa Waeda participated in a SalamCorps event.

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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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Word of the week: soft loan

April 17, 2013

Among the hundreds of requests for zakat or other financial assistance that Money Jihad has received from overseas spammers, a couple have involved requests for a “soft loan.”

In June 2011 through our “Contact us” page, Wisnu Wibowo wrote, “Asalamualaikum… I hope someone can help with soft loan” purportedly to keep him out of jail for a $2,000 debt.  Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, it would seem.

In January of this year, somebody named Krisna Busana Karya also contacted Money Jihad demanding “grants or soft loan” with a five year term to help with an oyster cultivation business with an eye toward a growing market in Jakarta.  Tempting offer, Krisna, but no thanks.

What is a “soft loan”?

A soft loan is defined as “A loan made on terms lower than or more favourable to the borrower than regular commercial terms”.*

Soft loans are repaid with interest, but it may be at a smaller interest rate or payable over a longer term than conventional loans.  Since interest is involved, soft loans are not sharia-compliant.

Nevertheless, extending a soft loan to a borrower who cannot meet conventional terms suggests that the lender is taking on risk in excess of what the capital markets normally bear.  Therefore, soft loans are somewhat similar to sharia finance in that both deviate from fair market interest rates.  Soft loans, like sharia loans, come with strings attached, such as concessions made by the borrower.

People do not lend for free.  Reduce or eliminate interest rates, and lenders will come up with ways of recouping the costs through fees or other methods.  Is “ethical finance” truly ethical when the actual cost of borrowing is obscured by fees and special conditions, rather than a transparent, market-based interest rate that is known to both parties?

* Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Glossary of Terms for Agricultural Insurance and Rural Finance (Rome:  FAO, 1992).

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