Posts Tagged ‘ushr’

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Jihad: now powered by amphetamines

January 31, 2014

Unlike poppies in Afghanistan, which the Taliban simply taxes on the basis of traditional Islamic law, terrorist organizations in Syria and Lebanon are taking things a step further by taking control the amphetamine trade lock, stock, and barrel.  All’s fair in love and war, especially when the war is against heretics, which is how the Sunnis regard the Alawites in Syria.  And smuggling “Captagon” is netting them $300 million, which is no chump change—it’s 10 times Al Qaeda’s budget at the time of 9/11.  That means plenty of firepower for the revolutionists.  The only upside for Assad is that his Shia sponsors from Hezbollah are in on the trade too.  What a mess.

The information comes from a Time article that was recently republished by AINA (h/t El Grillo):

Are Drugs Funding the Syrian Rebels?

Fifteen days into his job as Lebanon’s top drug-enforcement official, Colonel Ghassan Chams Eddine got a tip-off that something big was going down at the Beirut shipping port this summer. How big? Nearly 5.5 million tablets of a locally produced amphetamine expertly hidden inside an industrial water heater destined for Dubai. His men had to use acetylene torches to remove the white tablets, each embossed with an off-kilter yin-yang symbol and packed into 1,000-piece units in heat-sealed plastic bags. “The boiler was made in Syria, and the way the tablets were hidden, it was clear that they hadn’t been just stuffed inside,” says Chams Eddine. “That unit was formed around the drugs, at the factory.”

A week later, on Aug. 21, Chams Eddine got another tip-off. Six Syrian-made cargo trucks destined for Saudi Arabia from Lebanon were stopped just as they were about to cross the border. Each of the containers’ steel reinforcing ribs concealed a cleverly designed drawer packed with loose pills — 6 million of them in total. A few days later, a Syrian was caught at Beirut’s international airport with 11,000 tablets hidden in pastries. Then two more Syrians destined for Saudi Arabia were stopped at the airport with 8 kg of the stuff in their luggage.

In one month, Lebanese authorities confiscated more than $200 million worth of a potent amphetamine that is almost entirely unheard of in the West. But in the Persian Gulf, Captagon, as the amphetamine is known, is the most sought-after drug on the street, and the conflict in Syria, with its attendant lawlessness, is making it even easier to obtain.

As the war drags on, it is all the more likely that Captagon will take on a significant role funding warring parties in the conflict. The captured cargo trucks were owned by a Sunni Syrian clan long linked to the drug trade that fled the besieged city of Homs last year to set up shop in Lebanon, says Chams Eddine, who suspects that the proceeds may have been used in part to fund anti–Bashar Assad rebels. “They run two or three operations like that, and they can easily get $300 million. That would buy a lot of guns.”

But it’s not just Syrian Sunnis who are involved. Hizballah, the Iranian-funded and Lebanon-based militia that is fighting in Syria on behalf of President Assad, also has a hand in the trade, according to former U.S. Treasury official Matthew Levitt, a fellow at the Washington Institute and author of Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God. “Hizballah has a long history of dabbling in the drug trade to help with funding, and Captagon, with its high profit margins, is to them just another business opportunity,” Levitt says. It’s not yet clear if Captagon finances the war effort directly, he adds, but profits from the trade, like Hizballah’s other criminal activities, help fund the organization, freeing up capacity for efforts elsewhere. A Hizballah security official tells TIME that the organization does not engage in drug trafficking, as the practice is considered sinful in Islam. However, he admits, Hizballah has worked with drug mafias for what he called security operations. “It was never to benefit or fund Hizballah, it was more to collect information. After all, the end justifies the means.”…

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It’s 2012 and the Taliban still taxes Afghans

July 11, 2012

Eleven years after the invasion to route Al Qaeda and topple the Taliban, the jihadists are still imposing the ushr, Islam’s 10 percent harvest tax, on some of the poorest farmers of the world.  The ushr has been a key ingredient for years in the Taliban’s recipe for maintaining a diverse revenue stream for terrorism.  While taking a cut from the opium trade has received more attention from Western media, all crops within the Taliban’s reach are subject to the scourge of ushr, which is mandated by the Koran and Hadith.

Fork it over, dirt farmer!  From ISAF’s public affairs website on June 26 (h/t Twitter user @SuzanneSues57):

Afghan colonel works to free farmers from Taliban taxation

Afghan National Army Lt. Col. Mirweis, in partnership with soldiers from the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, talks with the elders in the rarely visited Omnah District of Paktika province, Afghanistan, June 14. The district had only been visited by American forces once before. (Photo by 1st Lt. Zachary Mierva)

 

PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan (June 26, 2012) — Afghan National Army Lt. Col. Mirweis led his soldiers to victory in western Paktika province recently, improving the livelihood for the people of the province.

The mission for the ANA Kandak, in partnership with the Fort Riley, Kan., based 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, was to clear known insurgent locations in the lesser traveled Omnah district.

At first light on June 14, the operation commenced.

The people in the valley of Omnah are mainly farmers who are known for their production of pine nuts, their main source of revenue. The area was also known to be an insurgent stronghold. In the past, the insurgents would tax the populace by taking a part of the farmers’ pine nut harvests.

Getting over the pass to Omnah seemed like an easy task to the motivated Mirweis, the Kandak commander, as he led his soldiers with their armored trucks into the valley and straight to the village of Spina.

At noon on the same day, Mirweis requested to speak to the elders of Omnah and Spina in a security shura, or meeting. The people responded as dozens of elders came to speak with the Afghan army.

Mirweis led the discussion by saying that he understood that the Taliban intimidated the people by stealing their harvests and that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan will not tolerate such criminal activities. He then promised that he intended to provide a safe and secure environment for the people in Omnah, but it was also their duty to help provide information on Taliban operating in the area.

The shura concluded as he said that the people of Omnah are a strong and proud people, and that together they will stand up to the enemy.

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Afghan drug lord convicted

May 24, 2012

Narcotrafficker from Afghanistan

 

Catching up on some news from earlier this year.  Recall that Islam mandates a 10 percent ushr tax on harvests, and that the Taliban has collected revenues from poppy harvests accordingly.  From the Washington Post in March:

Afghan man convicted of drug, narco-terrorism charges in U.S. court

An Afghan citizen U.S. prosecutors alleged was once one of the world’s biggest heroin suppliers was convicted of drug distribution and narco-terrorism charges Tuesday in the District’s federal court.

Haji Bagcho, who is in his 60s and faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison at his sentencing in June, said nothing as jurors found him guilty of three of four charges related to heroin trafficking and support of the Taliban. He was acquitted of one heroin distribution charge.

It was Bagcho’s second trial on the charges; in November, jurors deadlocked on all counts.

Federal prosecutors Matthew Stiglitz and Marlon Cobar, who declined to comment after the verdict, alleged that Bagcho ran his organization from a palatial compound in Afghanistan’s Nangahar province, near the border with Pakistan.

During a 2007 raid of his chemist’s neighboring house, Afghan and U.S. authorities recovered a ledger that documented $250 million in sales of 137 tons of heroin the previous year. An agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration testified that the sales represented nearly 20 percent of the world’s 2006 heroin supply.

Afghan informants purchased drugs from Bagcho’s organization and recorded incriminating calls with the dealer. One testified that Bagcho provided the Taliban with cash, supplies and weapons.

Bagcho was arrested in 2009 in Pakistan, turned over to Afghan authorities and then extradited to the United States. His son, Sucha Gul, has also been indicted in the case…

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Non-Muslims bear burden in Islamic tax law

November 2, 2011

More from the Islamic department of discriminatory taxation.  Let’s jump in a time portal through Bernard Lewis’s The Arabs in History to look back at taxes under the Umayyad dynasty:

The Arabs took over only state lands and the lands of enemies of the regime.  Other landowners who recognized the new government retained effective freehold rights on payment of certain taxes.  The confiscated lands were registered and administered by the state.  Muslims were allowed to buy land outside Arabia and many were granted lands in a form of lease known as Qati’a (pl. Qata’i’).

These concessions might be cultivated lands or of dead lands, and in the latter case were usually accompanied by state aid in the form of tax remissions.  While few such grants were made by ‘Umar, many were made by his successors.  Muslim landowners outside Arabia did not pay the full land tax, but, after some dispute, paid a much smaller due known as the ‘Ushr, or tithe.  Apart from a small religious levy on Muslims all other taxes were paid by the subject non-Muslim peoples.  These included the Jizya and the Kharaj.  The Jizya, but not the Kharaj, is mentioned in the Qur’an.  In later times these terms were differentiated to mean the poll-tax payable by non-Muslims and the land tax.  Under the early Caliphate, however, while Jizya apparently already acquired the technical meaning of poll-tax, Kharaj was still a generic term for any kind of tax, and was used loosely for the collective tribute levied by the Arabs as a lump sum from each region.

What Lewis is saying is that the Umayyad rulers gave away a lot of the land conquered by Islam through concessions to Muslim ethnic Arabs.  And once those Muslim Arabs acquired the land, they only paid the ushr (which actually isn’t always a ten percent tithe—in the case of artificially irrigated land, the harvest tax is only five percent).  The “small religious levy” is, of course, zakat, although you wouldn’t know it to read all the falsehoods from modern Muslim liars who claim that zakat is greater than jizya.

As if the land giveaways and jizya of the early Umayyad period weren’t bad enough, Lewis paints a grim picture of tax policy under the later Umayyad period as well:

The main basis of the new order was the legal fiction that the land and not the landowner paid Kharaj.  From this time on, all land assessed as Kharaj land paid the full rate irrespective of the religion or nationality of its owner.  The ‘Ushr land formed under the early Caliphate continued to pay the lower rate, but could no longer be added to.  The Dhimmis in addition paid the Jizya, or poll-tax.  The working of this new system, which was to become the canonical system of Islamic jurisprudence, was made more effective by the appointment of separate financial superintendents alongside the provincial governors with the task of carrying out a survey and a census as the basis of new assessments.

“All land assessed as Kharaj land paid the full rate irrespective of the religion or nationality of its owner.”  On the surface that almost sounds fair or egalitarian, but the truth is quite the opposite.  The land assessed as kharaj land was land originally owned by non-Muslims prior to the incursion of Arab Muslims to the area.  Even those who converted to Islam were still liable for kharaj.  This was a central tenet of Arab racial supremacy during the Umayyad reign.  Non-Arabs, not just non-Muslims, suffered under Islamic taxation.

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Zakat, ushr putting JeM back on map

October 18, 2011
Jihadist organization revives

Jaish-e-Muhammad (and Al Rehmat's coordinator, left) sets eyes on Punjab

The jihadist organization Jaish Muhammad, also known as Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), and its “charitable” cohort, Al Rehmat Trust, are off to the fundraising races again.  We first covered the illegal ushr tax collections by JeM in June.  Then this pair of excellent Express Tribune articles further explaining JeM’s fundraising efforts were published in August, but other posts kept getting in the way of covering them here.  So the stories are a little dated, but still far too important to overlook.

JeM may have sent the younger brother of the group’s deceased founder to raise zakat from rich Arab donors in Gulf states like Saudi Arabia.  Worse still, the coordinator of Al Rehmat tells the Tribune that he is able to operate on the ground and raise funds quite openly with the knowledge of provincial authorities.  Pakistani law enforcement shows zero signs of acting against JeM.  Read it all:

Militant group’s resurgence: Dreaded Jaish looks to rise again

ISLAMABAD:

After remaining underground for a decade since being banned in 2001, Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), the second largest jihadi group based in Punjab, has resumed full-scale public activity including fundraising while security agencies appear to be overlooking its ‘resurgence’.

Jaish activists and intelligence officials told The Express Tribune the group is in the process of regaining its traditional physical and financial strength which had dissipated during the ten-year ban imposed by former president Pervez Musharraf. The JeM, they added, is working on a plan to reach out to its activists who had abandoned the organisation after it came on the radar following an attack on the Indian parliament blamed on the group.

JeM is trying to consolidate avenues for fundraising, individual charity from within Pakistan and donations from Gulf states, which were partially blocked during the ban by the country’s security agencies. As a first step, an activist said, it had revived its charity, Al-Rehmat Trust, the group’s humanitarian wing once run by Master Allah Baksh, the father of Jaish founding chief Maulana Masood Azhar, till his death last year.

Maulana Ashfaq Ahmed, who is affiliated with the trust as its coordinator, told The Express Tribune from Bahawalpur, the city in southern Punjab where the organisation is based, that the charity’s fundraising was in full swing in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The trust capitalises on Masood Azhar’s name for recreating the goodwill it once enjoyed when it had fought in Afghanistan along with the Taliban before the regime was driven out of power by international forces. Government agencies have never obstructed the trust’s fundraising in either Punjab or KP, Maulana Ashfaq added. When asked why, he remarked: “You can put this question to the government and its agencies. We operate on the ground. We have a visible presence.”

Led by Azhar, Jaish is the second largest jihadi outfit in the Punjab. Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is the biggest both in terms of the number of activists and infrastructure. Maulana Ashfaq said the trust’s offices were being re-established all over Punjab and KP including Jaish’s traditional strongholds in Kohat district and Hazara region. He added that fund-raising had gained momentum with the advent of Ramazan, but declined to give an approximation of the amount the charity might fetch by Eid. A younger brother of [deceased JeM founder] Masood, Amar Azhar (possibly his codename), was in Saudi Arabia to seek donations from rich businessmen and sympathisers in Gulf states.

Illusion

Officials of law enforcement agencies in Punjab said they had never received orders for a crackdown on the trust since it was not banned by the federal interior ministry. “Provincial authorities can only ban organisations proscribed by the federal government. Otherwise, they can take us to court,” said Senator Pervez Rasheed, an adviser to the Punjab government. Additional Inspector General (Investigations) Punjab police Azam Joya said not a single case against banned organisations for raising funds was referred to provincial law enforcers in recent months.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik was not available for  comment on why an organisation using the name of Jaish chief and sharing its headquarters has not been banned. KP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain also declined to comment on the trust’s activities in the province.

Looking the other way

According to a report in this newspaper, the banned terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad is trying to make a comeback, collecting funds through ‘ushr’ in south Punjab — where the government has failed to collect agriculture tax — and limbering up to claim its pound of flesh in a troubled and confused Pakistan on behalf of its master, al Qaeda. All its banned publications like Al Qalam and Muslim Ummah, together with the banned Al Rasheed Trust’s Zarb-e-Momin and Islam are allowed to be printed by the state through issuance of ABC certificates by the ministry of information and this enables them to solicit advertisements. (Zarb-e-Momin was once edited jointly by the Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar and jailed terrorist Omar Sheikh.)…

The State Department’s 2010 report on global terrorism stated that, “In addition, JEM collects funds through donation requests in magazines and pamphlets.”  In this way it is silimar to the affiliated Harakat ul-Mujahideen, which has also raised zakat from magazine ads.

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You grow it, we tax it

June 21, 2011

Jaish Muhammad terrorists from South Punjab, Pakistan, have been collecting the ushr (the Islamic tax on harvests) from farmers for many years according to a recent news blurb.

We have written about the oppressive nature of Islamic tax law with respect to Muslim farmers before here, here, and here.  Ushr has also been imposed by jihadist groups Lashkar-e Islam in Pakistan, by Amn Tehreek in Pakistan,  and by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Recall that the Pakistani government also has an ushr tax on top of whatever the local militants can bleed out of the farms.  From The Friday Times, “Nuggets from the Urdu Press,”  (h/t Rantburg) on June 11:

Pak farmer pays forced tax to jihadist

Hand it over, dirt farmer!

Jaish collecting “ushr”

Reported in the illicit publication with an ABC Certificate Al Qalam outlawed terrorist organisation Jaish Muhammad was collecting ushr in South Punjab under the auspices of Al Rehmat Trust also said to be banned. The newspaper informed that ‘ushr’ – a tax on farms legally only collectible by the state – was being collected for past ‘many years’ and its campaign was at its peak in April.

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Lashkar-e Islam levies heavy zakat, ushr‏

April 21, 2011
In addition to 1) the glorious zakat and ushr taxes levied by the Pakistani government, and 2) the secular taxes imposed by the Pakistani, the Pashtun tribe known as Zakhakhel also get to experience the boundless joy of paying zakat to Lashkar-e Islam, a jihadist group associated with the Pakistani Taliban.
 
According to one tribal elder, Lashkar-e Islam’s tax rate is as high as 50 percent.  This is higher than what is normally imposed on Muslims, but could probably be justified under Islamic law on the basis of sadaqa–giving money beyond the traditional 2.5 percent rate.  After all, a really solid jihad can be awfully expensive.
 
And at 50 percent, the Zakhakhel are learning what it feels like to be taxed at a rate only normally applied by Islam against non-Muslims.  From Radio Free Europe via Spero News on Apr. 20:
 
…Like the other militant groups, Lashkar-e Islam, which is believed to number some 10,000 to 15,000 fighters, levies tribute from all those within reach. One tribal elder, who spoke on condition of anonymity, recently described to Radio Mashaal how onerous the tribute demands can be.

“To raise funds, militant groups use various methods in Tirah,” he said. “Sometimes they levy Zakat and Usher [religious taxes payable in cash], sometimes collected from the whole village each month, sometimes collected per home.”

The elder added: “For people who own agriculture land in the valley but live in Peshawar, the militant groups demand 50 percent of the land and at the end of the year they keep half of the crop. If somebody can’t afford a monthly payment or doesn’t have land, then the militant groups demand he joins the fight personally and if he can’t go then he has to hire somebody to fight for the militants instead of him.

Beyond these demands, Bagh also let his fighters kidnap tribal leaders with whom they quarreled. It was the kidnapping of two leaders of the Zakhakhel tribe over the past several months that appears to have pushed the tribe into open conflict with Lashkar-e Islam and the bloodletting this month.

The most recent of the two kidnappings was that of a tribal elder and cleric, Maulana Mohammad Hashim, from Bazaar Zakhakhel on March 21. The cleric, who was killed the following day, had preached a Friday sermon against militancy. His abduction came just a month and a half after another Zakhakhel leader, Ghuncha Gul, who had been a commander in the Lashkar-e Islam force, was never seen again after quarreling with Manghal Bagh…

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