Archive for the ‘News commentary’ Category

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Bangladesh targets alleged Jamaat fronts

February 1, 2016

Businesses and nonprofit groups in Bangladesh are being scrutinized for their alleged connections to the dangerous Islamist movement Jamaat-e-Islami.  When asked by the Dhaka Tribune how the government of Bangladesh could determine whether or not such entities are connected to Jamaat, Finance Minister AMA Muhith rightly said, “Firstly, we will check the background of the members of board of directors in the institutions. Secondly, we will identify the source of funds of those firms.”

The Dhaka Tribune article included a graphic of “top firms linked to Jamaat men.”  However, please note that the relationship between these firms and Jamaat-e-Islami cannot be confirmed by Money Jihad at this time:

  • Islami Bank Foundation*
  • Ibn Sina Trust
  • Fouad Al-Khateeb Charity Foundation
  • Rabita al-Alam al-Islami
  • Agro Industrial Trust
  • Daily Sangram
  • Daily Naya Diganta
  • Manarat Interational University
  • International Islamic University Chittagong
  • Darul Ihsan University
  • Far East Ilsami Life Insurance Company Ltd
  • Takaful Islami Insurance Ltd
  • Keari Limited
  • Coral Reef Properties Ltd
  • Education Aid
  • Panjeri Publications
  • Allama Iqbal Sangsad
  • Maududi Research Sangsad
  • Al-Mutada Development Society
  • Center for Strategy & Peace Studies

* The Islami Bank Foundation is the “charitable” arm of Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited, the notorious terror-linked sharia bank.
Rabita al-Alam al-Islami is the Saudi-funded Bangladeshi branch of the Muslim World League.

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Taliban sends tax bills to big telecom

January 28, 2016

The Taliban has demanded that four telecommunications companies operating in Afghanistan pay them a 10 percent.  This news from Agence France Presse suggests the Taliban is expanding the scope of their revenue dragnet.  The companies have not commented on whether or not they will give in to the Taliban’s demands, although AFP quotes one corporate source who sounded like they haven’t decided what to do yet.  The situation is resembles Somalia, where telecommunications companies have reportedly made payments to the terrorist group Al-Shabaab.

Afghan Taliban flex muscles with new telecom ‘tax’

By AFP

Published: January 18, 2016

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN: The Taliban have demanded a hefty new “protection tax” from Afghan mobile phone companies, industry and militant sources told AFP, as the resurgent group tightens its stranglehold on a rare successful business in a slumping war economy.

At a secret meeting last month near Quetta, the Taliban’s central leadership formally demanded the tax from representatives of four cellular companies in exchange for not damaging their sites or harming their employees.

The edict was motivated by an Afghan government announcement in October that it had amassed a windfall of 78 million Afghani within days of imposing an additional 10 per cent tax on operators, according to two telecom company officials who attended the meeting and a third industry executive privy to the information.

“They want us to pay the same amount paid to the government,” one of the officials who was at the gathering told AFP.

“We told them that this will kill our business, but they said: ‘This is the only way to guarantee your people are not harmed and your sites are not burned’,” he added.

A source in the Quetta Shura — the Taliban’s Pakistan-based leadership council — confirmed the meeting, telling AFP the group was waiting for a formal response from the companies.

“We told them: ‘It is our right to tax you if you want us to protect your (transmission) towers around Afghanistan’,” he said. “‘You will have to pay’.”

The militants have long targeted Afghanistan’s private telecom firms, kidnapping engineers, destroying transmission masts and forcing regular coverage blackouts in volatile areas to avoid detection of their fighters.

Local-level Taliban commanders have been known to extort from businesses operating in their areas, notably the telecom firms and logistics companies supplying Nato bases and Western-funded construction projects.

But this appears to be the first time the central leadership has formally demanded a levy from business enterprises, underscoring how they increasingly operate like a shadow government.

It also highlights the dangers of doing business in conflict-torn Afghanistan — particularly for the telecom industry, fast becoming a battleground in the Taliban’s war against the US-backed Afghan government.

The companies said to be at the meeting — Abu-Dhabi based Etisalat, South Africa’s MTN and homegrown firms Roshan and Afghan Wireless Communication Company — officially declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

But one of them confirmed the meeting and tax demand, voicing a mix of helplessness and frustration.

“Ten per cent tax to the Taliban? That means we will have to share our revenue information with a militant organisation,” a Kabul-based company representative told AFP.

“That’s just not feasible. We told them ‘no’.”

But one of the telecom officials who attended the Pakistan meeting said there was no escaping the Taliban edict, adding that the companies at best could wrangle a concession from the insurgents in future negotiations…

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Sharia banker unseated for “militant financing”

January 25, 2016

A senior official of an Islamic bank in Bangladesh has been removed from his position by the country’s central bank over his support for Islamic militancy. The Dhaka Tribune reports that Nurul Islam, a deputy managing director of Islami Bank Bangladesh, is an ex-convict. Bangladesh’s finance ministry suspects Nurul Islam of “involvement in militant financing” and involvement “with the recent violence carried out by Jamaat-Shibir,” a radical Islamist student group. This development is further evidence of the connection between sharia finance and the funding of terrorism.  Prior Money Jihad coverage of the dangerous Islami Bank Bangladesh and its leadership can be found here.

Islami Bank DMD removed for having Jamaat ties

The central bank has removed Deputy Managing Director of Islami Bank Nurul Islam for his alleged involvement with Jamaat-e-Islami, the party which opposed the birth of Bangladesh in 1971.

Bangladesh Bank issued a letter in this regard yesterday. The decision came after the Finance Ministry asked the central bank governor to take action against the financial organisations linked to Jamaat.

A top officer of the central bank confirmed to the Dhaka Tribune that Nurul Islam had been removed on the ground that he was a convict and has cases against him.

The central bank issued the letter yesterday saying that a convict cannot hold such a high position. Moreover, the cases against him are yet to be disposed of.

The letter, however, did not mention about the issue of his Jamaat connection.

Bangladesh Bank last month detected 27 suspected terror financial transactions made by Islami Bank and put it under the scanner. Earlier, the bank was fined four times under the Anti-Money Laundering Act for militant financing.

Last year, the National Committee on Militancy Resistance and Prevention asked the central bank to ensure submission of the reports to the ministry on the expenditures of the Islamic banks and insurance companies.

Apart from the Finance Ministry, the Home Ministry too sent a letter to the central bank asking them to take action against Nurul Islam for his alleged involvement in militant financing. The ministry said they had found involvement of the banker with the recent violence carried out by Jamaat-Shibir.

The central bank launched an inquiry against the accused following the Home Ministry’s instructions. The inspection team was led by Dipankar Bhattacharya, a deputy general manager of the central bank’s Bank Inspection Department 1.

The Home Ministry was concerned about Nurul Islam as he had been chosen for the managing director post to replace the existing MD, Mohammad Abdul Mannan, by the board of Islami Bank.

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Police arrest 4 leftist terrorist thieves

January 14, 2016

Four Marxist guerrillas who were in the middle of an extortion operation have been arrested near Manilla. Police found an extortion letter in possession of the cell of the New People’s Army. The group may have been targeting the phone service company Globe Telecom.

The concept of “revolutionary taxation”—shaking down capitalists to fund revolutionary activities—is inspired by the writings of Marx, Engels, and Emile de Girardin.

From Inquirer Southern Luzon:

4 ‘revo tax’ collectors held in Cavite

By: Delfin T. Mallari Jr.

LUCENA CITY—Four suspected “revolutionary tax” collectors of the New People’s Army (NPA) were arrested by policemen in General Trias town in Cavite province on Monday, police said on Tuesday.

The four suspects were held after a brief chase in Barangay Javalera of the town around 12:30 a.m., according to the report released on Tuesday by the Cavite Provincial Police Office.

Insp. Artemio Cinco, head of of the General Trias police intelligence unit, said in a separate phone interview Tuesday that the suspects were revolutionary tax, or “revo tax,” collectors in the province.

“Based on our initial investigation they are on a revo tax collection mission,” Cinco said in a phone interview.

The Cavite police report identified the four as George Bruce, 33, from Lemery, Batangas province; Jose Nayve, 53, of GMA, Cavite; Romel Nuñez, 30, of Dasmariñas City, Cavite; and Armando Matres, 38, of Lipa City, Batangas.

The identities were provided by the suspects themselves, according to PO2 Christian Neil Cuevas, the case officer.

The report said PO1 Jonathan Dinglasan, a town policeman, happened to be nearby when one of the suspects, using an improvised explosive device, blew up a manhole cover of the Globe Telecom communication cables along Barangay Javalera.

After the bombing, the suspects escaped aboard a Nissan Urvan van (ZFD 262) but they were chased by Dinglasan who was then on his way home driving a private vehicle. While giving chase, Dinglasan informed the police community precinct in nearby Barangay Manggahan, through his mobile phone, of the incident.

The responding policemen blocked the road that forced the suspects to alight from the van and scamper toward a grassy area where they were eventually cornered by the lawmen.

When lawmen searched the van, they found a .45 cal. pistol, 106 live ammunition and four magazines; a 9mm pistol with 17 bullets and one magazine; two pieces of blasting caps, one detonator switch and manual, four energizer batteries and cable wires; eight units of mobile phones; one “extortion” letter addressed to an “Aling Adeling” with the letterhead “Bagong Hukbong Bayan” and other documents that police described as “subversive”…

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ISIS demands jizya from Swedes

January 7, 2016

Not so long ago, demands for jizya—a tax required by the Koran against non-Muslims—occurred in countries like Pakistan and Syria. Now it’s happening in Sweden. It’s good to hear that law enforcement is taking it “very seriously.” Hopefully that means there will be arrests, trials, and convictions of the perpetrators soon.

From RaymondIbrahim.com on Dec. 13:

According to a new report published yesterday, December 12, by RT Arabic, the “Swedish government is in a state of panic after dozens of its citizens received threatening letters signed by ISIS and offering them three choices, either conversion to Islam, payment of jizya, or decapitation.”

The letters warned their recipients that they had three days to decide.

Written in the Swedish language, the letters appeared yesterday on dozens of homes in different cities at the same time.  Police are reportedly taking the threat “very seriously.”  Among other regions, letters appeared in the cities of Ronneba, Sigtuna, Vstroes and the capital Stockholm.

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Assad funds his own enemies

December 31, 2015

The regime of Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad is buying millions of dollars in oil from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Maybe years of sanctions against Syria have backfired in that Assad doesn’t have too many other willing sellers. This business relationship between Assad and ISIS helps explain the protracted nature of the conflict.

That, and we’ve been too slow to recognize that Assad may be the lesser priority evil in the region. The thinking in fashionable circles in D.C. for the last couple years was to defeat Assad then defeat ISIS. It may be a better idea to let him defeat ISIS and then reassess.

Here’s a telling excerpt from an interview by NPR’s Renee Montagne with Treasury official Adam Szubin (h/t El Grillo):

…MONTAGNE: I think it will amaze listeners to hear that a great deal of the oil paying for the Islamic State’s war is going to the regime of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, the very person he’s fighting. You’ve been quoted as saying the two are trying to slaughter each other, and they are still engaged in millions of dollars of trade. What is going on there? Are they functionally partners?

SZUBIN: I wouldn’t call them partners. Clearly they’re adversaries on the battlefield, but necessity makes some strange bedfellows. And in this instance, the Syrian regime is very hungry for gas and also for oil. And they don’t mind seemingly purchasing some of it from ISIL…

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Paks recall diplomat over alleged terror funding

December 28, 2015

Normally Pakistan would have given an award to such a person. Maybe the recall of the diplomat in question is a sign of progress. But likelier than not, her patrons in Islamabad are probably irate that she got herself caught. She allegedly gave $385 to an operative of the jihadist group JMB. From BD News 24 (h/t Ranel):

Pakistan withdraws ‘terror-link’ tainted diplomat from Bangladesh

Senior Correspondent,  bdnews24.com

Published: 2015-12-23

Pakistan has recalled its Second Secretary (Political) at the High Commission in Dhaka after allegations of her ties to terrorism in Bangladesh surfaced.

Md Shahidul Islam, an immigration officer at Shahjalal International Airport, told bdnews24.com that Fareena Arshad left Dhaka in a Pakistan International Airlines flight at 1:35pm on Wednesday.

Earlier in January this year, Mazhar Khan, another Pakistani official working in the Dhaka mission, had been expelled after Bangladesh intelligence accused him of funding Islamist radicals and peddling fake currency.

Detective Branch of police recently claimed to have ‘found evidence of Fareena Arshad’s terror links’ based on information revealed during the interrogation of several arrested members of Jama’atul Majahideen Bangladesh (JMB).

One JMB member, Idris Sheikh, also mentioned the links in a confessional statement at a Dhaka court, they said.

Sheikh, who was once involved in politics in Pakistan, in the statement said he was in touch with the female diplomat and had received Tk 30,000 from her…

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