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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