How jizya funds terror groupsMarch 21, 2014
The traditional Islamic tax on non-Muslims, jizya, which is imposed by various terrorist and militant groups across the Islamic world today, is frequently viewed singularly as a problem of religious persecution.
While the maltreatment of non-Muslim minorities is indeed a serious problem, what’s often overlooked is how jizya serves as a revenue generator for terrorist groups. It’s time to look at some of the basics of this problem:
Who benefits from jizya?
What do they spend jizya on?
- Paying wages to fighters and operatives
- Buying weapons, equipment, and supplies. (For example, the Assyrian International News Agency reported that one jizya collector “demanded 10,000 Egyptian pounds so that he could buy weapons.” Another observer recently wrote that the imposition of jizya in Iraq is because “ISIL needs money to buy arms off the black market.”)
- Planning and carrying out terrorist attacks
Where does this happen?
Officially, jizya was collected by the Caliphate for twelve centuries from the time of Muhammad at least until the Tanzimat decree of the Ottoman Empire in 1856, and existed in a more limited form under alternate names into the 1900s. Jizya has experienced a revival over the last two decades, during which time it has been collected mostly by non-state actors, but sometimes with government approval right up to the present day.
In addition to being a terrorist income source, jizya is mandated by the Qur’an and serves as an inducement to non-Muslims to convert to Islam.
Jizya can no longer be written off or ignored by count-terror analysts solely as an indicator of religious persecution. It must be viewed as a threat and risk to security because its collection in modern times primarily benefits terrorists.