Archive for July, 2012

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Muslim tomb raiders loot timeless treasures

July 23, 2012

From Timbuktoo to Cairo, Islamic grave robbers are pilfering history’s treasures.  It’s all permitted by Islam because the artifacts themselves are un-Islamic.

This special report came to us from NBC’s Rock Center in late June, and didn’t get enough attention at the time:

…What can’t be covered up is the damage that some of their brethren have already inflicted on Egypt’s pre-Islamic monuments.  Outside Saqqara, the site of Egypt’s oldest pyramid, Rock Center visited a mosque that had been hastily built atop a causeway to a Pharaonic  temple in the weeks just after the revolution.  The men were putting the final touches on the main prayer hall and claimed that 10,000 villagers had helped clear out the refuse and support them in a dispute with Egypt’s Antiquities Department.

“They were all celebrating that a garbage dump will become a mosque and that there will be a prayer to God,” said Emad Gouda.   The problem according Mohammed Mehagid, the young antiquities inspector at Saqqara who also backed the revolution, is that local people living near archaeological sites were never educated about their cultural value.  Few had ever visited  Egyptian monuments where millions of tourists had already tread.

“For 30 years of Mubarak reign … people were feeling that it’s not our country anymore so when the revolution came they thought ‘O.K. We have to take revenge’ and this [is] what happened in antiquities,” he said.

But why take revenge against your own past?  Consider what the assassin of Mubarak’s predecessor said when he shot President Anwar Sadat: “I have killed the Pharaoh.”

“You have to understand that, before the revolution, people called the police “hukuma” which means government,” said the young antiquities inspector.  “So when they broke in ancient tombs, they were very happy to do this against police and the state.”

They were also happy to put some money in their pockets, in a country where most people survive on $2 a day. And, with the police discredited and practically in hiding, thieves and looters could now sometimes brazenly loot the country’s treasures.

According to Egypt’s Interior Ministry and figures published by the Associated Press, the number of illegal digs has increased by 100 times to a mind boggling 5,697 cases.  Since the revolution, there have been 1,467 cases of illicit trading in antiquities and 130 attempts to smuggle them abroad. Thirty-five people have been killed while looting Egypt’s treasures, including 10 people buried alive just outside the tourist mecca of Luxor.

Crawling into one of these rabbit holes, while following a prospective looter who had dug 60 feet under his own home, revealed a network of ant trails ending up in a subterranean burial chamber held up by rough hewed column.  But the man, who had painstakingly dug out this ancient site with his own hands, wasn’t concerned by a potential cave in.  He was more afraid of the ‘jin’ or genies, spirits who he believes still guard ancient treasures.

“If there are any evil spirits or jins here, I read holy verses from the Koran,” he said. “So my protection is provided by God.”

WordPress won’t let us embed the video, but you can see it here on MSNBC.

Oh yeah, and we’re still giving hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid to Egypt.

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Hamas mandates zakat in Gaza

July 21, 2012

This Ramadan, Hamas is joining the ranks of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Sudan in making zakat compulsory on people and businesses in Gaza.

The Koran mandates that zakat, the two and one-half percent wealth tax of Islam, be allocated to eight groups of people, one of which is those fighting for the cause of Allah.  Hamas probably justifies this new levy partly on that basis.  Corruption in Gaza is well known, and this money will never make it into the pockets of the poor as “alms.”  It’ll just be more cash for Hamas officials to play with.

Recall that Ramadan, which began yesterday, is the major fundraising season for Islam via zakat.  Many Islamists rightly realize that Ramadan is their biggest opportunity for revenues to sustain themselves over the coming year.

From AFP on July 17:

Gaza to make alms giving compulsory

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas ruling Gaza said on Tuesday is to begin deducting the previously optional “zakat,” or alms, from firms and individuals during Ramadan.

The Zakat Foundation created by Hamas will begin deducting the money during the Muslim holy fasting month that begins on Thursday or Friday “from the taxes on firms,” its chief Rami al-Khatib told AFP.

“This will begin as an optional measure before becoming obligatory,” he said, adding that the authorities would strive “not to increase the amounts” to be deducted from individuals.

Khatib said the aim was to “collect funds for zakat and distribute it to the poor.”

In the West Bank, the rival Palestinian Authority’s religious affairs minister Mahmud Habbash said the decision was illegal.

“We warn citizens against this because it’s illegal,” he told a news conference in the town of Ramallah. “What’s dangerous is that they want to oblige people to pay zakat and that’s illegal and raises many doubts.”

The move amounted to “a threat for zakat funds,” he said.

Happy Ramadan!

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HSBC flouted warnings, cozied up to IBBL

July 20, 2012

A report by the U.S. Senate has documented extensive ties between HSBC and Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL), the biggest sharia bank in Bangladesh.  HSBC engaged in business activity with the Bangladeshi financial institution despite ample evidence of IBBL facilitating terrorist financing.

As previous Money Jihad coverage has shown, IBBL helped bankroll the dangerous spread of Wahhabi Islam in Bangladesh.  Last year, IBBL was also named by its own government for diverting zakat to fund militant jihad, and one of its sharia board advisers was arrested an interrogated for an attack against police officers.  And that was without even knowing the contents of this report, which are quite damning.

IBBL remains one of the world’s worst examples of the nexus between sharia finance and terror finance.  But HSBC didn’t seem to mind too much.

From Wednesday’s Daily Star:

Terror financed due to HSBC failure

US probe into British bank’s operation in Bangladesh exposes links of 2 local Islamic banks

Terror sharia bank worked closely with HSBC

Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd and Social Islami Bank Ltd came into the spotlight yesterday for their alleged links to terrorist financing after a US Senate report exposed British banking giant HSBC’s internal governance failure to control flows of suspect funds.

Click here to read Full Text of US report

One of the banks was allegedly funding al-Qaeda, and Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law held shares in a company that has shares in the bank.

In all these cases, profit motive rather than cautions from various levels within the bank and standard procedures ruled the game.

More thoughts were given to the bank’s making $47,000 in revenue that might go up to $75,000 a year later than to the terrorist links the banks allegedly had, or the US authorities’ view of the banks.

A report of the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, a congressional watchdog panel, has revealed these troubling information which show a “pervasively polluted” culture at HSBC Holdings Plc.

The bank acted as financier to clients seeking to route shadowy funds from the world’s most dangerous and secretive corners, including Mexico, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria, according to the report.

The US report also mentioned that Al Rajhi Bank, a Saudi bank, was involved in suspicious transactions.

HSBC apologised to the US Senate, saying it takes “compliance with the law, wherever it operates, very seriously”.

In one instance, when Islami Bank wanted to open a US dollar account with the HSBC US office, questions were raised about the Saudi bank Al Rajhi’s 37 percent ownership in Islami Bank. Ears of HSBC’s anti-money laundering unit were cocked.

But the then head of HSBC Global Banknotes, Chris Lok, felt that his interest in considering a new account depended upon whether there was enough potential revenue to make.

“Is this an account worth chasing….How much money can you expect to make from this name? It’s just that if the revenue is there then we are prepared for a good fight,” he wrote. “The money is there and we should go for this account.”

“Then Lok and others approved the account despite questions about its [Islami Bank] primary shareholder Al Rajhi Bank, whose past links to terrorist financing had received attention in the media …and troubling information about Islami Bank itself,” the senate report said.

HSBC’s own Financial Intelligence Group (FIG) unit had reported that Shaikh Abdur Rahman, chief of Bangladesh’s terrorist outfit JMB, had an account with Islami Bank. Bangladesh Bank found that two branches of Islami Bank had been engaged in “suspicious transactions” and urged the bank to take action against 20 bank employees for failing to report the suspicious transactions, according to the FIG report.

Six top militants including JMB chief Abdur Rahman and his deputy Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai were executed for killing two Jhalakathi judges in 2007.

HSBC’s Know Your Customer unit had reported that Islami Bank be classified as a highest risk client but HSBC rejected the suggestion. It meant HSBC did not subject the bank to any enhanced monitoring.

HSBC’s another internal report said a Saudi NGO, International Islamic Relief Organisation (IIRO), had been implicated in terrorist financing by the US government and included on the list of those prohibited to do business in the US. The IIRO had accounts with both Islami Bank and Social Islami Bank, and yet HSBC’s Compliance Department denied an internal request of due diligence on the bank.

“Today, although HSBC exited the US banknotes business in 2010, Islami Bank remains a customer of two dozen HSBC affiliates,” the report said.

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Vijri declares 12 investments off limits

July 19, 2012

Orlando sharia service shuns cinema investments

Vijri Investments, one of 67 sharia finance institutions active in the U.S. named in a recent list compiled by Shariah Finance Watch, offers an investment management service called “ShariaPortfolio” that forbids investments in several traditional industries of the American economy.

ShariaPortfolio says it uses rules from the international sharia finance body AAOIFI to screen equities for their permissibility under Islamic law.  From ShariaPortfolio’s FAQ page:

Business activities screens
Companies are only to be considered compliant from a business perspective if the cumulative revenue from non-compliant activities and non-operating interest income does not exceed 5% of their total income. Non-compliant income sources include the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Gambling
  • Tobacco
  • Adult Entertainment
  • Pork Products
  • Hotels
  • Cinema/Broadcasting
  • Music
  • Defense
  • Interest Income
  • Conventional Insurance Companies
  • Conventional Financial Services

Hotels, movies, and music—all forbidden?  Marriott?  Haram!  Walt Disney?  Haram!  Sony?  Haram!

Vijri Investments is based in Florida with corporate headquarters in the Orlando area.  If their ShariaPortfolio service rejects investments in “cinema/broadcasting,” shouldn’t these sharia hypocrites close their headquarters and move away from Disney?

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UNRWA joins with pro-Hamas charity in Gaza

July 18, 2012

You didn’t think that international donor aid only helped Hezbollah did you?

UNRWA has announced a joint project with Human Appeal International, an Islamic charity that has been revealed to be a member of the Union of Good charity network that supports Hamas.  The project is intended to help “education,” and we can expect that the curriculum will not be moderate, peaceful, tolerant, or secular.

Hat tip to Twitter user Sharkiya East ‏@Sharkiya for the insight and link to UNRWA’s press release:

Human Appeal International and UNRWA launch education project in Gaza

29 June 2012
Gaza

UNRWA and Human Appeal International, an Emirati NGO based in the Emirate of Ajman, have launched their first joint education project in Gaza. Under the project, nine additional classrooms will be constructed at the Al Durj Primary School in Gaza City. A ceremony held to mark the signing of the agreement between the Agency and the contractor was attended by the director of Human Appeal in Gaza, Mr. Imad Haddad, and the deputy director of UNRWA operations in Gaza, Mr. Scott Anderson.

Welcoming this contribution, Mr. Anderson said: “Providing education is one of the Agency’s most important interventions in Gaza, and we are delighted that Human Appeal International has come on board with us as a partner. These new classrooms will go a significant way in easing the strain on space in Al Durj School. UNRWA, the students, and the teachers are very grateful to Human Appeal International for its support.”

Mr. Imad Haddad, director of Human Appeal in Gaza, said: “We look forward to continuing our co-operation with UNRWA in different fields such as health, relief and social services, and especially education. This latest project builds upon our past efforts in Gaza, especially during the 2008-2009 war, and we hope to take further steps towards enhancing co-operation in the future.”

Al Durj Primary School currently educates 1900 students in two shifts. The new classrooms will help to ease the overcrowding that has been endemic in Gaza schools by providing additional learning space for some 630 students in the morning and afternoon sessions. Due to increasing need for places in UNRWA schools in Gaza, students are often crowded into classrooms with insufficient space, with three children frequently having to sit on desks designed for just two students, which has affected concentration levels and academic achievement.

UNRWA provides education to some 218,000 children in Gaza in 243 schools, many of which suffer from overcrowding and run-down premises as rapid population growth rates have increased demand on UNRWA schools. To address this, UNRWA with the support of its generous donors, has embarked on a plan to construct additional schools and classrooms across the Gaza Strip.

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HSBC could face billion dollar fine

July 17, 2012

HSBC officials will appear before a U.S. Senate committee hearing today.  Analysts expect “a withering review of problems at HSBC and transactions tied to Iran, terrorist financing and drug cartels, according to people familiar with a report the panel has drafted on its investigation.”  ING was recently fined $600 million for similar misbehavior, and IBTimes is predicting the fine for HSBC could be as high as $1 billion:

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Tribal chiefs reject al-Shabaab’s tax bill

July 16, 2012

In late June, government forces captured several strongholds that al-Shabaab used to collect revenues from the public.  While al-Shabaab a terrorist organization with one of the biggest budgets in the world, it has a high burn rate.  It uses its money to feed, clothe, and arm its fighters, and to administer its perpetual war against the population and the government.  Without the revenue bases and facing continued military opposition, al-Shabaab has issued a plea for funds from the same tribes they have oppressed.  From Sabahi on June 26:

Al-Shabaab leader appeals for donations as security forces push forward

Following the capture of a number of key town and port cities by Somali and allied forces in recent weeks, the al-Shabaab movement is beginning to show significant financial strain.

In an audio message posted in an Islamist chat room on Saturday (June 23rd), Sheikh Yusuf Isse “Kaba-kutukade” — the al-Shabaab leader for Lower Shabelle — called on Somali businessmen, expatriates and supporters in exile to make donations to the organisation so it can defend itself and protect the dwindling areas under its control.

“I urge you to respond to this movement with goodness and virtue, and give your money and sacrifice yourselves in the name of the true path of jihad,” he said in his message.

Fadumo Mohamed Sheikh Nur of the Somali Ministry of Defence said al-Shabaab is showing severe signs of financial strain and has regressed in its fighting tactics as a result of internal conflicts within the group.

“Al-Shabaab announced it was under the strain of a severe financial crisis and may not be able to continue fighting […] because their ammunition has run out and because of the low morale among senior Somali and foreign leaders, some of whom are detained at the central prison while others surrendered to the government forces over the past four months,” she told Sabahi.

She added that Somali troops are expanding the scope of their fighting in an attempt to crush terrorist groups in the central and southern parts of the country before the transitional government’s mandate expires on August 20th.

Political analyst Amran Jama Aadan said al-Shabaab is becoming unable to defend its strongholds because of the lack of equipment, training and money. As a result, the organisation has resorted to hit and run attacks and guerrilla warfare on military convoys.

Fortunately, the tribal elders aren’t interested in helping al-Shabaab make up for its revenue gap.  More recently on July 3:

Somali tribes reject al-Shabaab call for financing its war efforts

Somali tribal leaders and officials have condemned al-Shabaab’s recent calls for tribes to join the group’s war efforts and fund its terrorist activities.

“Somali tribes have suffered from al-Shabaab’s cruel and criminal activities and now all tribes have become well aware that al-Shabaab is their enemy and the enemy of peace, progress and prosperity,” said Mohamed Hassan Haad, leader of the Hawiye tribe, one of the largest and most widespread tribes in the central areas.

“The tribes have also realised that al-Shabaab has been a plague on the people of Somalia, which is why Somali tribes cannot be accomplices with this group or respond to periodic calls from its leaders,” he said.

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