Posts Tagged ‘Belgium’

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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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Terror plotting news: suggested reading

April 7, 2016
  • Al Qaeda in Syria seizes weapons from Western-backed rebels… more>>
  • U.S. indicts 7 Iranians who hacked 46 American banksmore>>
  • Documents seized from ISIS show Turkey gave their fighters safe passage to Syria… more>>
  • Belgium’s alleged Muslim Brotherhood front is funded by Qatar Charitymore>>
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More Kouachi funding news: suggested reading

January 15, 2015
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula “chose the target, laid the plan and financed the operation” against Charlie Hebdo, according to AQAP chief Nasr al-Ansi… more>>
  • Azerbaijan Press Agency reports that the total value of weapons and ammo seized from the Kouachi brothers’ and Amedy Coulibaly was 27,000 euros… more>>
  • A weapons dealer in Belgium comes clean about selling $5,000 of arms to Coulibaly, which were later used by the Kouachi brothers in the Paris attacks… more>>
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The $20,000 behind the Paris attacks came “from abroad”

January 14, 2015

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) gave $20,000 to future Charlie Hebdo attacker Said Kouachi before he and his brother left Yemen in August 2011 according to CBS News yesterday (h/t El Grillo), which supports Money Jihad analysis of the Kouachis’ funding earlier this week. The report also adds credibility to claims by AQAP and Cherif Kouachi himself that the Charlie Hebdo attacks were planned, ordered, and financed by AQAP itself. The physical transfer of funds to Kouachi suggests that bulk cash smuggling (or the smuggling of other financial instruments) back to Europe was the method used rather than a wire, hawala transaction, or trade-based money laundering operation.

Relatedly, the Associated Press reported weapons for the Paris terrorist attacks came from abroad:

Several people are being sought in relation to the “substantial” financing of the three gunmen behind the terror campaign, said Christophe Crepin, a French police union official. The gunmen’s weapons stockpile came from abroad, and the size of it plus the military sophistication of the attacks indicated an organized terror network, he added.

“This cell did not include just those three, we think with all seriousness that they had accomplices, because of the weaponry, the logistics and the costs of it,” Crepin said. “These are heavy weapons. When I talk about things like a rocket launcher – it’s not like buying a baguette on the corner, it’s for targeted acts.”

The Belgian daily La Dernière Heure corroborates that several of the weapons acquired by the Kouachi brothers and Amedy Coulibaly were bought in Brussels.

The $20,000 figure reported by CBS is also consistent with an estimate over the weekend from counterterror expert Jean-Paul Rouiller. Bloomberg Businessweek reported:

…The Kalashnikov rifles and other weapons used by the attackers, Chérif and Saïd Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly, likely cost less than €10,000 ($11,800), according to Jean-Paul Rouiller, director of the Geneva Centre for Training and Analysis of Terrorism, a Swiss research group. Including the cost of Saïd Kouachi’s 2011 trip to Yemen, where he may have received training from al-Qaeda, the total price tag for the deadly attacks by the three men might have reached about $20,000…

Bloomberg went on to report that, “for what Rouiller describes as ‘such a low-cost operation,’ financing from abroad would be unlikely”—a theory that now seems to have been disproved by the evidence.

Regardless of where it is finally determined that the funds for the weapons originated, it should be kept in mind that the direct expenses of the Kouachi brothers and Amedy Coulibaly aren’t the only expenditures that matter. The weapons training camp in Yemen that both Kouachi brothers attended in 2011 wasn’t “self-financed” by individual AQAP recruits. The militants at the AQAP camp that trained the Kouachi brothers didn’t self-finance their own wages. The human smuggling network that helped sneak the Kouachi brothers across the border from Oman into Yemen isn’t self-financed. Anwar al-Awlaki, the terrorist imam with whom the Kouachi brothers met while in Yemen and possibly assigned them their marching orders, was not self-financed either. Not to mention that the Kouachi brothers’ basic cost of living in Paris probably wasn’t met by part-time work delivering pizzas and gutting fish at the market.

We will also discover over time that the websites, texts, and videos that the Kouachis and Coulibaly consumed, like most Islamic radical materials, are generally produced by entities backed by Wahhabi patrons. It is important to think of the bigger picture not just of the money it took to carry out the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher operations, but the amount of money it takes to sustain a terrorist infrastructure in Yemen (and beyond) that these sleeper cells count on for arms, training and guidance.

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World’s biggest Islamic charity branded as terrorist group by 2nd Middle East country

November 17, 2014

Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) has been designated as a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates, the second Middle Eastern country to do so within the past five months. In June, IRW was declared illegal by Israel for being a financial conduit to Hamas, and it was banned from operating in Israel and the West Bank.

The Birmingham, England-based IRW is the largest international Islamic charity in the world with a £155 million (240 million USD) budget in 2013.  IRW has over 280 employees and is active in more than 30 countries.  IRW maintains over a dozen affiliates throughout the world, each with multi-million dollar operating budgets of their own including Islamic Relief USA, which is the largest Islamic charity in America.

IRW accepted a $50,000 check from Osama Bin Laden in 1999, had a Gaza program coordinator who aided Hamas from 2005-06, received over £60K from an Al Qaeda front group from 2003-08, has leaders who are closely aligned with the global Muslim Brotherhood, and had programs staffed by Hamas personnel in the Palestinian territories as recently as this year.  Supporters of IRW have noted that the UK’s charitable regulator has not confirmed the evidence against IRW; however, a 2013 audit found that the Charity Commission is understaffed, too passive in its investigations, and is generally unfit for its regulatory duties.

UAE calls 15 Muslim groups in the West “terrorists”

In addition to the IRW designation, the UAE named 15 other Islamic charities and advocacy groups in the U.S. and Europe as terrorist entities:

  • Islamic Relief UK (the British affiliate of IRW)
  • Muslim Association of Britain (part of the U.K. Muslim Brotherhood)
  • Cordoba Foundation in Britain (once described by David Cameron as a Muslim Brotherhood front group)
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations (the self-described civil rights group which was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas-financing trial)
  • Muslim American Society (which was created by the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood)
  • Union of Islamic Organizations of France (a French Muslim group tied to the Muslim Brotherhood that profits from halal certification)
  • Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (an alliance financed by Gulf sources with ties to Hamas)
  • Islamische Gemeinschaft in Deutschland (the “main representative” of the Muslim Brotherhood in Germany)
  • Associazione Musulmani Italiani (Italian Muslim Association)
  • League of Muslims in Belgium (La Ligue des Musulmans de Belgique)
  • Muslim Association of Sweden (Sveriges muslimska förbund)
  • Islamic Society in Denmark (Islamsk Trossamfund)
  • Islamic Council Norway (Islamsk Rad Norge)
  • Finnish Islamic Association (Suomen Islam-seurakunta)
  • CANVAS in Belgrade, Serbia

The UAE designated over 80 groups overall, most of which are located in the Middle East.  The practical effect of the designations are limited, designed for “transparency” and to “raise awareness.”  In other words, the designations include not asset freezes, travel bans, or prohibitions on transacting business with the designated groups.

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Belgium stops welfare payouts to Islamist fighters

August 26, 2013

Good.  Just like Tamerlan Tsarnaev should have been denied public benefits after somehow coming up with enough money to travel to Russia in search of terrorist training.  Not only are their foreign activities evidence that they don’t need the welfare they are receiving, but this crackdown is also a signal that Western governments are wising up to the risks of funding Al Qaeda aligned groups through social welfare. 

Thanks to Gisele for sending this in from France 24:

Belgian jihadists in Syria stripped of welfare benefits

Two Flemish cities have decided to penalise presumed Belgian jihadists, currently fighting alongside rebels in Syria, by depriving them of the social benefits they enjoyed as citizens of Belgium.

By Marc DAOU

Belgian jihadists who travel to Syria to fight against President Bashar al-Assad’s troops are now being penalised by their home country’s government.

According to Belgian media reports on August 19, the Flemish cities of Antwerp and Vilvoorde have indeed deleted 29 such presumed jihadists from lists of individuals receiving social benefits from the state.

The official reason given for the move was that these people no longer lived at their registered address.

Investigations carried out by city authorities found that the presumed jihadists had been accessing their Belgian savings by withdrawing money from banks in Turkey, just across the Syrian border.

The action taken by the Flemish cities has also resulted, for example, in the suspension of 1,000-euro monthly welfare payments to the wife of one of the men, even though she still lives in Antwerp. The woman’s husband, Saïd M’Nari, reportedly left Belgium in May as a member of dissolved radical Islamist group Sharia4Belgium, which has been qualified as a terrorist organisation by legal authorities in Antwerp and accused by Interpol of sending fighters to Syria.

The official reason cited for the discontinuation of Mrs M’Nari’s welfare checks was that she reported that she was no longer seeking employment.

In Syria, thirty-three jihadists from Antwerp and Vilvoorde

Flemish daily newspaper “De Standaard” explained in its August 19 issue that in recent months Belgian police and intelligence services discovered that Belgians who had travelled to Syria to join the rebels were still receiving welfare payments.

In June, Bart de Wever, mayor of Antwerp and president of Flemish separatist party NVA, had threatened to punish the presumed jihadists.

“It would be unjust for these people to benefit from social programmes and use, for example, their unemployment payments to finance their fight in Syria,” he was quoted as saying on the website for Flemish news station VRT in June.

Beyond having their government aid revoked, the Belgian jihadists would also be prosecuted upon their return to Belgium, de Wever added…