Archive for October, 2011

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Al Qaeda audio seeks money in English

October 23, 2011

Remember this post from last year about Osama bin Laden’s desire to establish a global Islamic (front) charity and relief organization?

At the time, Money Jihad urged the U.S. Treasury Department to be vigilant for any signs of bin Laden’s dangerous idea becoming a reality.

Now it looks as though bin Laden’s dying wish may become true.  Abu Abdulla Almuhajir, a Muslim who once lived in the U.S., is reported to have delivered food aid, hijabs, and Korans from al Qaeda to Somalia, in mid-October.

He also delivered an audio statement seeking “obligatory” assistance from Muslims around the world.  Mimicking the language of the Koran, the Hadith, and bin Laden himself about striving with one’s wealth for jihad, Almuhajir told the Somalis, “In addition to sacrificing his wealth and his life in the path of Allah though waging Jihad, the Sheikh [Osama bin Laden] greatly emphasised the importance of Muslims supporting each other…”  Somali War Monitor provides a transcription of the full statement, but here’s the most salient excerpt along with Almuhajir in his own voice:

In addition to sacrificing his wealth and his life in the path of Allah though waging Jihad, the Sheikh greatly emphasised the importance of Muslims supporting each other, and he brought attention to the dilemmas affecting Muslims around the world. The most recent example of which is, the major flood that affected the millions Muslims in Pakistan, and today with graceful departure of our beloved sheikh and that beacon of Tawheed (monotheism) May Allah have mercy upon him, Al-Qaeda under the leadership of Sheikh Ayman Al-Zawahiri may Allah protect him, continuously highlights the plight of the Ummah and continuously supports them with every means at their disposal.

In a recent release Sheikh Ayman brought the drought in Somalia to the attention of the Muslim Ummah and encouraged to support their brothers in Somalia, and insha’allah (Allah willing) with this message some of what your brothers in Al-Qaeda have been able to gather will be distributed to our brothers and sisters, to our families in the land of the two migrations.

We would also like to take the opportunity to encourage Muslims all around the world, to come to the assistance of their brothers and sisters in Somalia, and it is obligatory on every Muslim to assist their needy brother and sisters…

The fund-raising appeal to all Muslims around the world delivered in English with an American accent probably suggests Al Qaeda’s desire to solicit zakat from Muslims in the United States.

Referring to the leadership of Al Qaeda, a spokesman for al-Shabaab accompanying Almuhajir also said, “they previously spoke of aiding muslims… and today they make good upon that which they preached since it is also the conclusion of their drought campaign,” referring to flood relief in Pakistan.  Indeed.

Is Washington, D.C., paying attention to this shift in Al Qaeda’s public relations strategy to fulfill their global relief pledge?  Mind you, Al Qaeda’s core mission of killing infidels remains unchanged, but seeking a “charitable” cover could become a central part of Al Qaeda’s effort to dupe people into defending the organization the same way that gullible Westerners defend Hamas and Hezbollah.

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Video: Sen. Kirk confirms ISI funds Haqqani

October 21, 2011

Money Jihad noted over a year ago that the Haqqani network is probably funded by Pakistan’s spy agency, the ISI.

Navy reservist and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) gives the most recent first-hand confirmation of this disturbing fact in a new video (h/t The Cable) released after his recent two-week annual training to Afghanistan.  Sen. Kirk notes that “The Pakistani government continues to provide financing, operational support, and protection for the Haqqani network in western Pakistan.”  Take a look:

The ISI’s financial and administrative support for the Haqqani network is especially troubling in light of a new CENTCOM report this week that described Haqqani network as more dangerous to the U.S. than the Taliban or Al Qaeda.  Remarkably, there are still people—especially senior State Department officials—who think the U.S. should be supporting the government of Pakistan through foreign aid.

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Noorzai brothers acquire millions for Taliban

October 20, 2011

The Taliban, the richest jihadist organization in the world, owes some of its recent financial success to Faizullah and Malik Noorzai, two brothers from Afghanistan who have both performed the hajj and who are each approximately 50 years old.  The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against the duo on Sept. 29 for their roles as financiers for the Taliban.  Malik, who according to Reuters is living in Pakistan, has already denied that he’s given money to anybody, but Faizullah is mum.

What’s interesting is the Noorzai brothers funding methods:  Faizullah obtained over a hundred grand from (big surprise here) Arab donors from Gulf nations.  He also collected “tens of thousands” through his Afghan-Pakistan border madrassa.  Malik also received money from Gulf donors under the cover of fake investments and through a sizable hawala account.

Here’s the skinny from Treasury:

Hajji Faizullah Khan Noorzai (Faizullah)
Faizullah has served as a prominent Taliban financier with whom senior Taliban leaders invested funds. He has collected more than $100,000 for the Taliban from donors in the Gulf and in 2009 gave a portion of his own money to the Taliban.

Faizullah also financially supported a Taliban commander in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan and has provided funding to assist with training Taliban and al-Qa’ida fighters who were to conduct attacks against coalition and Afghan military forces.

In addition to his financial support, Faizullah has facilitated Taliban training and operations. As of mid-2009, Faizullah supplied weapons, ammunition, explosives, and medical equipment to Taliban fighters from southern Afghanistan. In mid-2008, Faizullah was responsible for housing Taliban suicide bombers and moving them from Pakistan into Afghanistan. Faizullah has also provided anti-aircraft missiles to the Taliban, helped move Taliban fighters around Helmand Province, Afghanistan, facilitated Taliban suicide bombing operations and has given radios and vehicles to Taliban members in Pakistan.

As of mid-2009, Faizullah operated a madrassa near the Afghanistan/Pakistan border, where tens of thousands of dollars were raised for the Taliban. Faizullah’s madrassa grounds were used to provide training to Taliban fighters in the construction and use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and as of late 2007, his madrassa was used to train al-Qa’ida fighters who were later sent to Kandahar Province.

Hajji Malik Noorzai (Malik)
Malik is a Pakistan-based businessman who, with his brother Faizullah, has invested millions of dollars in various businesses for the Taliban.  In late 2008, Taliban representatives approached Malik as a businessman with whom to invest Taliban funds. Since at least 2005, Malik has personally contributed tens of thousands of dollars and distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Taliban, some of which was collected from donors in the Gulf region and Pakistan and some of which was Malik’s own money. Malik also handled a hawala account in Pakistan that received tens of thousands of dollars transferred from the Gulf every few months to support Taliban activities.

Malik has also facilitated Taliban activities in other ways. As of 2009, he had served for 16 years as the chief caretaker of a madrassa near the Afghanistan/Pakistan border that was used by the Taliban to indoctrinate and train recruits. Malik delivered funds that supported the madrassa, among other things.

Malik, along with his brother, has also played a role in storing vehicles to be used in Taliban suicide bombing operations and has helped move Taliban fighters around Helmand Province. As early as 2005, he owned a vehicle import business in Afghanistan that imported vehicles from Dubai and Japan. Malik has also imported auto parts and clothing from Dubai and Japan for his businesses, in which two Taliban commanders have invested. Additionally, in mid- 2010, Malik and his brother secured the release of hundreds of cargo containers, reportedly worth millions of dollars, which Pakistani authorities seized earlier that year because they believed the recipients had a connection to terrorism.

The United Nations Security Council has also sanctioned the Noorzai brothers, calling Faizullah a “prominent Taliban financier. As of mid-2009, supplied weapons, ammunition, explosives and medical equipment to Taliban fighters; and raised funds for the Taliban, and provided training to them, in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region. Has previously organized and funded Taliban operations in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. As of 2010, travelled to and owned businesses in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Japan.”

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Weekly word: Infaq

October 19, 2011

Infaq means “spending.”  Some people explain infaq as a third type of Islamic “charity” along with zakat and sadaqa, but strictly speaking it is not.  “Infaq fi sabil Allah” is spending for the sake of Allah, which suggests spending for the purposes of jihad, dawah, and charity.  S.M. Hasan-uz-Zaman explains:

Infāq literally means spending.  It signifies any spending whether for good cause or bad.  That is why spending by non-believers for opposing Islam, their spending on their wives, spending by hypocrites, spending by Muslims on their wives by way of dower and sustenance are all termed infāq.  Infāq qualifies itself to become virtuous in case it is made for Allah’s pleasure.  It should be done scrupulously without any desire for publicity.*

It is important to understand the concept of infaq by non-Muslims, because it explains part of the hostility of Muslims toward the Western “infidel” economic and financial system.  The Koran declares that infaq by infidels is “like a freezing wind, which falleth upon and destroyeth the cornfields” (3:113 in J.M. Rodwell’s translation of the Koran, 3:117 elsewhere) and, “The infidels spend their riches with intent to turn men aside from the way of God: spend it they shall; then shall sighing be upon them, and then shall they be overcome.  And infidels shall be gathered together into Hell” (8:36).

Supporters of sharia finance have their individual motives, and among them are those who seek not just to provide an alternative investment option to pious Muslims, but to supplant what they deem as an intrinsically untrustworthy, unholy system of Western finance as characterized by their Koran.

*Hasan-uz-Zaman, Syed Muhammad, Economic Guidelines in the Qur’an (Islamabad:  International Institute of Islamic Thought, 1999).

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Zakat, ushr putting JeM back on map

October 18, 2011
Jihadist organization revives

Jaish-e-Muhammad (and Al Rehmat's coordinator, left) sets eyes on Punjab

The jihadist organization Jaish Muhammad, also known as Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), and its “charitable” cohort, Al Rehmat Trust, are off to the fundraising races again.  We first covered the illegal ushr tax collections by JeM in June.  Then this pair of excellent Express Tribune articles further explaining JeM’s fundraising efforts were published in August, but other posts kept getting in the way of covering them here.  So the stories are a little dated, but still far too important to overlook.

JeM may have sent the younger brother of the group’s deceased founder to raise zakat from rich Arab donors in Gulf states like Saudi Arabia.  Worse still, the coordinator of Al Rehmat tells the Tribune that he is able to operate on the ground and raise funds quite openly with the knowledge of provincial authorities.  Pakistani law enforcement shows zero signs of acting against JeM.  Read it all:

Militant group’s resurgence: Dreaded Jaish looks to rise again

ISLAMABAD:

After remaining underground for a decade since being banned in 2001, Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), the second largest jihadi group based in Punjab, has resumed full-scale public activity including fundraising while security agencies appear to be overlooking its ‘resurgence’.

Jaish activists and intelligence officials told The Express Tribune the group is in the process of regaining its traditional physical and financial strength which had dissipated during the ten-year ban imposed by former president Pervez Musharraf. The JeM, they added, is working on a plan to reach out to its activists who had abandoned the organisation after it came on the radar following an attack on the Indian parliament blamed on the group.

JeM is trying to consolidate avenues for fundraising, individual charity from within Pakistan and donations from Gulf states, which were partially blocked during the ban by the country’s security agencies. As a first step, an activist said, it had revived its charity, Al-Rehmat Trust, the group’s humanitarian wing once run by Master Allah Baksh, the father of Jaish founding chief Maulana Masood Azhar, till his death last year.

Maulana Ashfaq Ahmed, who is affiliated with the trust as its coordinator, told The Express Tribune from Bahawalpur, the city in southern Punjab where the organisation is based, that the charity’s fundraising was in full swing in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The trust capitalises on Masood Azhar’s name for recreating the goodwill it once enjoyed when it had fought in Afghanistan along with the Taliban before the regime was driven out of power by international forces. Government agencies have never obstructed the trust’s fundraising in either Punjab or KP, Maulana Ashfaq added. When asked why, he remarked: “You can put this question to the government and its agencies. We operate on the ground. We have a visible presence.”

Led by Azhar, Jaish is the second largest jihadi outfit in the Punjab. Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is the biggest both in terms of the number of activists and infrastructure. Maulana Ashfaq said the trust’s offices were being re-established all over Punjab and KP including Jaish’s traditional strongholds in Kohat district and Hazara region. He added that fund-raising had gained momentum with the advent of Ramazan, but declined to give an approximation of the amount the charity might fetch by Eid. A younger brother of [deceased JeM founder] Masood, Amar Azhar (possibly his codename), was in Saudi Arabia to seek donations from rich businessmen and sympathisers in Gulf states.

Illusion

Officials of law enforcement agencies in Punjab said they had never received orders for a crackdown on the trust since it was not banned by the federal interior ministry. “Provincial authorities can only ban organisations proscribed by the federal government. Otherwise, they can take us to court,” said Senator Pervez Rasheed, an adviser to the Punjab government. Additional Inspector General (Investigations) Punjab police Azam Joya said not a single case against banned organisations for raising funds was referred to provincial law enforcers in recent months.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik was not available for  comment on why an organisation using the name of Jaish chief and sharing its headquarters has not been banned. KP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain also declined to comment on the trust’s activities in the province.

Looking the other way

According to a report in this newspaper, the banned terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad is trying to make a comeback, collecting funds through ‘ushr’ in south Punjab — where the government has failed to collect agriculture tax — and limbering up to claim its pound of flesh in a troubled and confused Pakistan on behalf of its master, al Qaeda. All its banned publications like Al Qalam and Muslim Ummah, together with the banned Al Rasheed Trust’s Zarb-e-Momin and Islam are allowed to be printed by the state through issuance of ABC certificates by the ministry of information and this enables them to solicit advertisements. (Zarb-e-Momin was once edited jointly by the Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar and jailed terrorist Omar Sheikh.)…

The State Department’s 2010 report on global terrorism stated that, “In addition, JEM collects funds through donation requests in magazines and pamphlets.”  In this way it is silimar to the affiliated Harakat ul-Mujahideen, which has also raised zakat from magazine ads.

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U.S. lets $4 billion flow to Middle East, no questions asked

October 17, 2011

Lost in the discussion of how much taxpayer and bondholder funded U.S. foreign aid should be given to Libya‘s thuggish rebels, Egypt‘s Muslim Brotherhood buddies, Osama bin Laden’s hosts in Pakistan, Gaza‘s Jew-hating rabble-rousers, etc., and what types of strings should be tied to that aid, is a discussion of how much wealth produced in America is transferred by Muslim immigrants back to the Middle East with little to no scrutiny of to whom or why that money is being transferred.

World Bank data for 2010 showed that $3.8 billion is remitted from the U.S. to the Middle East each year.  Marketplace maps the top recipient countries:

Money transferred to Arab, Persian world

Lebanon and Jordan wins first and second place in the money grab.

But readers may be somewhat surprised to see that the bronze medal goes to Iran, which receives over $300 million a year in remittances annually from people living in the the United States.  Such transfers to Iran present yet another loophole in the Iran sanctions regime.  Remitters don’t even have to explain the purpose of their transactions, much less endure the “burden” of applying for a waiver, exemption, or special license from sanctions regulator OFAC.

Some of the aid may go to ordinary Iranian families, many of whom are opposed to their government.  However, being subsidized by aid also decreases the likelihood that those families will pressure the Iranian regime to reform.

World Bank data includes only formal transfers, but it is likely that another $6 billion in transferred to the Middle East through the informal and undocumented hawala money transfer system.  Imposing a simple 1 percent tax on such overseas remittances would be a mild, positive step in beginning to track the transactions to countries that intend us harm.

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Improper pilgrimage profits: selling hajj visas

October 16, 2011

In a scandal that reaches into the Saudi embassy in South Africa, an undisclosed number of South African hajj operators are under investigation by the South African Haj & Umrah Council (SAHUC) for selling visas to people outside of South Africa’s hajj quota who have not been properly accredited to participate in the hajj.

During an Oct. 5 broadcast, SAHUC secretary general Shaheen Essop told Radio Islam that the matter “goes beyond a hajj scandal; it’s actually a disgrace.”  Take a listen to this three-minute exchange:

Apparently, the hajj operators were bringing paperwork on behalf of non-accredited hujjaj (pilgrims) to the Saudi embassy in South Africa for visas to be issued.  When pressed by the Radio Islam interviewer on whether Saudi embassy employees were involved in the improper visa issuance (which they most certainly were), Essop carefully avoided implicating the Saudis, saying that SAHUC’s investigation will not penetrate the Saudi embassy due to an “administrative issue related to that.”  However, Essop did disclose later in the interview that the Saudi embassy is conducting an internal investigation.

Selling hajj visas for trade is considered impermissible, although the hajj is well-known to produce enormous annual business for tourism and hospitality sectors both in and outside Saudi Arabia.  Hajj swindles have already been uncovered this year in Tajikstan and Lebanon.

Although the hajj will not take place until early November this year, many South African Muslims, including ones who improperly purchased their visas, have already departed for Saudi Arabia.