Posts Tagged ‘Sweden’

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World’s biggest Islamic charity branded as terrorist group by 2nd Middle East country

November 17, 2014

Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) has been designated as a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates, the second Middle Eastern country to do so within the past five months. In June, IRW was declared illegal by Israel for being a financial conduit to Hamas, and it was banned from operating in Israel and the West Bank.

The Birmingham, England-based IRW is the largest international Islamic charity in the world with a £155 million (240 million USD) budget in 2013.  IRW has over 280 employees and is active in more than 30 countries.  IRW maintains over a dozen affiliates throughout the world, each with multi-million dollar operating budgets of their own including Islamic Relief USA, which is the largest Islamic charity in America.

IRW accepted a $50,000 check from Osama Bin Laden in 1999, had a Gaza program coordinator who aided Hamas from 2005-06, received over £60K from an Al Qaeda front group from 2003-08, has leaders who are closely aligned with the global Muslim Brotherhood, and had programs staffed by Hamas personnel in the Palestinian territories as recently as this year.  Supporters of IRW have noted that the UK’s charitable regulator has not confirmed the evidence against IRW; however, a 2013 audit found that the Charity Commission is understaffed, too passive in its investigations, and is generally unfit for its regulatory duties.

UAE calls 15 Muslim groups in the West “terrorists”

In addition to the IRW designation, the UAE named 15 other Islamic charities and advocacy groups in the U.S. and Europe as terrorist entities:

  • Islamic Relief UK (the British affiliate of IRW)
  • Muslim Association of Britain (part of the U.K. Muslim Brotherhood)
  • Cordoba Foundation in Britain (once described by David Cameron as a Muslim Brotherhood front group)
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations (the self-described civil rights group which was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas-financing trial)
  • Muslim American Society (which was created by the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood)
  • Union of Islamic Organizations of France (a French Muslim group tied to the Muslim Brotherhood that profits from halal certification)
  • Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (an alliance financed by Gulf sources with ties to Hamas)
  • Islamische Gemeinschaft in Deutschland (the “main representative” of the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany)
  • Associazione Musulmani Italiani (Italian Muslim Association)
  • League of Muslims in Belgium (La Ligue des Musulmans de Belgique)
  • Muslim Association of Sweden (Sveriges muslimska förbund)
  • Islamic Society in Denmark (Islamsk Trossamfund)
  • Islamic Council Norway (Islamsk Rad Norge)
  • Finnish Islamic Association (Suomen Islam-seurakunta)
  • CANVAS in Belgrade, Serbia

The UAE designated over 80 groups overall, most of which are located in the Middle East.  The practical effect of the designations are limited, designed for “transparency” and to “raise awareness.”  In other words, the designations include not asset freezes, travel bans, or prohibitions on transacting business with the designated groups.

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Arab gangs to captives: pay up or lose organs

March 17, 2014

This is a follow up to earlier Money Jihad coverage of the organ trade that enriches Bedouins and Hamas.  If anything, the ransom demands appear to be increasing as captives’ relatives in Europe pay off the abductors.

Sweden is specifically named as one of the countries where ransom demands to relatives have been successful.  Perhaps Swedish authorities should look apply more scrutiny to financial transfers made to that region of the world, to ensure that migrants in their own country aren’t inflating ransom demands and keeping the illicit organ market in business.

From IB Times (h/t to @PaulWilko657):

Europol: Arab Gangs Threatening to Kill and Sell Organs of Africa Migrants

  • By Lewis Dean March 5, 2014

Arab gangs are threatening to kill and sell the organs of African migrants if relatives refuse to pay ransoms in time.

European crime agency Europol has said the migrants are being kidnapped by criminals who then demand family and friends living in Europe pay thousands of euros for their release.

The agency has warned EU law enforcement authorities about the kidnapping of ‘irregular migrants’ and the subsequent extortion of their relatives or friends who are residing in Europe.

Ransoms extorted have ranged from €4,400 to €25,700 and have involved multiple negotiation steps where the amount demanded by kidnappers has increased incrementally.

Payments were made to multiple cash handlers used by organised criminal groups in locations inside and outside of Europe.

The agency said individuals orginally from Eritrea in the Horn of Africa, but who now live in Sweden, and at least two other European countries have been subject to extortion as relatives are held hostage and tortured in the Sinai Peninsula, in Eygpt.

The extortion operations were run by organised criminals of Bedouin origin, who exploit irregular migrants who had been kidnapped in Eritrea and Sudan.

In some cases, hostages have been provided with phones to call European contacts and request cash for their release.

In one instance, a victim’s friend living in Sweden was contacted by two Swedish-speaking suspects on local mobile phone numbers demanding €24,000 for a victim being held in the Sinai.

Threatening that non-compliance would result in the victim’s death and sale of their organs, the suspects attempted to arrange face-to-face meetings in Sweden for the handover of ransom payments…

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Terror widow smashed evidence with hammer

November 12, 2013
Terrorist widow wearing hijab

Mona Thawny

Mona Thwany received a wire for £1,000 shortly after her husband self-detonated in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2010.  The money was compensation for his botched martyrdom operation from her husband’s co-conspirator, Nasserdine Menni.  Menni himself transferred nearly £6,000 to the suicide bomber before the attack, and was convicted in 2012.

Thawny claims she knew nothing of her husband’s activities, and that Menni gave her money because that was “a cultural thing.”

Now Menni is appealing his sentence, and his lawyers are pointing a finger back toward Thawny.  Indeed, prosecutors should indict her as well.  The evidence they found on her computer may be inconclusive (shades of Katherine Tsarnaev?), but Thawny’s smashing of four telephones with a hammer doesn’t sound like the behavior of a person cooperating with law enforcement.

From The Local on Oct. 31:

The jailed financier of Swedish-Iraqi suicide bomber Taimour Abdulwahab appeared in Edinburgh High Court on Thursday to appeal his seven-year sentence. His legal team appeared intent on highlighting the widow’s role in the attack…

…[An] audio message left behind by her husband was made with software downloaded to her computer, the defence attorney noted. The message was emailed to the Swedish intelligence service Säpo alongside the national news agency TT.

“She also destroyed three or four telephones with a hammer so their contents couldn’t be reconstructed,” Taylor underlined.

“The bomb in Stockholm was the work of an amateur… which makes it even more significant that the ‘recipe’ for exactly the kind of bomb used in Stockholm, available in a magazine, was found on the widow’s computer,” he said.

Wiring from Christmas lighting found in the widow’s home was used to make the bomb, the lawyer further noted. The widow was taciturn and failed to answer many questions posed to her during the first trial in Glasgow…

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Imam conducts illegal gun-running from Sweden to Syria

November 4, 2013
Arms dealer to the Syrian rebellion

Weapons smuggler Imam Haytham Rahmeh

Imam Haytham Rahmeh, a native of Homs, Syria, residing in Sweden, is trafficking weapons from Libya for end use in Syria, according to Sveriges Radio and a researcher at Cambridge University.  Imam Rahmeh and has previously been described in a Carnegie Endowment article as an ex-Muslim Brotherhood member.

This activity is a probable violation of Swedish law, although it seems fairly similar to smuggling activities being carried out by Western governments and Gulf monarchies.  Libya is often the point of origin of the weapons that are flooding Syria, and Turkey is often the point of entry for the for the smuggled arms.  This story has the same fact pattern.

From The Local:

Swedish imam smuggles weapons to Syria: report

Published: 31 Oct 2013

A Swedish imam has smuggled large quantities of weapons to rebels in Syria, a crime punishable by up to four years in prison.

Sources told Sveriges Radio (SR) that the Syrian-born man was one of the rebels’ key weapons suppliers and that he had been bringing arms into the civil war-torn country for the last 18 months.

SR named the suspected arms dealer as Haytham Rahmeh and claimed he purchased weapons primarily in Libya, but also made purchases in Bosnia & Herzegovina. The arms have then been transported through Turkey and into the hands of rebels in Syria.

Raphaël Lefèvre, a researcher at Cambridge University who has interviewed Rahmeh, told SR that Rahmed has made frequent appearances among the Syrian opposition and has been open about sending weapons to the rebels via an organization known as the Commission for Civilian Protection.

“It’s no secret that this group sends weapons to Syria,” Lefèvre told SR.

For several years, Rahmeh was an imam at the Stockholm mosque located near Medborgarplatsen in the city centre. He also served as the chair of a European organization for imams before shifting his focus toward assisting Syrian rebels.

Thomas Tjäder, a security expert at the Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls (Inspektionen för strategiska produkter – ISP) explained that smuggling weapons into Syria was a breach of Swedish arms control laws punishable by up to four years in prison.

The law applies to all Swedish citizens and registered residents, regardless of whether the weapons pass through Sweden or not, Tjäder told SR. The EU export embargo to Syria entails policing at national level, he explained, meaning that it was Sweden’s job to probe potential breaches.

Nazir Hakim, head of the Commission for Civilian Protection, confirmed that Rahmeh has fundraised for the group and that some of the money collected went toward the purchase of weapons…

Rahmeh appears to be the latest in a series of imams (Muslim prayer leaders) who have used Western countries as a base to provide material support to militants, including Imam Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud (a San Diego imam who conspired with fellow Somali immigrants to fund al-Shabaab in East Africa), Hafiz Khan (a Florida imam who funded the Taliban), terrorist leader Anwar al-Awlaki, and Orlando imam Marcus Dwayne Robinson, a.k.a. Abu Taubah (who helped coordinate the movement of Al Qaeda fighters through Mauritania).

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Clandestine finance news: recommended reading

May 16, 2013
  • It took Kuwait 12 years after 9/11 to outlaw the financing of terrorism. That was still faster than Sweden…  more>>
  • A Dubai subsidiary illegally transfers software to Syria, and incurs the second biggest fine in the history of export controlmore>>
  • Bitcoin‘s sales pitch was based on freedom from regulation. Not so fast, say the feds… more>>

 

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Black money news: recommended reading

March 8, 2013

• Jiminy cricket! Our friend El Grillo says a “Stockholm suicide bomber falsely claimed student loans to fund his terrorist activity.”  The latest case of debt financing the jihadmore>>

• The good news is that Indian financial institutions are getting better about filing suspicious transaction reports. The bad news is that it makes it look like India has experienced a 300 percent increase in terrorist financing activity since last year.  Maybe they have… more>>

• Which way is the wind blowing?  Towards Iran.  Just ask Europe about its renewable energy sanctions waiver for Iranian wind power.  Thanks to Willauer Prosky for sending this in… more>>

• International financial watchdog FATF is supposed to counter the financing of terrorism. But lately it seems more focused on getting countries to pass meaningless laws and high-fiving itself… more from Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld>>

Money Jihad has covered the illicit wildlife trade, particularly in cheetahs by rich Arab buyers. But even we didn’t know how extensive the cheetah market has become in Dubai.  No reporting yet on how the smugglers use the revenues… more>>

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PKK terror financier taken into custody

March 1, 2013

A Kurdish-Swede has been arrested by Spaniards along with 21 other PKK terrorists in Spain and France.  The operatives reportedly imposed a common Marxist guerrilla fundraising technique—a revolutionary tax—on their fellow Kurds to buy weapons for terrorism against Turkey.  From Sweden’s The Local on Feb. 16:

Madrid court remands Swede on terror charges

A 65-year-old Swedish man was on Friday remanded into custody by a Madrid court on suspicion of terror crimes connected to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PPK).

“According to information from the Spanish police, he is suspected of extortion for terrorist purposes,” said Catarina Axelsson at the Foreign Ministry’s press service.

The Swede and five others were arrested in Spain on Tuesday in a series of coordinated raids which also saw 16 arrested in France.

Those detained are all suspected of belonging to the terrorist-classified Kurdish separatist movement PKK. They are suspected of having coerced other Kurds into paying a so-called “revolution tax”.

According to the charges, the collections are intended to have been used to finance the purchase of explosives and weapons for terrorist activities in Turkey.

In the course of the raids, police seized weapons and cash.

According to news agency Europa Press the Madrid court released three of the six arrested in Spain, although they remain under suspicion and are not permitted to leave the country.

The 65-year-old Swede, who is reported to be resident in the south of Sweden, is receiving assistance from the embassy and the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The PPK is a Kurdish organization founded in 1984 that fights against the Turkish state for an autonomous Kurdistan, as well as for the rights of Kurds in Turkey.

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