Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

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Banker supports taxes for jihad

June 30, 2013

The former chairman of Islami Bank Bangladesh, Limited (IBBL), Shah Abdul Hannan, explained his support for collecting taxes beyond zakat for the purposes of waging jihad in an article posted online around 2003 (available here and here).  Hannan based this argument on the writings of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the notorious Muslim Brotherhood leader, Hamas charity front financier, and sharia finance proponent.

Referring to Qaradawi’s Fiqh al Zakah, Hannan wrote:

…Allah has made it obligatory to carry out Jihad (defence of Islam and Islamic territory and to put an end to oppression anywhere in this world) through employing one’s life and wealth. This is a duty beyond Zakat. To carry out a major Jihad in this age, if needed, there is no other way but to raise resources through taxes…

Hannan has also condemned peaceful Shahbag dissidents who are calling for justice against war criminals in Bangladesh.  Hannan calls the student demonstrators fascists.  Well, Mr. Hannan—it takes one to know one.

Money Jihad has been documenting the terrorist financing activities of IBBL, one of the biggest banks in Bangladesh and its largest sharia financial institution, ever since Bangladeshi authorities revealed in 2011 that Islami Bank has been diverting eight percent of its corporate zakat to jihadi militants.  A member of IBBL’s sharia advisory board was also detained and questioned for possible involvement in an attack against police.

IBBL fell under international scrutiny in 2012 after the U.S. Senate reported that HSBC continued to maintain a business relationship with IBBL despite evidence of its role in funding terrorism.

More recently, U.S. garment importers including Wal-mart and J.C. Penny have severed ties with IBBL due to the Islamic bank’s role in supporting militants.  Nonetheless, Western Union continues to do business with IBBL.

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UN quietly lifts sanctions on Bin Laden accomplice

June 24, 2013

Saudi removed from UN sanctions list

The UN’s sanctions committee removed Adel Batterjee’s name from its Al Qaeda blacklist earlier this year.  News coverage of the removal appears to have been limited to Saudi media outlets.  The U.K. followed suit shortly thereafter by lifting sanctions on Batterjee as well.

The shocking development casts further doubt on the cryptic de-listing process spearheaded by Canadian lawyer and UN ombudswoman Kimberly Prost that also led to white-listing of Muhammad Atta associate Abdelghani Mzoudi, jihadist financier Yasin Al-Qadi, and Al Qaeda check smuggler Soliman al-Buthe.  Prost’s reports and recommendations to the UN committee are secret, and the decisions are made with no explanations, transparency, or opportunities for public comment.

Meanwhile, author J. Millard Burr has published a new book, The Terrorists’ Internationale, through the American Center for Democracy.  Burr’s book documents the growth of Islamist terror groups in the 1980s and 1990s and the role of Sudanese intriguer Hassan al-Turabi in their development.  In it, Burr describes Adel Batterjee as a “close friend” of Osama bin Laden who “‘had become an important figure in the jihad movement’ by the mid-nineteen eighties.”  Batterjee moved back and forth between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to obtain financing for Lajnat Al-Birr Al-Islamiya (The Islamic Benevolence Committee), a bin Laden front charity.

Contradicting Batterjee’s claims that he had no contact with Bin Laden after 1991, Burr writes:

…Bin Laden and Batterjee had re-created their [Lajnat] charity in the Sudan and in 1992 registered it under a new name, the Al-Birr al-Duwaliya–known in the West as the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF). Its official headquarters was listed as Saudi Arabia, and Batterjee was named its director. Although centered in Khartoum, the “charity” continued to operate in Pakistan; Batterjee reduced the Al-Birr operation at Peshawar, but the small staff located there was likely called on to support Bin Laden’s interests in the Dawa Al Irshad at Murdike, and with two mujahideen training camps located in the Afghanistan-Pakistan borderlands…

The CEO of the Benevolence International Foundation served 10 years in federal prison on racketeering charges stemming from the foundation’s “charitable” work.  In 2004, Treasury undersecretary Stuart Levy said that Batterjee “ranked as one of the world’s foremost terrorist financiers, and employed his private wealth and a network of charitable fronts to bankroll the murderous agenda of al-Qaeda.”

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Websites crucial to funding Caucasus jihad

April 22, 2013

Webpages operated by the Caucasus Emirate terrorist organization have played a key and growing role in financing their operations, according to a late-2011 report from the Center for Strategic & International Studies.  The report revealed that while the Caucasus Emirate relied on centralized sites such as Qoqaz.net in the early 2000s, the Caucasus Emirate and Al Qaeda now follow a more decentralized approach of communicating through discussion forums, social media, and smaller websites.

What role, if any, such websites played in engaging Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev is yet to be determined, but the 2011 article below from Reuters via Radio Free Europe about the CSIS findings now merits a second look.

The article also acknowledges the symbiotic relationship and financial ties between Al Qaeda and the North Caucasus guerrillas that Money Jihad profiled last Friday:

Think Tank Says Al-Qaeda Funding Caucasus Rebels

September 30, 2011

A leading Washington think tank says Al-Qaeda is providing growing support, including financial, to Islamic rebels in Russia’s restive North Caucasus.

In its report, the Center for Strategic and International Studies said Al-Qaeda has played a key role in “proselytizing jihadism” to the mujahideen in Chechnya and the Caucasus.

The report’s author, Gordon Hahn, pointed to a growing number of websites linked to the insurgency that are carrying statements of support from leading jihadists such as Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, who inspired Al-Qaeda in Iraq and is now in jail in Jordan.

Such websites, Hahn said, are also used to raise money.

Hahn pointed to the arrest by Czech police in May of eight individuals in Prague suspected of plotting attacks in the North Caucasus as possible proof of ties to Al-Qaeda.

The rebels goal is a state called the Caucasus Emirate, stretching from the Black Sea to the Caspian.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has labeled the insurgency Russia’s top security threat.

Hahn noted Chechen-born rebel leader Doku Umarov has called for the Caucasus Emirate to be incorporated into global jihad…

The full report can be accessed through CSIS’s website here.

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Revisiting Ghaith Pharaon’s ties to Bin Laden

March 28, 2013

A French parliamentary report released shortly after 9/11 revealed that Ghaith Pharoan and other Saudi elites were “directly linked to [Osama] Bin Laden through banks, holding companies, foundations and charities…”

This is the same Ghaith Pharoan who was involved with the $1.7 billion savings and loan scandals of Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) and CenTrust in the 1980s.  Although not officially charged with financing terrorism, Pharoan remains under U.S. indictment for “having been a front man in B.C.C.I.’s secret and unlawful acquisitions of American banks, including the National Bank of Georgia and the Independence Bank of Encino, Calif.”

Like many prominent Saudis, Pharoan peddled influence in the U.S. prior to his indictment without regard to political party, allegedly forming relationships with Henry Kissinger, members of the Carter administration including Bert Lance, and George W. Bush before he became involved in politics—a sign of the great lengths to which the Saudis have gone to curry favor with American officials.

The Guardian examined the French report (h/t History Commons) in this difficult-to-Google article below.  Thanks to Rushette for suggesting more coverage related to this subject.

City ‘haven’ for terrorist money laundering

Report says Bin Laden has extensive interests in UK

Osama bin Laden’s extensive financial interests in Britain are outlined today in a French parliamentary report that says the City is a money laundering haven for billions of pounds of tainted and terrorist money.

Up to 40 companies, banks and individuals based in Britain can legitimately be suspected of maintaining direct or indirect relations with the terrorist, according to a 70-page annexe, The Economic Environment of Osama bin Laden, attached to the French report. Compiled by an independent team of financial experts whose identity the French parliamentarians have undertaken not to reveal, the annexe reveals that the structure of Bin Laden’s financial network bears a striking similarity to that used by the collapsed BCCI bank for its fraudulent operations in the 1980s.

“This document clearly shows the great permeability of the British banking and financial system and the fragility of the controls operated at its points of entry,” write the authors of the French report, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian.

The annexe establishes numerous links between Bin Laden with international arms and oil dealers and even members of the Saudi elite.

It also pinpoints the relationship and its subsquent breakdown between Osama bin Laden and his family’s holding company, Saudi BinLadin Group, and its multiple subsidiaries, investments and offshoots in Europe.

Many of the individuals concerned, several with British connections, were also involved in various senior roles with BCCI, the report says. Hundreds of banks and companies are mentioned, from Sudan, Geneva and London to Oxford, the Bahamas and Riyadh.

The names of half a dozen former BCCI clients and officials, including Ghaith Pharaon, wanted by the US authorities for fraud, and Khalid bin Mahfouz, a Saudi banker who was closely involved with the bank before it was closed down by the Bank of England in 1991, recur throughout the annexe and are directly linked to Bin Laden through banks, holding companies, foundations and charities, at least one of which, the International Development Foundation, has its headquarters in London.

“The convergence of financial and terrorist interests, apparent particularly in Great Britain and in Sudan, does not appear to have been an obstacle with regard to the objectives pursued [by Bin Laden],” the annexe concludes. “The conjunction of a terrorist network attached to a vast financing structure is the dominant trait of operations conducted by bin Laden”…

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BCCI bankrolled the father of the “Islamic bomb”

March 15, 2013

Founded by a Pakistani banker with prominent Gulf investors, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) became a depository of wealth acquired by Arab officials during the oil embargo against the U.S. in the 1970s.

BCCI took their profits and invested in fraudulent enterprises.  According to History Commons, BCCI also set up a charitable foundation in the 1980s which gave most of its money to A.Q. Khan, the scientist created the first nuclear bomb ever possessed by an Islamic country—Pakistan:

1981 and After: BCCI Charity Front Funnels Money to A. Q. Khan’s Nuclear Program

In 1981, the criminal BCCI bank sets up a charity called the BCCI Foundation. Pakistani Finance Minister Ghulam Ishaq Khan grants it tax-free status, and it supposedly spends millions on charitable purposes. Khan serves as the chairman of the foundation while also running the books for A. Q. Khan’s Kahuta Research Laboratories. Ghulam Ishaq Khan will be president of Pakistan from 1988 to 1993. (Levy and Scott-Clark, 2007, pp. 126-127) BCCI founder Agha Hasan Abedi announces that he will donate up to 90% of BCCI’s profits to charity through the foundation, and he develops a positive reputation from a few well-publicized charitable donations. But the charity is actually used to shelter BCCI profits. Most of the money it raises goes to A. Q. Khan’s nuclear program and not to charitable causes. For instance, in 1987 it gives a single $10 million donation to an institute headed by A. Q. Khan. Millions more go to investments in a front company owned by BCCI figure Ghaith Pharaon. (Beaty and Gwynne, 1993, pp. 290-291) An investigation by the Los Angeles Times will reveal that less than 10% of the money went to charity. (Los Angeles Times, 8/9/1991) BCCI uses other means to funnel even more money into A. Q. Khan’s nuclear program.

Later on, Khan sold nuclear secrets to rogue regimes to develop their own nuclear programs.  BCCI has also been implicated in financial deals with Osama Bin Laden, and Khan’s men may have shared nuclear information with Al Qaeda.

Just a few weeks ago, Khan, who formed a political party of his own, announced a coalition with Jamaat-e-Islami, a political party closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.  What could go wrong?

Thanks to Twitter user @RushetteNY for suggesting coverage related to this topic.

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Following the money trail behind the WTC bomb

February 26, 2013

The financial evidence points back to Osama Bin Laden in the World Trade Center bombing that killed six people 20 years ago today.

In Modern Jihad, Loretta Napoleoni wrote that the WTC bombing mastermind, Ramzi Yousef, said the World Trade Center bombing cost $15,000.  This was not verified during Yousef’s trial because it wasn’t necessary to establish his guilt.

And who provided the $15,000?  John Miller, the ABC reporter who once interviewed Osama Bin Laden, wrote this in his book The Cell:

… Ibrahim el-Gabrowny had met with bin Laden a year before the bombing and investigators believe that at least a portion of the $20,000 bin Laden gave el-Gabrowny during that meeting—ostensibly for [Rabbi Meir Kahane’s assassin El-Sayyid] Nosair’s defense—was spent on materials used in the World Trade Center bomb.

Other sources say that Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, Yousef’s uncle and the architect of the 9/11 attacks, provided the bomb money for his nephew.

In any case, it wasn’t enough cash to carry out Yousef’s vision.  FBI official Dale Watson testified five years after the bombing that, “After his capture in 1995, Ramzi Yousef conceded to investigators that a lack of funding forced his group’s hand in plotting the destruction of the World Trade Center. Running short of money, the plotters could not assemble a bomb as large as they had originally intended. The timing of the attack was also rushed by a lack of finances.”

Al Qaeda would not make the mistake of shortchanging its next attack against the World Trade Center eight years later.

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A profile of Lashkar-e-Taiba’s paymasters

February 5, 2013
http://www.forumlibertas.com/frontend/forumlibertas/fotos/imagen.php?filename=fichero_9747_20061011.jpg&ancho=230&alto=193&corto=0

Lashkar-e-Taiba logo

In addition to expatriate donors such as Tahawwur Rana, charity funneled through its Jamaat-ud-Dawa front group, private donors from rich Arabs in the Gulf, zakat collections in Kashmiri mosques, and hawala, the terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (meaning Army of the Pure) relies on state sponsorship from the Pakistan’s ISI spy service.

The Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups says that LeT “was founded in 1987 with funding provided by Saudi Islamist Osama bin laden.  Both financial and material support for the Lashkar-e-Taiba has also come from the Pakistan security forces Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).”

In his book Obama’s War, investigative journalist Bob Woodward says LeT “was created and continues to be supported by the Pakistani ISI.”

Asia Times provided these details last year about LeT’s financing:

…LeT runs a number of training centers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwah province, Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The objective is to have an office and a center in every district of Pakistan. LeT spends about US$330 on each trainee for its Daura-e-Aam (basic) course and about $1,700 per trainee in the advanced three-month course, with running costs in excess of $5 million a year.

The army and the ISI make contributions at training camps, with Pakistan’s Herald Magazine reporting in June 2006 that ISI payoffs have reached as much as $50,000-60,000 every month. The other key source of LeT money is Islamic charities across the world, particularly those based in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) . Inside Pakistan, LeT acts primarily as a Dawa group promoting a radical interpretation of Islam, much on the lines of its Wahhabi patrons in the Gulf.

These links brings LeT an enormous amount of petro-dollars through donations to madrassas and mosques in Punjab. In 2008, the US estimated these funds at over $100 million a year. Some Pakistani business houses in Punjab also support the group by giving money and food…

If the estimate is accurate that Lashkar-e-Taiba receives over $100 million a year, that would place LeT it in the top tier of the best financed terrorist organizations in the world above al-Shabaab and closing in on Hamas.

LeT’s stated objective is:

[U]niting Indian administered Kashmir (IAK) with Pakistan under a radical interpretation of Islamic law. LeT’s broader objectives include to establish an Islamic Caliphate across the Indian subcontinent, and to reclaim all ‘occupied Muslim lands’ in southern Spain and the Balkans. To this end, LeT intends to pursue the ‘liberation’, not only of Muslim-majority Kashmir, but of all India’s Muslim population, even in areas where they do not form a majority. LeT has declared that democracy is antithetical to Islamic law and that LeT’s jihad requires it to work toward turning Pakistan itself into a purely Islamic state.

All previous Money Jihad coverage of LeT can be found here.

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Florida imam raised $50K to fund Taliban

January 17, 2013
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/florida-terror-case-hafiz-khan-competency-miami_n_1732011.html

Izhar Khan (left) and Hafiz Khan (right)

Prosecutors have the bank records and wiretaps to prove it.  Recorded statements of imam Hafiz Khan, the leading figure in the conspiracy to finance the Pakistani Taliban (a.k.a. Tehrik-e-Taliban) include:

  • Asking his son Izhar to pick up $300 from a donor that had been “approved for the mujahideen.”
  • Describing his nephew in Pakistan as “a big agent of the Taliban.”
  • Stating:  “Right now I have about 100,000 Pakistani rupees for the Taliban.  People have given me (money) in small amounts, I have given some from my side.”
  • After hearing that seven American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, Hafiz Khan “declared his wish that God bring to death 50,000 more.”

No wonder why defense attorneys tried so hard to argue that Hafiz Khan is mentally incompetent.  They must have known that in addition to the bank records, the statements Khan has made are so damning that the jury will easily find him guilty on four counts of providing material support to terrorists.

Hafiz faces a maximum 60-year prison sentence for these activities.  Meanwhile, Amina Farah Ali, a Muslim woman in Minnesota who was convicted in 2011 for raising and transferring a comparatively lesser amount of $8,600 to terrorists overseas, faces up to 195 years in prison.  In the Ali case, separate transfers of money were treated as separate charges, whereas most of the transfers in this case have been lumped together.

The reason for combining the transfers together is unclear.  The prosecutors must feel that it is the best legal strategy, but Money Jihad counts seven separate transfers in the Khan indictment that could have been broken into separate counts that would have added 105 years to the possible prison sentence.

Hafiz Khan is charged under 18 USC 2339A and 2339B, which outlaw providing “material support” to terrorists.  Often described as a key provision of the Patriot Act, the material support prohibitions of sections 2339A and B actually originate from the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.  The Patriot Act clarified the definition of “material support” and increased the penalties for violations.

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U.K. snores as Islamic charity funds terrorism

January 15, 2013

Interpal, a British-Muslim group with documented ties to Hamas, continues to operate with impunity in London.  The valuable Gatestone Institute has published a well-researched piece by Samuel Westrop (@samwestrop for Twitter users) compiling Interpal’s history of misdeeds.

Here are a few of the salient points from the Westrop’s article that should interest Money Jihad readers:

  • Jamal Mohammad Tawil, a senior Hamas operative, signed for a $34K donation from Interpal in 2001.
  • A 2002 Israeli investigation revealed that Interpal partnered with a Hamas affiliate.
  • The U.S., Australia, and Canada have designated Interpal as a terrorist entity.
  • The NEFA Foundation reported that Interpal is a member of the Union of Good, an internationally recognized network of charities that fund Hamas.
  • A 2006 investigation by the BBC showed that Hamas-affiliated charities were receiving Interpal donations.
  • Interpal claimed to sever ties from the Union of Good in 2009 after a review by the U.K. Charity Commission, but subsequent interviews, meetings, and statements (including anti-Semitic, pro-sharia, pro-caliphate, pro-Anwar al-Awlaki comments), and convoys to Gaza indicate that Interpal leadership remains deeply integrated with UoG.

The Gatestone article is entitled “Supporting our Own Demise:  Part 1,” which you can read in full at http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3514/terror-finance.  Looking forward to Part 2…

Previous Money Jihad coverage of Interpal can be found here, with a look back at the U.K. Charity Commission here.

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Sharia banks that fund terrorism

January 7, 2013

The connections between ethical finance and violent extremism

The relationship is simple.  Jihadists know they can trust sharia-compliant banks to maintain their anonymity, not ask too many questions, and facilitate high-dollar transactions on behalf of their terrorist groups.  Some Islamic financial institutions, such as National Commercial Bank and Islami Bank Bangladesh, have taken the relationship a step farther by donating a portion of their bank profits in the form of zakat as an act of corporate “charity” to terrorist organizations, or in the case of Al Rajhi, through private zakat donations of leading bankers.  Saudi Arabia and Iran are key bases for these activities, but this is a global phenomenon.  Here’s Money Jihad’s short list of the worst offenders:

Al Rajhi Bank:  The Saudi financial institution has served as the sharia bank of choice for the world’s jihadists, including East Africa embassy bomber Mamduh Mahmud Salim, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, and organizations like Indonesian Kompak and Al-Haramain.  Bank co-founder Sulaiman Al-Rajhi appeared on the infamous Golden Chain document of Al Qaeda financiers.  These allegations were reinforced by the recent U.S. Senate investigation into HSBC’s correspondent relationships.

Al Shamal Islamic Bank:  Osama Bin Laden co-founded the Al Shamal in Sudan and invested $50 million there.  During the 1990s and early 2000s, Al Qaeda distributed money to its cells through Al Shamal.  Funds passed through Al Shamal were used in preparation for terrorist attacks.

National Commercial Bank:  Offering conventional and sharia banking services, Saudi Arabia’s self-described first, largest, and most prominent bank is NCB.  Among other misdeeds, a Saudi audit revealed that NCB transferred $74 million in the 1990s as zakat through its charitable front organizations to Al Qaeda (see here, here, and here).  Khalid bin Mahfouz, the head of the bank, exploited libel laws to sue author Rachel Ehrenfeld in an effort to silence accusations about his role in financing terrorism.

Arab Bank:  This conventional bank in Jordan maintains a wholly-owned subsidiary (Islamic International Arab Bank PLC) that offers full-range sharia services.  Arab Bank has transferred money on behalf of Comité de Bienfaisance et de Secours aux Palestiniens (CBSP), a notorious French charity, to a known financial subunit of Hamas.  The Jordanian bank has paid out insurance benefits to families of suicide bombers for the Saudi Committee—another charity that funds Hamas.  Arab Bank has handled transactions for the Holy Land Foundation, whose leaders now sit behind bars for financing terrorism.  It has been the subject of American investigations, but the bank has consistently refused to turn over related documents to the U.S.

Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited:  IBBL, Bangladesh’s biggest sharia bank, has handled Wahhabi accounts to propagate radical Islam since its inception.  In 2011, the Bangladeshi home ministry intelligence revealed that 8 percent of the bank’s profits were diverted as corporate zakat to support jihad in Bangladesh.  One of the men on IBBL’s board of sharia advisors was arrested in connection with a terrorist attack against Bangladeshi police officers.  The U.S. Senate slammed British bank giant HSBC for maintaining relationships with IBBL despite evidence that it served terrorists like Shaikh Abdur Rahman of Jamatul Mujahideen Bangladesh and terror-funding Islamic charities like IIRO.  The Senate’s report also implicated HSBC for disregarding evidence of terror financing at another Bangladeshi sharia bank with whom it worked:  Social Islami Bank.

Bank Melli:  The Iranian Islamic bank sent “at least $100 million to an Iranian Revolutionary Guard branch that supports Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups, the Quds Force” between 2002-06.

Bank Saderat:  Another major Iranian sharia finance house, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned the rocket-funding Bank Saderat, stating that “The bank is used by the Government of Iran to transfer money to terrorist organizations, including Hizballah, Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. A notable example of this is a Hizballah-controlled organization that has received $50 million directly from Iran through Bank Saderat since 2001.”

Other culprits include Dubai Islamic Bank, which is active in both the U.A.E. and Pakistan, and Tadamon Islamic Bank.

So much for “ethical finance.”  For further developments, please continue reading Money Jihad, Shariah Finance Watch, and @moneyjihad on Twitter.

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Halal abbatoir gets £366K from taxpayers

December 19, 2012

A sharia-compliant slaughterhouse has been granted over one-third of a million pounds by the U.K. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to make Islamic burgers and hotdogs.

A more recent case in Australia of government-funded halal food production no longer seems so unusual.

But these cases should cause alarm for several reasons.  1)  Why are secular governments funding businesses that propagate Islamic (dietary) law?  2)  Such grants contradict the governments’ stated opposition to animal cruelty at non-stun abbatoirs.  3)  If there is such a high demand for halal food, and it’s such a growth industry, then we does it require a public subsidy to remain profitable?  4)  Have these halal butchers been properly vetted and will their books be audited to confirm how they’ll have spent the public funds that they’ve received?

From Eastern Daily Press earlier this fall:

Defra grants £366,000 to Halal food park in Banham

By Adam Gretton Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Up to 60 new jobs could be created in Banham after the government awarded more than £350,000 to a European Halal Food Park.

Officials at Defra defended the grant of £366,000, which is aimed to promote growth in rural areas.

The money comes from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and will be used to buy equipment to make burgers and sausages in the park’s meat processing facility.

A spokesman for the government department said the cash would not be spent at Simply Halal’s abattoir site in Banham, which slaughters animals according to Islamic law.

A Defra spokesman said: “We awarded business development funding to this company to improve its processes for making burgers and sausages, which would create 60 much-needed jobs in a very rural area as well as supporting Norfolk livestock farmers.”

“We would prefer to see all animals stunned before slaughter but respect the rights of the Jewish and Muslim communities to eat meat prepared in accordance with their religious beliefs.”

Defra has awarded the grant on the basis that the funding will not to be used in any part of the abattoir operation and that the company will create 60 new full-time jobs over the next three years.

The money will also be match funded by the company and the investment will support local farmers in an area where there are not many meat processing facilities, the spokesman added.

The funding was part of a £2m series of projects supporting four other meat processors developed by the East of England Development Agency before responsibility for RDPE funding transferred to Defra.

The European Halal Food Park at Moor Farm, in The Moor, Banham, near Attleborough, was approved two years ago to cater for the growing demand for Halal beef and sheep meat in the UK

The company’s website says that it “boasts the only dedicated 100pc non-stun abattoir for beef and lamb in the UK” with the Halal Burger Company opening in July and the Halal Sausage Company and the Halal Pet Food Company opening last month…