Archive for October, 2009

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JMB revenues: zakat, ushr, and counterfeiting

October 25, 2009

The Daily Star reports that the jihadist organization, Jamatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), is using money to encourage recruits to join or remain as JMB members.  The whole article is here, but the most interesting part is this fairly candid description of JMB revenue sources:

The change in the JMB’s recruitment strategy has increased the organisation’s overall expenditure, the official said adding that alongside JMB’s traditional source of income, a few NGOs and charity organisations are suspected to be providing funds to JMB.

“We’ve already got primary information about three to four such NGOs and charity organisations and are trying to get evidences against them,” a senior Rab intelligence official told The Daily Star wishing anonymity.

He, however, would not give the names of those NGOs and charity organisations before the investigation is over.

The traditional sources of JMB funding are its members’ contribution, Usl (zakat on harvested crops), Zakat, Fitra, leather of sacrificial cattle and contribution of local and foreign supporter and well-wishers.

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Taliban revenues: reading between the lines

October 24, 2009

Government officials have appeared to be forthcoming this month about the sources of growing Taliban revenues.  In a speech earlier this month, Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing David S. Cohen pointed to drug money and protection payments as major sources of Taliban funding.

The U.S. special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, blamed “individuals carrying money in their suitcases” during an interview with CNN.  Holbrooke, somewhat more intelligibly, has also addressed donations from the Persian Gulf, hawala financing, and charities.

This week Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that certain money exchange dealers are financing terrorism, and said the government will be investigating the matter.

The media have weighed in too with a fair summary of funding sources by the New York Times.  Meanwhile, The Times of London confirmed “protection payments” from the Italian intelligence service to the Taliban.

But what’s missing from almost all of these accounts is any examination of traditional methods of Islamic revenue collection.  Read the rest of this entry ?

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U.S. insurance company poised to buy Sharia bank

October 23, 2009

Investor’s Business Daily and Reuters are reporting that “a U.S. insurance firm had met with central bank officials this week to discuss the possibility of buying an Islamic-compliant lender in Indonesia, without giving details…”  You can read the Reuters article here, although there are hardly any details about this mysterious bid.

You’d think that American insurance companies have a bad enough reputation right now that they would avoid such a vile investment overseas.  The Reuters piece also outlines five Indonesian banks that are making preparations to set up new sharia-compliant units.  The growing market must be hard for U.S. businesses to resist.

Poor France.  They just thought Paris had to compete against London to become the center of Islamic banking.  Now they have to compete against Jakarta, and maybe New York some day, too.

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Pakistan “misplaces” 7 percent of its revenues

October 22, 2009

An awfully understated article from Pakistan’s Daily Times yesterday revealed 13.5 billion rupees worth of “irregularities” in an audit of Pakistan’s zakat fund.  Here’s the full text:

Islamabad—The Auditor General of Pakistan has pointed out irregularities worth billions of rupees in the accounts of Central Zakat Fund (CZF) and public health institutions during the financial year 2007-08. In his report for the audit year 2008-09, the AG observed that the figures reported to the State Bank of Pakistan by the CZF differed by Rs 13.475 billion from the actual amount spent by the fund. The report said the CZF had also failed to produce the record of expenditure worth Rs 11.31 million and had transferred zakat funds worth Rs 23.5 million from accounts of the Health Welfare Committee (HWC) to the accounts of the Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital in Rawalpindi without authorisation. The AG said the HWC had purchased medicines worth Rs 56 million without transparent bidding and had issued medicines worth Rs 313,938 on “doubtful prescriptions”.

Let’s back up.  A government run zakat fund, you ask?  Isn’t zakat private charity (as explained in warm & fuzzy definitions like this one)?  Read the rest of this entry ?

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Even with two wars, Saudis outspend U.S. on military

October 21, 2009

Today’s post is not about terrorist financing, but it is about military spending by the country at the heart of Islam compared to military spending in the heart of the West.

You’ve heard it before from the media and think tanks like the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute:  the United States spends more money on the military than any other country on the planet.  But what about military spending as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP)?  It’s time for a fact check. 

In 2008, the U.S. had a gross domestic product of $14.3 trillion and military spending of $709 billion; Saudi Arabia had a GPD of $310 billion and military spending to the tune of $25 billion.  I’ll save you the step of doing the math:

  U.S. and Saudi military spending

Also note that Saudi Arabia has compulsory military service (a draft) while the U.S. does not.  Tell me now—who has the more militaristic society? 

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French hit road block in race to the bottom

October 19, 2009

“Home to Europe’s biggest Muslim minority, France is hoping to unseat London as the European hub for Islamic banking, offering products that comply with Sharia law.”  So says Expatica today.

But a funny thing happened on the road to serfdom:  French judges just struck down the legislation that would have facilitated Sharia banking.  Thank goodness some of the French still have good heads on their shoulders.  Read the whole story here.

Sorry, Paris.  Despite the best efforts of your worst politicians, your City of Lights will keep twinkling, at least for a little while.

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Another Taliban funding source?

October 17, 2009

Earlier this week Money Jihad examined surging Taliban revenues from drug trafficking, organized crime, the Persian Gulf, and protection payments from local Afghanis.

 On Thursday The Times reported more people making protection payments.  Who are they?  The Italians.  Here’s the report, subsequently denied by the Italians and French:

When ten French soldiers were killed last year in an ambush by Afghan insurgents in what had seemed a relatively peaceful area, the French public were horrified.

Their revulsion increased with the news that many of the dead soldiers had been mutilated — and with the publication of photographs showing the militants triumphantly sporting their victims’ flak jackets and weapons. The French had been in charge of the Sarobi area, east of Kabul, for only a month, taking over from the Italians; it was one of the biggest single losses of life by Nato forces in Afghanistan.

What the grieving nation did not know was that in the months before the French soldiers arrived in mid-2008, the Italian secret service had been paying tens of thousands of dollars to Taleban commanders and local warlords to keep the area quiet, The Times has learnt. The clandestine payments, whose existence was hidden from the incoming French forces, were disclosed by Western military officials.

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