Thou shalt not steal (unless for jihad)February 22, 2012
There’s an awful lot of people in the West who believe that bank robberies perpetrated by Muslim groups are just about greed. But that mistaken belief is based on our own preconceived notions and cultural biases. In the American context, greed is attributed to bank robbers—it’s what we’ve always been told by newspapers, Hollywood, and crime novels—and the profit motive makes logical sense.
Not so in the Islamist context. They are stealing money for a purpose larger than themselves. Naturally the soldier-thieves want their cut—that has been part of the Islamic tradition since the days of Muhammad. But they want to invest a portion of the money back into the grand jihad. This is what distinguishes traditional bank robberies in the U.S. context from ongoing bank robberies across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
The Islamists also justify their theft on the basis that the banks charge or offer interest, which is contrary to Islam, or on the basis that the banks use un-Islamic paper currencies, or on the basis that they will use it for jihad which trumps other values, or on the basis of a bigoted stereotype that the international financial is controlled by Jews and can rightfully be therefore be plundered by Muslims.
Now Nigerian interrogators have found out details about the latest robbery-for-jihad scheme from a prominent Boko Haram detainee. Abdul Qaqa says that proceeds from Boko Haram’s thefts are always split in five parts for: 1) the widows of martyred jihadists, 2) the poor, 3) zakat, 4) the thieves themselves, and 5) Boko Haram’s leaders to fund further jihad.
Nigeria: How We Share Boko Haram Loot – Abdul Qaqa
By Malachy Uzendu and Ahmed Mari, 14 February 2012
Abuja and Maiduguri — Interrogation of the spokesman of the killer fundamental Islamic sect, Boko Haram yesterday revealed that the group was also engaged in criminal activities, breaking banks and seeking for money from every available illicit source.
Sources from the nation’s security agencies who have been drilling Alhaji Abu Qaqa, informed that after every robbery operation, the monies realised would be shared out to five groups. It was further gathered that he “married” the wife of their erstwhile leader, Mohammed Yusuf and other wives of deceased members, purporting to be giving them protection.
Qaqa who has been speaking on the exploits of the dreaded body said though they agreed to split such monies into five, “nobody dared ask how the money was spent and nobody dare ask questions for fear of death”.
He added that even those who participated in each bank robbery, were compelled to pay zakat on their share to the leadership, while Shekau would appropriate the other four shares they had collected.
Qaqa, who has been with the a team of interrogators detailed by the National Security Adviser (NSA) to probe all sources of their income, added that even widows whose husbands had died carrying duties assigned to them by the body, would not be pities by Shekau, who would appropriate what should have been handed over to them after each bank robbery.
Security operatives probing the matter are currently comparing the information given out by both Qaqa and Kabiru Sokoto who was re-arrested last Friday so as to ascertain the synergy between them and also to find out more about their sponsors, whom they are already closing in on.
Said Qaqa at yesterday’s interrogation: ” A major source of distrust and acrimony in the group was N41million got from bank robbery that was not accounted for.
“Normally, the money is supposed to be shared to five groups: the less privileged, widows of those that died in the Jihad, Zakat, those that brought in the money and the last to the leadership, to be used in prosecuting the Jihad.
“We don’t know how this money was spent and nobody dare asked questions for fear of death. Even those that took part in the robberies are also always compelled to pay Zakat on their share to the leadership.
“The leader (Shakau) appropriates what goes to the widows, less privileged, Zakat and leadership.
“The leadership also gives out wives of those killed the way he wants and marry some in the name of giving them protection.
“For instance, he’s ‘married’ to one of Mohammed Yusuf’s (deceased leader of the group) wives.
“Everyone lived in fear more of leadership of the group even more than the security agencies. For instance, I never for once believed I could be arrested.
“I thought I was invincible. But now I’ve realised that if I could be arrested, if Abdullahi Damasak, the spiritual adviser, could disappear (arrested), then it’s a matter of time before everyone is caught”.
Sokoto, along with several of their leaders have been arrested by security agencies. Even Alhaji Kabiru Sokoto, who escaped from the hands of his kinsman, Zakari Biu, has equally been re-arrested and undergoing interrogation.
Qaqa disclosed in on a telephone interview with journalists yesterday said arrests of Abul Dardaa and re-arrest of Kabiru Sokoto will not deter them in what he described as Holy war.
He said the killing of their leader late Mohammed Yusuf and some of their sect members did not in any way stop them from what they were doing, as such the arrest of Dardaa and Sokoto is just a will of God and rather than demoralize they would come out stronger in doing what he described as “work of God”.
The spokesman said they made tremendous success, more especially their operation Sunday night according to him they killed many solders in Budum Maiduguri and Baga shores of the Lake Chad and that they were also successful in Kaduna, stressing that security operatives claimed that they killed the intended suicide bomber and that he is with them healthy and hearty and that very soon they would strike again.
He also denied some media reports that the sect forces their members to accept to carry out suicide mission, saying; “how can you force somebody who will gladly wave his people with a smile before embarking on suicide mission”.
“People are claiming that there is faction and ethnicity among our members. We are all united and working for the course of Allah, we are even waxing stronger by the day. We are ready to face the whole world and not only the Nigerian military,” Abul Qaqa said
The group also threatened to attack offices of the telecommunication companies and the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) for collaborating with security agencies in exposing their members.