Archive for the ‘News commentary’ Category

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UN adds JI’s “humanitarian” wing to Al Qaeda sanctions list

March 27, 2015

The UN, Australia, and Canada have added the Hilal Ahmar Society Indonesia (HASI) to their list of sanctioned Al Qaeda entities according to Mr. Watchlist. HASI is also known as Yayasan Hilal Ahmar or the Indonesia Hilal Ahmar Society for Syria. It “operates in Lampung, Jakarta, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Solo, Surabaya and Makassar, Indonesia,” according to the sanctions announcement, which describes HASI as “recruiting, funding and facilitating travel of foreign terrorist fighters to Syria.”

The U.S. sanctioned HASI, which calls itself the “humanitarian wing” of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, in September of last year.

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Indonesia nabs 6 ISIS fundraisers

March 24, 2015

Counter-terror police in Indonesia have arrested six people on charges of recruiting and funding jihadists to join the fight in Iraq and Syria. Young Muslim men the world over are answering the call of ISIS. They all need money for airfare. They’re getting that money from (usually) older men like those who were just arrested in Indonesia.  Many of the recruits are flying into Turkey.

From Sunday’s Jakarta Globe (h/t: El Grillo):

Densus 88 Arrests Six People Over Islamic State Recruitment

By Jakarta Globe on Mar 22, 2015

Jakarta. The National Police’s anti-terror squad Densus 88 on Saturday arrested six people for allegedly helping recruit and fund Indonesians to travel to Syria and Iraq to fight with the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

“We arrested six people, but it seems that only four people were actively involved [in recruiting],” said Comr. Gen. Badrodin Haiti, deputy chief of the National Police.

The arrests were made in Kebayoran Baru in South Jakarta, Bekasi and South Tangerang. Badrodin said the four allegedly funded and recruited Indonesians, and prepared IS propaganda.

On Sunday Densus 88 officers raided the Bogor home of Muhammad Amin Mude, who was one of the six detained on Saturday.

“We suspect him to have been involved in facilitating and helping fund local citizens who are going to Iraq and Syria,” Densus 88 spokesperson Sr. Comr. Faisal Tayeb said on Sunday.

He added police confiscated a number of IS related documents.

Amin’s wife, Wirda Lukman, has vehemently denied the allegations…

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Terror for hire: son of El Presidente busted for aiding Hezbollah

March 23, 2015

The son of Desi Bouterse, Suriname’s former president, has pleaded guilty to offering a base for Hezbollah to operate. Dino Bouterse also admitted that he trafficked drugs. This story brings together a lot of the common themes we see with a Hezbollah in South America: a mix of corruption, drugs, secret terror encampments, and politically connected palm greasers:

From Reuters earlier this month:

Suriname leader’s son gets 16 years U.S. prison for Hezbollah aid

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) – The son of Suriname’s president was sentenced on Tuesday to 16-1/4 years in prison, after pleading guilty last August to U.S. charges that he tried to offer a home base to the Lebanese paramilitary group Hezbollah.

Dino Bouterse, 42, who worked in a Suriname counter terrorist unit, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan. Bouterse had also admitted to drug trafficking and firearms charges.

U.S. prosecutors accused Bouterse of inviting people he thought were from Hezbollah to establish a base in his home country, located north of Brazil, in exchange for $2 million that was ultimately not paid.

Bouterse was arrested by Panamanian authorities after a sting in which he allegedly talked about his activities with confidential informants from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Hezbollah has since 1997 been designated by the U.S. State Department as a foreign terrorist organization…

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Dawood targets the poor for money mule scheme

March 17, 2015

Dawood Ibrahim, the international fugitive, terrorist financier, and underworld kingpin, is reportedly opening bank accounts in India through unsuspecting depositors. Dawood and his “D-Gang” agents are offering money to poor people in rural areas to open new bank accounts under their own names, then turn their ATM cards back over to Dawood’s operatives. Compliance standards at rural banks are considered to be less stringent than big city bank standards. This suggests that the rural banks are not as likely to file suspicious activity reports with India’s financial regulatory authority. D-Gang has managed to launder 59,000 crore Indian rupees (940 million USD) through such schemes.

From OneIndia News on Mar. 16 (h/t Arun):

…How is the money deposited in banks:

The Enforcement Directorate which has been probing a series of such cases has found that most of the money is parked in the nationalized banks.

Out of the 1600 branches in which the money has been parked, 900 branches belong to the nationalized banks, an ED official informed Oneindia.

The money which is earned through various illegal means such as drug and arms trade and even lottery scams are parked directly into the nationalized banks by agents of the underworld.

These agents never open accounts in their own name. They target people who are in need of money and ask them to deposit the money into their accounts.

It has been found during the investigation that persons in need of money are asked to first open accounts and they are paid a sum for the same.

They are then given money and asked to deposit the same. For every transaction of Rs 100,000, the original account holder is paid a sum of Rs 5,000.

The ATM cards are handed over to the agents who use it to draw the money when ever they like…

“Whenever they like” meaning for whatever purpose or plot Dawood intends.

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“Brooklyn man” funds travel for ISIS

March 16, 2015

As if “Brooklyn” is the best adjective that could have been selected to help explain Abror Habibov’s motive and background.

Habibov is actually an Uzbek with an expired visa who operates mall kiosks in Georgia, Virginia, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Habibov told one of his employees, a younger man from Kazakhstan named Akhror Saidakhmetov, that he would help arrange and pay air travel for him to join up with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Saidakhmetov was being monitored by authorities. Around Jan. 30, Saidakhmetov called Habibov to ask for extra money related to his planned flight to Turkey. Habibov told him, “Don’t worry about the fare and the expenses needed for going there. Dear Akhror, as you might recall, I promised you that we’ll do it. If you say you need to buy your ticket, then I’ll deposit cash… cash into your account.” They intended to keep in touch by Skype. Habibov said he could send more money if he needed it.

By the way, regarding the phrase, “I promised you that we’ll do it,” who is “we”?

One might think that a U.S. resident and unnamed associates using a front company to finance a youngster’s travel and enlistment with ISIS might make national news. But The New York Times saw fit to relegate this story to their “regional” news section.

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Austria bans foreign funding of mosques

March 8, 2015

The most radical, orthodox form of Islam emanates from Saudi Arabia and the other Arab monarchies of the Gulf. Fundamentalist imams and corrupt royals made a deal decades ago in which oil money was used to export Wahhabi Islam to the farthest reaches of the Islamic world. More temperate or muted versions of Islam were smothered by Wahhabi petrodollars. Dissidents, moderates, and securalists in countries like Bangladesh and Somalia have long since realized this, and have been fighting suffocation by Saudi-style sharia practices.

Western governments are just now beginning to catch on to the fact that Gulf-funded mosques, charities, civic groups, and political parties pose more of a threat of radicalizing local Muslims than domestically funded Islamic entities. Austria is the first to act on this. From Agence France Presse on Feb. 25 (hat tip to Gisele):

Austria passes law on Islam, banning foreign funding

Vienna: Austria’s parliament adopted legislation Wednesday amending laws on Muslim organisations to ban foreign sources of financing and require imams to be able to speak German.

The new law aims to promote what conservative Integration Minister Sebastian Kurz calls an “Islam of European character” by muting the influence of foreign Muslim nations and organisations, and offering Austrian Muslims a mix of increased rights and obligations in practising their faith in the central European country…

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France mulls ban on Gulf funding of mosques

March 6, 2015

France is considering a prohibition against foreign funding of domestic mosques. This is a sensible proposal given that Saudi funds have been coming with Wahhabi or Salafi strings attached for decades, and Qatar has joined the fray.

But some French Muslims and Socialists oppose the measure, arguing that if mosques cannot be funded by foreign powers then the French government should subsidize the mosques.

How about a third alternative which would be for these mosques to fund themselves through donations from their own members?

From Radio France Internationale on Feb. 15 (h/t EuropeNews):

France to cut Qatar funding of mosques in crackdown on islamic fundamentalism

By RFI with Christina Okello

The French government has announced a series of measures to clamp down on radical Islam being spread in mosques, and wants to cut financial support from countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Critics warn that before it does, it first needs to revise its 1905 law separating Church and State which discriminates against Muslims.

“If foreign countries are stepping in to fund mosques, it’s because the French government won’t” Karim Bouamrane, a socialist candidate in next month’s local elections, told RFI on Saturday.

Bouamrane was reacting to plans by the French government to launch a cultural offensive against Salafist movements, held responsible for brainwashing the country’s young Muslims.

These movements are accused of spreading islamic fundamentalism in mosques, with the financial backing and complicity of countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

“Muslims cannot run the risk of refusing cash from outside, because the French government won’t allocate them funds to build mosques” Bouamrane added, before concluding that the country’s 1905 law separating the Church and State needs to be updated.

The 1905 law, enshrining secularism as a national principle, bars the state from officially recognizing, funding or endorsing religious groups.

But it has come under increased scrutiny in connection with the integration of the Muslim community, many of whom arrived in France in the 1960s, after the 1905 law was passed.

However, Churches and synagogues for instance that were built before 1905, do receive funding and endorsement from the government, leading some Muslims to hit out at double standards.

“Yet the question to reform the law is difficult because France is a laic (secular) country,” Gérard Prudhomme, deputy mayor of Seine-Saint Denis, a rough suburb of Paris, told RFI, “many people against anything which can change this thing.”

However, there are growing calls for the state to fund Muslims’ religious worship in some way, in a bid to plug funding from foreign countries, without compromising its values of secularism…

(See prior Money Jihad coverage of a Gulf Arab funded mega-mosque in Marseille here.)

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