Archive for May, 2016

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Arabs realize khums funds terror

May 13, 2016

The Koran 8:42 says that “when ye have taken any booty, a fifth part belongeth to God and to the Apostle…” This one-fifth tax, or khums, on booty or the spoils of war has been a common revenue-raising measure employed by caliphs, sultans, and Muslim military commanders since the eighth century.  Shia Muslims regard the concept more broadly to apply to one-fifth of personal net profits.

The problem with khums is that it has been used to fund Hezbollah for years, that it has funded jihadist movements for decades including the Iranian Revolution itself, and it has been used more recently to fund subversive activities in Bahrain.  Even Iraqi Shia have been critical of Iran’s abuse of khums, calling khums haram and equating it to flushing money down the toilet.  It’s amusing that Sunni Muslim figures in the Gulf are just now catching on to the scourge.

From the Jerusalem Post on May 4 (h/t El Grillo):

Gulf Shi’ites paying religious tax to Iran are funding terror, Sunni campaign says

The age-old Sunni-Shi’ite split is now the underlying cause of a new Sunni outcry against the expansionist policy of Iran in the Middle East.

A social media campaign launched recently by Sunni Muslims seeks to protest over the transfer of a religious tax payed by Shi’ites living in the Gulf to the main centers of Shia scholarship in Iran and Iraq.

The Khums (meaning fifth in Arabic), is a tax mentioned in the Koran and consisting of 20% of a person’s excess earning. The money is donated to poor and orphans, as well as to Islamic institutions.

According to the Koran, the Khums should be collected by the Imam Mahdi (the Shi’ite messiah). However, because the day of judgement has not yet arrived, the religious establishment in Iran is the one getting the money.

Since these endowments arrive directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, without any supervision by Iranian state institutions, they are allegedly used for political purposes and not for religious and moral ones, as the Koran obligates.

According to Arab media reports, hundreds of millions of dollars payed annually by Gulf Shi’ites to the religious scholars in Qom (the major Shi’ite center in Iran) are transferred to Iran’s militias in Iraq and Syria, which are fighting the local Sunni population.

The Khums is also a major income source for Hezbollah. In 2005, then-Hezbollah spokesman Hussein Nabousli proudly declared that most of the organization’s revenues come from Khums.

Since this money is not circulated in the international financial system, it helped the Iranian regime withstand the financial sanctions that were imposed on it by the West, providing it with liquidity.

In light of Iran’s expansionist policy in the Middle East, Sunni social media activists are now calling on governments in the Gulf to prevent the transfer of the money collected from Khums to Iran and obligate Shi’ites to pay this money to the states they are living in.

The standard-bearer of the Sunni campaign is Khaled Alkami, a well-known Saudi political analyst, who wrote on Twitter a series of comments under the hashtag: “the transfer of Khums to Iran is terror.”

“Sending money, under any name, to the thug state of Iran, is the same as sending money to al-Qaida, ISIS or Hezbollah, and it should be designated as ‘terror funding,'” Alkami said…

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1 Ahmed, 2 Boufassils, and £3,000 for jihad

May 5, 2016

Mohammed Ali Ahmed, Zakaria Boufassil and Soumaya Boufassil

Two Belgian-Moroccans and one “British national” have been charged in Britain with funding Paris terror suspect Mohamed Abrini.  Soumaya Boufassil, one of the alleged fundraisers, is permitted to wear a burqa in court although such clothing is a political symbol in support of government by sharia law.  The reference to “collecting” money makes it sound like they were soliciting donations from the community…

From the BBC (h/t to Don):

Men accused of giving Brussels suspect Mohamed Abrini cash

Two men have appeared in court accused of giving money to the “man in the hat” suspected of being involved in the Brussels and Paris terrorist attacks.

Mohammed Ali Ahmed and Zakaria Boufassil, both 26, are accused of giving Mohamed Abrini £3,000 when he was in Birmingham in July last year.

They appeared with Soumaya Boufassil, 29, who is accused of collecting money for terrorist purposes with Mr Ahmed.

The trio, from Small Heath, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Ms Boufassil, who wore a burka, and the two men, who wore jumpers, spoke only to confirm their details.

Mr Ahmed is a British national, while both Mr Boufassil and his sister, Ms Boufassil, are Belgian-Moroccans. They have all been living in Birmingham.

Mr Ahmed and Mr Boufassil face one count of the commission of offences abroad, on or before 7 July 2015, under section 17 of the Terrorism Act.

They are accused of entering into an arrangement in which money was made available to another person, and that they knew, or had reasonable cause to suspect, it would or may be used for the purposes of terrorism…

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ISIS fish farms supplement income

May 2, 2016

That and poultry, which in Iraq means chicken and pigeons.  The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is charging a 10 percent, or ushr, customs duty on imports.  The New York Times ran this story with a headline suggesting that ISIS was resorting to the fish farms to make up for lost oil revenues.  But in the text of the article, sources admit that Syrian oil refineries are still ISIS’s primary source of money.  Keep that cork in the champagne bottles, fellas.

Hat tip to El Grillo for sending the report, which is actually from Reuters:

BAGHDAD — Islamic State earns millions of dollars a month running car dealerships and fish farms in Iraq, making up for lower oil income after its battlefield losses, Iraqi judicial authorities said on Thursday.

Security experts once estimated the ultra-radical Islamist group’s annual income at $2.9 billion, much of it coming from oil and gas installations in Iraq and Syria.

The U.S.-led coalition has targeted Islamic State’s financial infrastructure, using air strikes to reduce its ability to extract, refine and transport oil and so forcing fighters to reportedly take significant pay cuts.

Yet the militants, who seized a third of Iraq’s territory and declared a caliphate in 2014, seem to be adapting again to this latest set of constraints, in some cases reviving previous profit-turning ventures like farming.

“The terrorists’ current financing mechanism has changed from what it was before the announcement of the caliphate nearly two years ago,” a report by Iraq’s central court of investigation said, quoting Judge Jabbar Abid al-Huchaimi.

“After the armed forces took control of several oil fields Daesh was using to finance its operations, the organization devised non-traditional ways of paying its fighters and financing its activities,” the report added, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

Fishing in hundreds of lakes north of Baghdad generates millions of dollars a month, according to the report. Some owners fleeing the area abandoned their farms while others agreed to cooperate with Islamic State to avoid being attacked.

“Daesh treats its northern Baghdad province as a financial center; it is its primary source of financing in the capital in particular,” Huchaimi said. Islamic State carries out frequent bombings in Baghdad against security forces and Shi’ite residents.

SELLING CARS, RUNNING FACTORIES

Fish farms have supplied militants with income since 2007 when Islamic State’s al Qaeda predecessor fought U.S. occupation forces but the mechanism only came to the authorities’ attention this year, the report said.

The militants also tax agricultural land and impose a 10 percent levy on poultry and other duties on a range of imports into their territory, it added.

“Recently there has been reliance on agricultural lands in areas outside the control of the (Iraqi) security forces through taxes imposed on farmers.”

New revenues are also being generated from car dealerships and factories once run by the Iraqi government in areas seized by the militants.

Those have helped offset the losses from lower oil income, though perhaps only partially. The U.S.-based analysis firm IHS said last week that Islamic State revenues had fallen by around a third since last summer to around $56 million a month.

“In the recent period, Daesh has gone back to using government factories in the areas it controls – like Mosul – for financial returns,” Huchaimi said, but added that oil smuggling from Syrian refineries remains the group’s primary source of international financing…