Archive for September, 2010

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FinCEN adds Somali language to its brochures

September 17, 2010

Gee, wonder why?  From FinCEN’s press office on July 28:

VIENNA, Va. – FinCEN today announced the availability of Somali language brochures to facilitate money services businesses’ (MSBs) ability to more easily comply with the requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). The materials made available today cover BSA compliance obligations, currency transaction reporting, and suspicious activity reporting.

The Somali language brochures are in addition to outreach materials for MSBs that are already available in English and the following seven foreign languages: Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Arabic, Farsi, and Russian. These new materials are intended to enhance FinCEN’s outreach efforts to communities with significant numbers of MSBs…

Just for “outreach.”  Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with illegal money transfers from Somalis in Minneapolis to the old country to support jihad in Somalia, right?  See here, here, and here.

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Muslim Brotherhood’s family ties to Mercy-USA

September 16, 2010

Ahmed & Iman Elkadi:  second generation Ikhwani

Ahmed Elkadi was the head of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood from 1984 to 1994.

As a young man, Ahmed Elkadi (also spelled Al-Qadi), studied medicine in Austria.  In 1963, Ahmad married a woman named Iman in Cairo.  The Chicago Tribune reported that, “Iman Elkadi’s father, Mahmoud Abu Saud, was particularly involved in the Brotherhood’s beginnings in Egypt and remains well-known in the Arab world. An accomplished economist, he is widely regarded as a pioneer in Islamic banking, which requires that interest not be charged for loans.”  Ahmed’s own father was also involved in the Brotherhood.

After their marriage, the Elkadis moved to the U.S. where “He was instrumental in helping the fledgling Muslim Students Association of the United States and Canada in the 1960s. He was a founding member of the Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMA) in 1967, which later became IMANA. He was its president from 1974-1975.”

Work in Florida

The couple moved to Florida, and Dr. Elkadi then established a clinic in Panama City.  Read the rest of this entry ?

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Weekly word: Khaybar

September 15, 2010

Defenders of the jizya love making false claims that jizya paid by non-Muslims is a smaller tax than zakat paid by Muslims.  That is a lie, but even if it were true, it still excludes the sinister kharaj tax that non-Muslims are supposed to pay on the harvests of their land.

The Jews of Khaybar were forced by Muhammad to pay a 50 percent tax on their harvests!  Some people refer to the taxes on the Khaybar Jews as jizya, although technically it was kharaj.  Either way, that level of taxation is extraordinary and punitive even in the contemporary world of high-tech income and VAT taxes.

To put it in context, The Qur’an: an Encyclopedia* offers this entry on by Colin Turner on Khaybar:

Traditionally populated by Jewish farmers, Khaybar was a fertile, well-irrigated tract of volcanic land, 90 miles north of Medina, which became a centre of dissent and focus of unrest, particularly after the Siege of Medina.  Gradually developing into an almost wholly Jewish colony, complete with citadels and fortresses, it became the headquarters of the Jewish garrison and the last and most formidable Jewish stronghold in the Arabian peninsula.  Most of the expelled members of the Banu Nadhir were domiciled in Khaybar, where they made tactical alliances with other Jewish tribes as part of a larger Jewish conspiracy to attack Medina.  It was during their preparations for this that the Prophet marched against Khaybar, assisted by 1,400 men, including 200 cavalry. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Letter to Treasury

September 14, 2010

Dear Under Secretary Levey,

You have an important job.  It’s challenging work.  And most people agree that you do it well, or you probably wouldn’t have retained your position during both the Bush administration and the Obama administration.  Treasury has, by its own account at least, succeeded in restricting the financial activities of al Qaeda and has cracked down on entities that help Iran evade sanctions.

But we can all use an outsider perspective from time to time.  If you won’t invite anti-terror finance bloggers in for a rap session with you, sir, please at least consider the following constructive criticism and recommendations: 

  1. Stop letting the Saudis get away with lying to us about the continued transfer of funds overseas without SAMA approval.  The Hialeah, Florida, office of the International Islamic Relief Organization was incorporated under Saudi auspices without disclosing that information to the GAO.  As such, the feds should raid the office and seize its records for review by TFI.  All TFI assistant secretaries should be instructed to refrain immediately from painting a rosy picture of Saudi cooperation in the war against terror financing.
  2. Stop behaving like a charitable facilitator. Read the rest of this entry ?
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Why not let AML bloggers meet with Treasury?

September 13, 2010

The U.S. Treasury Department has been hosting occasional gatherings of economic bloggers.  Steve Waldman at Interfluidity offers this:

Last Monday, I had the privilege to meet up with a bunch of bloggers and Treasury officials for what might be described as a “rap session”. The meeting was less formal than a previous meeting. There were no presentations, and no obvious agenda. Refugees from the blogosphere included Tyler Cowen, Phil Davis, John Lounsbury, Mike Konczal, Yves Smith, Alex Tabarrok, and myself. Our hosts at Treasury were Lewis Alexander, Michael Barr, Timothy Geithner, Matthew Kabaker, Mary John Miller, and Jake Siewart. You will find better write-ups of the affair elsewhere [Konczal, Lounsbury (also here), Smith, Tabarrok]. Treasury held another meeting, with a different set of bloggers, on Wednesday.

It is bizarro world for me to go to these things. First, let me confess right from the start, I had a great time. I pose as an outsider and a crank. But when summoned to the court, this jester puts on his bells. Read the rest of this entry ?

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9/11 hijacker cash came via Dubai

September 11, 2010

Al Qaeda’s coffers have long been filled mostly by zakat.  But how do they get it out of their accounts and into the hands of their sleeper cell members?

Looking back on this the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it bears revisiting the fact that the jihadist hijackers’ financing was made possible in part by “the anonymity provided by bustling financial center of Dubai,” according to the monograph on terrorist financing by the staff of the 9/11 Commission.  The total cost of the attack was about half a million dollars, but the hijackers themselves used about $300,000 of that.  The majority of that money came through wire transfers initiated by Khalid Sheikh Muhammed’s nephew in the United Arab Emirates.  Here are the details:

Upon their arrival in the United States, the hijackers received a total of approximately $130,000 from overseas facilitators via wire or bank-to-bank transfers. Most of the transfers originated from the Persian Gulf financial center of Dubai, UAE, and were sent by plot facilitator Ali. Ali is the nephew of KSM, the plot’s leader, and his sister is married to convicted terrorist Ramzi Yousef. He lived in the UAE for several years before the September 11 attacks, working for a computer wholesaler in a free trade zone in Dubai. According to Ali, KSM gave him the assignment and provided him with some of the necessary funds at a meeting in Pakistan in early 2000. KSM provided the bulk of the money later in 2000 via a courier.147 Although Ali had two bank accounts in the UAE, he kept most of the funds for the hijackers in a laundry bag at home. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Taxes for jihad

September 10, 2010

Koranic tax revenues are being collected by Pakistani jihadists “under the nose of Pakistan’s administration.”  This South Asia News video from June highlights how zakat, ushr (including wheat), mining, and timber are being used to support jihad rather than to help the economy of Pakistan.

All this when Pakistan is said to be at the brink of insolvency.  Meanwhile, professors in Western universities tell us that a zakat-based tax system is a progressive model for the world to follow.  Care to amend that observation, Professor?

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Mega-customs scam explains a lot

September 9, 2010

In Pakistan, 11,000 containers intended for ISAF military forces in Afghanistan over the past two years have “disappeared.”  If all these containers are being stolen by a corrupt Pakistani customs service, that may also help explain how so much cash can be smuggled in and out of Afghanistan (see here, here, and here) without detection.  Thanks to Puneet for sending this in from PakistanKaKhudaHafiz:

ISLAMABAD (Online) – The biggest scam of customs has been reported in country’s history, which relates to the provision of equipment to Isaf (International Security Assistance Force) as containers worth over Rs 220 billion with prohibited and non-prohibited luggage have went missing during the last two years.

According to a private TV channel, more than 11,000 containers, utilised to bring equipment for Nato forces in Afghanistan, disappeared during the period owing to corruption in Customs.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) says these containers were imported to provide equipments to the Nato forces that contained weapons, whisky, military uniform and other prohibited and non-prohibited luggage, adding that during last two years, around 11,727 containers were imported but the goods were unloaded in Pakistan despite the fact that these were meant for Afghanistan.

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Weekly word: structuring

September 8, 2010

Paul Freeman, an anti-money laundering investigator and educator, defines structuring as “the act of altering a financial transaction to avoid a reporting requirement.”

Criminals in the U.S. know that money services businesses are required to report transactions under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) if those transactions occur in a specific manner above a specific amount of money.  So they structure their transactions to fall just under the amount that would trigger a filing.

FinCEN created a 15 minute video about the BSA.  The middle five minutes are especially useful for the examples they include about structuring:

If an MSB suspects that a customer is engaging in structuring, they need to file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR).  But when you have hawaladars who are in bed with their customers to avoid all reporting requirements, there’s only so much FinCEN can do…

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Double-digit growth for Islamic Relief USA

September 7, 2010

Remember when Jennifer Turner from the ACLU told a conference of aging leftist academics that “I did 120 interviews with American Muslims in Michigan and Texas. People reported that they were unable to give Zakat. Some had stopped giving entirely. Some felt fear of deportation or denial of citizenship”?

Remember when 20 Muslim charities wrote a letter to Pres. Obama decrying the “legal hurdles that have chilled well-intentioned American Muslim charitable activities for too long”?

Recall that, upon repeated questioning by a Congress out for infidel blood, Treasury official Daniel Glaser claimed that he had no doubt that there has been a “chilling effect” on Muslim charity although he didn’t “have numbers”?

And remember, most famously, when Pres. Obama apologized to the Muslim world because, “In the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation”?

In fact, it has been so bad, especially in an era where overall charitable giving in the United States has plummeted during the recession, that revenues of Islamic Relief USA, the biggest zakat collector/Islamic charity in the U.S., have increased by 30 percent a year.

Oh, er, uh… what?  Increased?!  How is that possible with fears of deportation, denials of citizenship, draconian rules, and a nationwide chilling effect?

Here’s the data from Charity Navigator for Islamic Relief USA’s past three fiscal years available:

  FYE 2006 FYE 2007 FYE 2008
Primary revenue $42,652,638 $60,611,813 $75,879,207
Contributions $42,652,638 $60,611,813 $75,879,207
Program Services 0 0 0
Membership 0 0 0
Other Revenue $981 $3,489 -$588,767
Total Revenue $42,653,619 $60,615,302 $75,290,440

We should all be so fortunate to be so fearful, chilled, and restricted if it meant that we’d be able to increase our giving by 30 percent a year.

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The sky’s the limit: private jet market booming in Middle East

September 6, 2010

Sulaiman Al-Fahim, his private jet, and Piers Morgan

The world is in a recession.  And even though oil prices are down, the Gulf sheiks still rake it in.  From Zawya on Aug. 29:

The business jets market in the Middle East is poised for steady growth, with over 200 units expected to be delivered to the region by 2015, according to an estimate released by global research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. With the region currently accounting for approximately six per cent of the global business jets market, and demand for an additional 400 units expected to surface within the next eight years, the market for these luxury aircrafts is set to witness further growth. Amidst the rising demand, the upcoming ‘Big Boys Toys’ event in Abu Dhabi is expected to attract top aviation customers across the globe during its four day run at ADNEC (the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center) from 2nd to 5th February 2011.

The Middle East, especially the UAE, has been witnessing a growing demand for private charter flights, as the responsibilities of top executives based in the region involve quick and frequent trips abroad. Despite the economic downturn, a top official from leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus stated a ‘five per cent increase in the demand for customer jets in the Middle East region, which was driven by the continuous increase in airline traffic’…

Can’t really complain though.  For some Gulf businessmen, a jet is the most aboveboard expenditure they’ll ever make.  Read the rest here.