Archive for August, 2012

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Index reveals corruption rife in Islamic world

August 13, 2012

When we post articles about financial crimes, corruption, graft, bribery, and theft in predominantly Muslim nations, we are sometimes told that we’re being biased, because corruption is a “global” or a “third world” problem.

Of course corruption is universal, but we shouldn’t just through our hands up in the air and say, “everybody does it,” and willfully ignore where it is the biggest problem.  Any suggestion that there may be a correlation between such activity and religion or culture is immediately dismissed as “racist,” “Islamophobic,” etc.

But shouldn’t we at least look at the evidence?  Transparency International’s annual corruption index provides some insight.  Their list is based on “surveys and assessments [that] include questions related to the bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, and the effectiveness of public sector anti-corruption efforts.”

Notice that of TI’s top 10 cleanest nations–those perceived to have the smallest levels of public corruption–nine are predominantly Christian while one, Singapore, is plurality Buddhist:

  1. New Zealand
  2. Denmark
  3. Finland
  4. Sweden
  5. Singapore
  6. Norway
  7. Netherlands
  8. Australia
  9. Switzerland
  10. Canada

Further notice that of the worst 10 countries, six are majority Muslim, with North Korea and Somalia coming in last out of 182 countries rated:

173.  Venezuela
174.  Haiti
175.  Iraq
176. Sudan
177. Turkmenistan
178. Uzbekistan
179. Afghanistan
180. Myanmar
181. North Korea
182. Somalia

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Muslim banker under renewed scrutiny

August 12, 2012

Eyes on Yunus

The mainstream media and the Internet search engines have generally circled the wagons to suppress negative news coverage of Muhammad Yunus, a prominent Muslim banker.  Search for his name and you’ll find only glowing, positive biographies and tributes to the man.  But dig a little deeper and you’ll find an increasingly checkered record of financial and legal misdeeds despite the accolades for him from U.S. politicians, journalists, and academics.

Money Jihad remains watchful.  From the Business Recorder earlier this month:

Bangladesh orders new probe into Yunus

August 03, 2012

Bangladesh’s cabinet Thursday ordered a new probe into Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus which will check for irregularities during his time as head of microfinance pioneer Grameen Bank, an official said. The 72-year-old “banker to the poor” was forced from the institution last year, due to what his supporters say is a government vendetta against him.

A separate review of the bank has been underway since May this year. Yunus, who fell out with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after talking about going into politics, was officially fired for exceeding the mandatory retirement age of 60. He challenged the move in the Supreme Court, but lost.

“The investigation will cover the period of beyond that mandatory retirement age and see whether the facilities he enjoyed during that period were lawful,” the government”s cabinet secretary Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said. It will investigate in particular “if he enjoyed any tax exemption when he brought foreign currency home during his tenure as the managing director”, he said.

The findings of the investigation by the Bank and Financial Institution Department and the National Board of Revenue are to be handed to the cabinet within the shortest possible time, he added. Yunus, who won his 2006 Nobel Prize for pioneering the microfinance system in which small loans are made to poor entrepreneurs, is seen as one of the world”s leading anti-poverty activists and has many powerful foreign supporters.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a personal friend, heaped praise on Yunus during a visit to Dhaka in May and urged Hasina’s government to maintain “an environment where civil society groups operate freely”. The same month Yunus expressed fears that the bank he founded to put his concept of microfinance into practice would be taken over by the Bangladesh government.

Don’t forget that Yunus was the subject of an investigation by the government of Norway in 2010 for misappropriating Norwegian donations made to his bank.  Last year, Yunus was released on bail over slander charges from officials in Bangladesh, who have also investigated Yunus for tax evasion.

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Ramadan’s $430 million halal windfall in France

August 10, 2012

Ramadan isn’t just big money for terrorists.  It’s big money for the halal food manufacturers, distributors, and advertisers too.  Particularly in France.  From Voice of America on Jul. 31:

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Iran and Al Qaeda owe $6b; Saudi Arabia, zero

August 9, 2012

Despite ample evidence of Saudi responsibility for the attacks of 9/11, a New York magistrate judge has recommended that Iran, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban pay $6 billion in damages to the families of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist assault, while Saudi Arabia owes nothing.

In fairness to Judge Frank Maas, he was bound by the ruling of Judge George Daniels who denied a motion to reinstate Saudi Arabia as a defendant in the 9/11 compensation trial earlier this year.  But in fairness to Judge Daniels, there would have been a stronger legal justification for naming Saudi Arabia as a defendant if the executive branch of the U.S. government had ever designated Saudi Arabia as a state sponsor of terrorism, which it is.

From the Associated Press via Newsday:

NY judge tells Iran, al-Qaida, Taliban to pay $6B to 9/11 victims

Al-Qaida, the Taliban and Iran should pay $6 billion to relatives of Sept. 11 victims for aiding in the 2001 terrorist attacks, a federal magistrate judge recommended Monday in a largely symbolic decision.

Even though it will be nearly impossible to collect damages, plaintiff Ellen Saracini, whose husband, Victor, was the captain of one of the planes that struck the World Trade Center, told the Daily News (http://nydn.us/OgIS41 ) that she is happy about Manhattan Federal Magistrate Judge Frank Maas’ recommendation.

“It’s hard being happy, but I am happy about it,” said Saracini, of Yardley, Pa. “But it opens up old wounds. We were never in it for a lawsuit. I wanted to know what happened to my husband.”

Last year, Judge George Daniels signed a default judgment on the lawsuit brought by relatives of 47 victims. He found al-Qaida, the Taliban and Iran liable and asked the magistrate to determine damages. Maas’ ruling Monday is a recommendation to Daniels, who can accept it or amend it.

Maas calculated punitive and compensatory damages for each of the plaintiffs and their lost family members.

Daniels ruled last year that the plaintiffs had established that the 2001 attacks were caused by the support the defendants provided to al-Qaida. The findings said Iran continues to provide material support and resources to al-Qaida by providing a safe haven for al-Qaida leadership and rank-and-file members.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly denied any Iranian connection in the Sept. 11 attacks or with al-Qaida.

Al-Qaida and Iran are natural enemies but have had a relationship of convenience based on their shared adversary, the United States. Iran allowed several of the 9/11 hijackers to pass through the country, but the 9/11 Commission found no evidence that Iran was aware of the planned attack.

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Overlooked Saudi Arabia ruling: off the hook

August 8, 2012

This is what we get for reading the mainstream media.  Totally missed this report back on March 16 from The Jurist (internal hyperlinks omitted):

Federal judge dismisses motion to reinstate Saudi Arabia as 9/11 defendant

Sung Un Kim

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) on Thursday dismissed a motion to reinstate Saudi Arabia as a defendant in the civil compensation lawsuit by victims and commercial insurers against the perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Judge George Daniels found no sufficient basis to grant the plaintiffs’ motion, noting that such a motion was already presented to SDNY and rejected in 2005 by Judge Richard Conway Casey, who dismissed Saudi Arabia as a defendant at that time. For grounds to reopen the case, the plaintiffs cited a November decision of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that allowed a similar claim to proceed against Afghanistan, but Daniels stated that decision does not allow the claim against Saudi Arabia to be reinstated because the case was closed years ago and the recent Second Circuit decision has no bearing. The plaintiffs nevertheless plan to appeal the dismissal. Lawyers for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia noted the claim has already lost on appeal of the 2005 rejection, and the US Supreme Court at that time reviewed but declined to hear the case. The plaintiffs originally sued over 200 entities and governments–about 100 are still listed as defendants, and active litigation concerns less than 10.

The claim against Saudi Arabia was dismissed in 2008 by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit because there was insufficient evidence that the Kingdom’s princes had actual knowledge that their money was going to be used in the 9/11 attacks. Even after 10 years, cases brought by victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack against other governmental entities did not come to an end. In December, Iran denied the allegations that it was actively involved in the terrorist attack after a default judgment in Havlish v. Bin Laden. In June Judge Daniels dismissed 49 other terrorism lawsuits based on lack of evidence.

If the U.S. had named Saudi Arabia as a state sponsor of terrorism, which in reality it is, that probably would have enabled the case against Saudi Arabia to proceed.

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Ethiopia rightly suspects zakat; arrests 6 Saudis

August 7, 2012

Ethiopia has arrested six Saudi nationals who were caught distributing funds for terrorist operations.  The Saudi embassy claims that the operatives were distributing “charity” and “donations.”  Thankfully, the historically Christian empire of Ethiopia isn’t buying the spin, and is beginning to take the threat of Wahhabi money seriously.

From the African Globe on Jul. 24:

Ethiopia Arrest Saudi Arabians On Suspicion of Financing Terror

Ethiopian authorities on Sunday have arrested six Saudi Arabian nationals on suspicion of financing terrorist activities in the country. Saudi Arabian media claim that the six Saudi nationals were distributing “charity” to Muslims in the Ethiopian capital.

A senior official at the Saudi Embassy in Addis Ababa said that all six Saudis were detained while distributing “donations”. A lawyer appointed by the Saudi Embassy is following up with investigations and trying to get the Saudis released, the official claim.

Last Saturday, Ethiopian police clashed with scores of Muslims protesters complaining that the state is interfering in their religion, witnesses and officials said. The protesters, some wearing masks, blocked the entrance of the Anwar Mosque in the west of the capital Addis Ababa and hurled stones at riot police who had surrounded the compound after noon prayers.

Thousands of Muslims have staged sporadic street protests in the capital since late last year, arguing that the government is promoting an alien branch of Islam, the Al Ahbash sect, which is avowedly apolitical and has numerous adherents globally.

The government denies promoting Al Ahbash, but is determined to prevent Islamic militancy and war mongering spilling over from neighbouring Sudan or lawless Somalia.

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5 ways to fight zakat for jihad

August 6, 2012

Zakat, the Muslim wealth tax and pillar of Islam from which profits can funneled to the mujahideen, has been used repeatedly to fund jihadist operations across the world including the 9/11 terror attacks and the Iraq insurgency.  Despite zakat’s bone-chilling track record, it is extremely unlikely if not impossible to impose an outright ban the practice.

That doesn’t mean we can afford to shrug our shoulders and do nothing to counter the violent, jihadist stream of zakat to terrorism.  We certainly should not, as Pres. Obama said in Cairo, promote zakat-giving by American Muslims.

Here are five models that could be used individually, but preferably in tandem to achieve the best results, to limit the ability of zakat solicitors and donors to use the funds for militant purposes:

5.  The NYPD surveillance model.  The New York Police Department’s surveillance program has been criticized by the Leftist media and Muslim “rights” agitators.  But the NYPD approach offers one of the few hands-on, common sense methods of determining which mosques and charities knowingly undertake to fund terrorism overseas and at home.  Embedding undercover mosque crawlers is not a violation of civil liberties or the freedom to worship—it is a sensible measure based on experience.  The NYPD model could be employed by major metropolitan police departments in places such as Chicago, Minneapolis, and Dearborn.

4. Improved state regulatory oversight.  In the U.S., charities are regulated at the state level, as they should be.  The federal government does not have the enumerated constitutional authority or the wisdom to regulate philanthropy.  But state governments and their top charitable regulators—usually either the state’s secretary of state or attorney general—can and must exercise their authority to oversee nonprofit entities.  The state elected officials should improve their provision of searchable, online records of charities’ registration and renewal documents, and should require the disclosure of information about the president and boards of the charities, etc.  Citizens should be aware of the important role that these statewide elected officials play in shining the sunlight, particularly on small Islamic charities that lack transparency.  Nationwide crackdowns on disreputable charities such as the “Operation False Charity” initiative should be replicated against Muslim organizations that purport to solicit donations for charity, but actually use them for Wahhabi and jihadi endeavors.

3.  The Canadian model.  The Canadian Revenue Agency has done a commendable job of carefully examining the charitable credentials of Islamic entities.  CRA has recently revoked the tax-exempt status of several of Canada’s most dubious Islamic charities including WAMY, the World Islamic Call Society, and IRFAN.  The IRS should take a page from Canada’s book and immediately strip IFANCA of its 501(c)3 status, for example.

2.  Sanctions model.  The authority to designate foreign charities as terrorist entities has been used somewhat appropriately by successive leaders at the State and Treasury Departments, but there are glaring examples of foreign philanthropic foundations that have not been designated due to diplomatic sensitivities.  The Saudi-based International Islamic Relief Organization has never been designated although its branches in the Philippines and Indonesia have been recognized by the U.S. as Al Qaeda affiliates.  The Muslim World League and the World Association of Muslim Youth are two other examples of “humanitarian” religious agencies that provide significant Saudi financial support for terrorism.  The U.S. has designated the Union of Good as a terrorist network, but it has not identified the member organizations of UoG (although Israel has).  We’re never going to confront the problem of Saudi terror funding through zakat unless we’re willing to name and shame the biggest Saudi perpetrators.

1.  The Bush/HLF model. The successful prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation for funding Hamas offers an aggressive law enforcement model that would require a renewed federal commitment.  Raids, seizures, and closures of suspect organizations and charities can take place under the executive order authorities of the President or ordinary criminal warrants.  The worst Islamic charities should be prosecuted under the material support provisions of the the Patriot Act.  We have to put the leaders of the worst offending Islamic charities into orange jumpsuits to set the example for other Muslims who wish to do the same.

Sadly, the Obama administration has tended to pursue a far more limited “settlement model,” in which the Department of Justice enters settlements and U.S. attorney agree to plea deals with jihadists’ attorneys.  Yes, some go-getter U.S. attorneys have continued to prosecute individual terror financiers and even a Hezbollah funding network.  But the big picture strategy of investigating, closing, and prosecuting major Islamic charities has been totally abandoned by the Obama administration.