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CAIR lies about hawala

August 20, 2010

After it became clear that the would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad used hawala to finance his failed attack, the English-language Russian news channel RT interviewed Nihad Awad from the Council on American-Islamic Relations about hawala.

When asked about the terrorist and criminal uses of hawala, Awad made the wildly fanciful statement that “the 9/11 Commission has exonerated the hawala system…”

Actually, Mr. Awad, the staff of the 9/11 Commission found just the opposite in their monograph on terrorist financing as follows:

Al Qaeda moved much of its money by hawala before 9/11. In some ways, al Qaeda had no choice after its move to Afghanistan in 1996; the banking system there was antiquated and undependable. Hawala became particularly important after the August 1998 East Africa bombings increased worldwide scrutiny of the formal financial system. Bin Ladin turned to an established hawala network operating in Pakistan, in Dubai, and throughout the Middle East to transfer funds efficiently. Hawalas were attractive to al Qaeda because they, unlike formal financial institutions, were not subject to potential government oversight and did not keep detailed records in standard form. Although hawaladars do keep ledgers, their records are often written in idiosyncratic shorthand and maintained only briefly. Al Qaeda used about a dozen trusted hawaladars, who almost certainly knew of the source and purpose of the money. Al Qaeda also used both unwitting hawaladars and hawaladars who probably strongly suspected that they were dealing with al Qaeda but were nevertheless willing to deal with anyone.

The full interview, which includes a ridiculous comparison between Wall Street and hawala, and a series of softball questions for Awad, is available here.  It’s quite telling that Russian news producers regard Awad, the man behind CAIR’s fundraising efforts, as hawala expert, isn’t it?

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