Saudi Arabia crowns new king who financed jihad

February 2, 2015

In 1978, the Saudi monarchy decided to expand the exportation of fundamentalist Wahhabi Islam across the world through the establishment of the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO). About 10 years later, IIRO’s Philippine branch was established by Osama Bin Laden’s brother-in-law, which subsequently funded Philippine terrorists. By the 2000s, IIRO’s branch in Indonesia began funding Al Qaeda training camps.

The Bush administration designated IIRO-Philippines and IIRO-Indonesia as terrorist entities in 2006. IIRO’s U.S. offices were closed at the time, although IIRO appeared to reopen an office in Florida 2010. IIRO is the fourth best-funded Islamic foundation in the world according to a 2011 study.

The man who selected the leadership of IIRO and approved its spending from its inception is the new king of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz:

Saudi Crown Prince Salman

From the Washington Free Beacon:

…[T]hroughout his public career in government, Salman has embraced radical Muslim clerics and has been tied to the funding of radical groups in Afghanistan, as well as an organization found to be plotting attacks against America, according to various reports and information provided by David Weinberg, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

In 2001, an international raid of the Saudi High Commission for Aid to Bosnia, which Salman founded in 1993, unearthed evidence of terrorist plots against America, according to separate exposés written by Dore Gold, an Israeli diplomat, and Robert Baer, a former CIA officer.

Salman is further accused by Baer of having “personally approved all important appointments and spending” at the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), a controversial Saudi charity that was hit with sanctions following the attacks of September 11, 2001, for purportedly providing material support to al Qaeda.

Salman also has been reported to be responsible for sending millions of dollars to the radical mujahedeen that waged jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s, according to Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer who is now director of the Brookings Intelligence Project.

“In the early years of the war—before the U.S. and the Kingdom ramped up their secret financial support for the anti-Soviet insurgency—this private Saudi funding was critical to the war effort,” according to Riedel. “At its peak, Salman was providing $25 million a month to the mujahedeen. He was also active in raising money for the Bosnian Muslims in the war with Serbia”…


  1. With regard to your recent posting on the King Salman and IIRO I would like to share with you an extract (below) from the Second Report of the special UN Security Council Monitoring Group I which I served (2002-2004). The monitoring group was established pursuant to resolution 1363 (2001) and extended by resolutions 1390 (2002) and 1455 (2003), to oversee the sanctions measures adopted by the Security Council against Al-Qaida, the Taliban and individuals and entities associated with them. The report itself is dated 3 November 2003. Its work was terminated by the Security Council in January 2004, in part because its criticisms cut to deeply. The Full report is available on line at http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2003/1070 Best regards, Victor Comras “39. There continues to be a general reticence to act against charities, even those suspected of channeling funds to Al-Qaida, unless strong evidence is presented and judicial findings can be obtained. This higher standard of proof has inhibited the designation of charities and their inclusion in the list. Only some 17 charities or branches of charities have been designated so far by the Committee. They represent only the tip of the iceberg according to most experts in the field. Even when such charities have been listed there has been an even stronger reticence to go behind the charities, to reach to their directors, donors and fund-raisers. “40. One important example of the use by Al-Qaida of charities and the difficulties in dealing with this issue touches directly on the activities of one of the largest Islamic umbrella charities, the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Most of that organization’s activities, and the activities of its associated charities, relate to religious, educational, social and humanitarian programmes. But IIRO, and some of its constituent organizations, has also been used, knowingly or unknowingly, to assist in financing Al-Qaida. While IIRO has not been presented to the Committee for possible listing, the United States has asked Saudi Arabia to look closely into the organization’s questionable activities. They have also offered to provide investigative assistance in this regard. “41. The International Islamic Relief Organization has branch offices throughout the world, including 36 in Africa, 24 in Asia, 10 in Europe and 10 in Latin America, the Caribbean and North America. The bulk of its financial contributions come from private donations in Saudi Arabia. An endowment fund (Sanabil al-Khair) has been established to generate a stable income to finance its various activities. The charity also works in close association with the Muslim World League. Many prominent Middle East figures and financiers have associated themselves with this mainstream Islamic charity. “42. Evidence produced recently in a Canadian court linked IIRO funding directly to Al-Jihad, a designated entity tied closely to Al-Qaida, and responsible for the bombing in 1998 of the American Embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi.c A recently published report by the United States Central Intelligence Agency also indicated that IIRO fun funds directly supported six Al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan prior to 11 September 2001.d After that date, Pakistan also identified and expelled some two dozen Al-Qaida supporters who had been working for the IIRO-sponsored organizations in Pakistan.e ” 43. Allegations have surfaced in India and the Philippines that local IIRO officers and employees were directly implicated in Al-Qaida-related terrorist activities,including planned attacks against the American Consulates in Madras and Calcutta. The IIRO office in Zamboanga City, the Philippines, reportedly served during the early 1990s as the coordinating centre for secessionist Islamic activities, and as late as 1996 channelled money to the Abu Sayyaf group, another designated entity. That office was established and run by Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, the brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden.a More recently, IIRO, which operates in the United States as the Islamic Relief Organization, was tied to Soliman S. Biheiri and the Safa group of charities now under investigation in the United States for funding Al-Qaida-related activities.b”

  2. Thanks, Mr. Comras, for this information and for your good work on the subject as always!

  3. As an investigator for a global money remitter, I am wishing to learn; what if any information could you provide on HOW money is moved between donors, IIRO and terrorist organizations?

    • Money moving from donors as zakat or sadaqa to IIRO is straightforward enough. In Saudi Arabia IIRO is a legal, government-backed foundation that receives donations from wealthy Arabs. Saudi Arabia frequently conducts telethons as fundraisers (which you can read about in Rachel Ehrenfeld’s Funding Evil, for example). Many of those transactions are facilitated by the National Commercial Bank or Al Rajhi Bank in Saudi Arabia. Some is simply given in paper cash (riyals) at fundraising drives. From there, SAMA supposedly reviews financial transfers abroad for charitable causes, but that’s really just a feather test. Saudi charitable partners receive the money where it starts to drift into militants’ hands. In Bangladesh, for example, Saudi Arabia set up Islamic banks, hospital trusts, etc, and then the boards of those institutions distributed “corporate zakat” (through checks, cash, etc) to militant groups like JMB.

      So I would sum it up by saying that there are a series of front charities and shell institutions that engage in a mix of legitimate relief work and clandestine militant pay-offs. Hawala is very important to terrorist financing in general, but not necessarily as central in the case of Saudi sponsorship.

      • Excellent! Thank you.

  4. Reblogged this on SANATAN DHARM.

  5. […] Saudi Arabia crowns new king who financed jihad […]

  6. […] Saudi Arabia crowns new king who financed jihad […]

  7. […] Arabia has crowned a new king, Salman bin Abdulaziz, who started his career in public service by bankrolling the […]

  8. Assalamu alaikkum Dear Sir.I need to one help if you’re money jihad given to me

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