Charity raised zakat in France for jihad in SyriaDecember 8, 2014
Two leaders of an Islamic charity in Paris have been indicted for raising money for terrorists in Syria and Iraq including al-Nusra Front. (Hat tip to El Grillo and Sal.) The charity, Pearl of Hope, had its assets frozen in January and was closed by authorities in November. A French news weekly reported that Pearl of Hope collected 60,000 to 100,000 euros (75K-130K USD), but it is unclear if all of that went to Syria and Iraq, or if it included the charity’s operations in Gaza.
The founder and president the charity, Yasmine Znaidi, responded by saying, “My crime is to be Muslim.” She has previously claimed to be mostly interested in helping orphans and distributing baby milk. The website OnIslam referred to the charity’s closure as the result of the “government’s witch hunt” against Muslim charitable giving.
Actually, the hands of authorities seem to have been forced by the behavior of Znaidi’s colleague, Nabil Ouerfelli, who posted incendiary comments along with photos of weapons and the black flag of jihad on Facebook while he fought alongside other jihadists in Syria. Ouerfelli had also taken 10,000 euros in cash with him to Syria.
The website Dreuz was critical of the the delay in acting against Pearl of Hope, noting that the charity has has been engaged in financing terrorism in Gaza for a couple years, but that French authorities ignored their activities until they crossed the line by working with jihadists in Syria and Iraq. Dreuz also notes that Comité de Bienfaisance et de Secours aux Palestiniens (CBSP) has routinely transferred money to Hamas, but has not been held accountable by French authorities. The U.S. lists CBSP as a specially designated global terrorist entity, and CBSP was named in the terror finance lawsuit against Arab Bank as well as suits against Credit Lyonnais.