Muslim robber: banks seeking interest are legit targets

April 13, 2011

The Bashir trial in Indonesia over the creation and funding of a terrorist training camp has turned out to be a wonderful learning opportunity about the harmony between Islamic law and what the West would normally regard as “purely” criminal behavior.

The latest development is that one of Bashir’s possible funding sources, a bank heist in Medan last year, was justified by the bank robbers in terms of Islamic sharia finance principles.  (Which we also suggested at the time, here.)  Since riba is a detested concept within Islam, the robber took the money jihad to its next logical conclusion and made the bank pay for its “sin.”  The position is also in line with the views of jihadi cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, British Muslim Anjem Choudary, and North Carolina terror cell organizer Daniel Patrick Boyd.

As to what the robbers did with their spoils, there are conflicting reports, although one-fifth of it (khums on ghanima, anyone?) may have ended up in Bashir’s purse.  From the Jakarta Globe on Apr. 5:

Bashir Witness Claims CIMB Niaga Heist Was to Fund Jihad

A deadly heist at a CIMB Niaga bank branch in Medan last year was carried out to fund jihad, a suspected militant told the court on Monday at the trial of controversial cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.

“The money was intended for Jihad Fisabilillah,” or struggling in the name of Allah, said Beben Khairul Banin, who is being tried separately for the Aug. 18 robbery that left one police officer dead.

“We will fight against anything considered an affront to Islam,” he told the South Jakarta District Court.

Banks are among the targets “because they seek interest, which is against Islamic law,” he said.

Beben said he was paid Rp 10 million ($1,150) after the bank heist, but he had no idea what happened to the rest of the money.

Police said the CIMB Niaga bank heist and a series of other robberies at banks, Internet cafes and a money changer in Medan last year were intended to finance the operations of a paramilitary training camp in Aceh, allegedly funded by Bashir…

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