2011: Sharia bank spent zakat on jihad

January 11, 2012

In January we first learned of a sharia bank in Bangladesh called Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited and its sharia charity, the Islami Bank Foundation, and their link to militant Islam:

Allegations of terror financing against the Bank and its sister concern Islami Bank Foundation surfaced during the tenure of the BNP-led four-party alliance government.

Intelligence agencies at the time found that JMB Amir Sheikh Abdur Rahman and Siddikur Rahman alias Bangla Bhai opened three accounts in Bogra, Naogaon and Jamalpur branches of Islami Bank mainly to send money abroad for terror financing.

During the tenure of the interim government, a task force began more intensive investigation into the allegation against Islami Bank and Islami Bank Foundation, unearthing some strong evidences of militant financing by the Bank and the Foundation.

In early March the news broke that Islami Bank Bangladesh was diverting 8 percent of its bank profits as corporate zakat toward militant jihadist operations. 

The bank later issued a press release with a telling statement that “the Bank always spent its Zakat fund only for the shariah approved purposes.”

Some limits have been imposed on the bank’s activities since the story broke, but hardly enough action has been taken and the bank remains in business.

Islami Bank played a historical role in financing Rabeta Al Islami, a Saudi organization that started working with refugees in Bangladesh in the 1970s in order to establish a militant Sunni network there.

The Islami Bank Bangladesh news should have been one of the most widely reported terror finance cases of the year.  It is a fundamental case because it clearly illustrates the link between sharia finance and funding terrorism.  But it received practically no attention or coverage by Western media last year.


  1. We are very much sorry that you have published a wrong information here. Have you any any evidence to prove it? Do you know the meaning of financing? what is financing? Is Islami bank funded them?

    Anyone can maintain any types of account at any bank. So, how can you say which account holder is terrorist or not…..

    Please don’t tell anything without any legal documents. Islami Bank is operating under the rules and regulations of the central bank of Bangladesh.

    You have to know that Islami Bank is not only recognized by the local people but also globally recognized by various organizations and countries.

    So, please be careful about such type of information.

    • >>Anyone can maintain any types of account at any bank. So, how can you say which account holder is terrorist or not…..

      .. if one goes with your logic, a Islamic weapon shop will never will blamed of weaponizing Jihadis … though international laws specifically prohibit such activities ….. similarly banking Law states banks should crosscheck account holders before offering them service……. rather then offering gateway to Jihadis … something that majority of (or should i say all of ?) Islamic bank do ….

      • how can you ensure that an account holder is a terrorist or not???

  2. Riyadh, this isn’t about account holders funding terrorists. It’s about the bank itself and its sharia advisory diverting a percentage of bank profits to Islamic militants.

    “We are very much sorry that you” did not carefully read the post above or the news articles published in Bangladesh last year or reports on the intelligence gathered by the Bangladesh home ministry.

  3. Who knows better than me about this issue I don’t know. But I know it that Islami Bank itself is not involved, was not involved and never will involved with this issue.

    I’m a Bangladeshi. I know better that somebodies are trying to make our terrorist what we are not….. it’s matter of our dignity as well as our honor….

    Bangladeshi are very much peaceful people. This not my language. This is a statistical report. So, don’t blame us in this issue.

  4. Nobody is blaming all Bangladeshi people.

    Islami Bank was supposed to submit a report to the government of Bangladesh by April 7, 2011, on where the bank has spent its profits, but we haven’t not see the results of that report yet.

    Since you are in Bangladesh, have you heard anything about the results? Has anything been published in non-English newspapers? Do you have any links or documents yourself? Anything you have Riyadh could help us get the fuller picture. Thanks!

  5. Footnote: The “Rabeta Al Islami” referred to above is an alternate spelling & shorthand for Rabita al-Alam al-Islami, which is simply the Arabic name for the Muslim World League (MWL).

    Other Money Jihad coverage on the MWL:

    The allegation apart from Islami Bank Bangladesh’s current corporate zakat scandal is that IBB played a historical role in handling transactions for the Muslim World League’s work in Bangladesh. It’s not surprising that the MWL would seek a sharia bank for assistance.

  6. The Islamic Bank Bangladesh Ltd. is a great, good and secure bank. It is a bank of the poor and the rich in a social bind. It is a bank that generates and spends resources by the soundest participatory financing instruments in and for poverty alleviation, rural and urban development promoting microenterprises, and income-generating activities for development sustainability at the grassroots.

    These are highly specialized activities requiring intensified expenditure of Zakat funds. After such spending is done where can there be monies left for Jihad expenditure? Jihad as war is itself a separately massive activities!

    The fact is this: There are those in Bangladesh — people, government, and organization who are against the wellbeing of the poor people that can be achieved by Zakat funds. Such sources have a bent of mind that is deeply engrossed in interest earnings for their personal benefit.

    Such people and organizations therefore blemish the good, great and secure name of Islamic Bank Bangladesh to create mischief in a fair and equal competition for the good things of life.

    Indeed, IBBL has already been accepted as the best Islamic financing institutions by the Global Finance Forum!!

    It is shame on the blemish-makers who think otherwise.

    Professor Dr. Masudul Alam Choudhury
    universities in Canada & Oman.
    masudc@squ.edu.om; masudc60@yahoo.ca

    • Thank you, Dr. Choudhury, for visiting our blog and for taking the time to comment on this important matter.

      I would like to ask you a follow-up question if I could, please. If the IBBL is innocent in this affair, why would the government of Bangladesh, in particular the home ministry, have said that IBBL was funding militancy with zakat?

    • >>These are highly specialized activities requiring intensified expenditure of Zakat funds.

      I remember that during Pakistan flood, pakistanis spending of Foreign help was extremely discriminatory ( ignoring for a while the fact that the help money also funded terror ); for example the basic needs, like food, was only allocated to Muslims… the only intensified action taken by the ‘charities’ was that Christians and Hindu minorities should not reach the assistance and help without conversion…

      Will you please clarify if zakat can be used to help non-muslim, the people that live in far more miserable state in Bangladesh then the muslim counterpart. ….. or were those “helping the poor” is more a advertisement policy in which you forgot to add a “condition apply” tag ?

      universities are places where the future of a country is written, i would love to hear the dark side of islamic banking too, ….. certainly this i can ask a professor from a secular university …

      will wait for your reply


  7. We are islamic group we want to fight al qaida we want to help us if you can

    • Great. Maybe if you could help publicize this blog that would help people understand and stop the financing of Al Qaeda. Please encourage the members of your group to visit & subscribe to this blog and follow us on Twitter.

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