Posts Tagged ‘International Islamic Relief Organization’

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Spotlight: terror finance in the Netherlands

February 24, 2014

A reader recently asked Money Jihad for information on terrorist financing based in the Netherlands.  An examination of Dutch charities, the banking sector, and crime rings is necessary to begin understanding how terrorists have used the Netherlands to fund their activities.

Dutch zakat

The majority of terrorist financing problems in the Netherlands over the past decade have originated from the Islamic charitable sector, particularly from Dutch Muslim groups purporting to provide “relief” in the Palestinian territories.

In 2003, the Dutch blocked Al-Aqsa Foundation assets in the Netherlands after discovering that Al-Aqsa funded terrorism in the Middle East.  A previous manager of Al-Aqsa in the Netherlands, Amin Abu Rashed, was recently described by a financial crimes expert as, “the principal representative of Hamas in Holland.”  Al Haramain Islamic Foundation, the Saudi-based terror front charity, was once active in the Netherlands as well.

Palestinian terror funding probably shifted after the Al-Aqsa closure to Internationale Steun Rechtstreeks Aan Armen (ISRAA).  ISRAA remains active in the Palestinian territories and Syria, and maintains tax-exempt status in the Netherlands.

In April 2011, the Netherlands froze the assets of the Dutch branch of the Turkish, pro-Hamas charity IHH.  A court later overturned the freeze, and IHH Nederland continues to operate in Holland.

Islamic Relief Nederland, a chapter of Islamic Relief Worldwide, is involved at least indirectly in the financing of terrorism through its parent organization. IRW has previously funded Hamas and Al Qaeda operatives.  Like ISRAA, IR Nederland is currently active in Syria.

Groups linked with the Muslim Brotherhood in the Netherlands have used domestic and foreign funds to finance their projects.  Dutch intelligence revealed in 2010 that Salafi networks exploit generous Dutch public benefit programs to fund their own activities.  Europe Trust Netherlands (ETN), a leading Dutch-Muslim group, has worked with Muslim Brotherhood leaders last year to arrange Gulf-based financing for the controversial Blue Mosque project in Amsterdam.

Banking sector threats

The large Dutch banking sector, which includes internationally known firms such as ING (which settled with U.S. authorities in 2012 over Cuban and Iranian sanctions violations), has probably been a factor in drawing some terrorist financiers and interlocutors to have a presence in the Netherlands.  After 9/11, it was reported that the Al Rajhi banking family, whose patriarch was named in the Golden Chain document for funding Osama Bin Laden, reportedly maintained “a large portion of their funding from the Netherlands. The family owns an investment company in Amsterdam, which has funded ‘islamic investments’ for well over a billion dollars.”

The Islamic finance sector in the Netherlands is also a source of concern.  Islamic finance has been documented as a sector marred by a lack of transparency and an increased risk of diverting profits toward terrorism as a form of corporate zakat.

Financial crimes and smuggling

Illicit transfers for terrorism based in the Netherlands have also taken place among criminal rings of various sizes.  Tamil Tiger terrorists have used the Netherlands as a funding base with front organizations operating there.  The trade in khat, a stimulant that is legal to import in the Netherlands, has been known for several years to fund the al-Shabaab terrorist organization in Somalia.  More recently, Sunni donors have transferred funds from the Netherlands for jihad in Yemen.  Meanwhile, a Dutch fugitive from Panamanian justice, Okke Ornstein, is subject to an INTERPOL red notice and is probably involved with laundering money for Hamas.

Lastly, it should be noted that former Dutch dependencies which have relaxed regulatory climates may also be susceptible to abuse for financial crimes.  Hezbollah allegedly maintains bank accounts in the Dutch Antilles.  Khalid Bin Mahfouz (the Saudi billionaire who sued Rachel Ehrenfeld for reporting that he funded terrorism), once parked money in the Dutch Antilles in a company called Pathfinder Investments, according to the Wall Street Journal.  Pathfinder funds were subsequently transferred to the Success Foundation, a Virginia-based front charity for the International Islamic Relief Organization, a Saudi-backed office which was closed after 9/11 for its role in financing Al Qaeda.

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IIRO returns to Bangladesh

March 2, 2010

The International Islamic Relief Organization, whose zakat and waqf projects have helped feul jihad around the world by funding Wahhabist indoctrination at orphanages, schools, and mosques, is said to have been effectively “controlled” in recent years.

The recent Forbes article about Al Qaeda finances pointed toward Saudi progress such as freezing the assets of Abd al Hamid al Mujil, a former executive director of an IIRO branch, who is also an associate of Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Muhammad.  Forbes also reports that the Saudi government is “restricting the transfer of IIRO funds outside of the kingdom.”

Saudi effectiveness gained more credibility in February when Bangladesh announced it would allow the IIRO to operate there again.  Bangladesh had banned the IIRO several years ago over it’s failure to disclose bank information and intelligence warnings by the American embassy.

(At the same time, the U.K.-based charity known as Islamic Relief, which is different from the IIRO, is leaving Bangladesh due to a “lack of government support” according to IRIN on Feb. 25.)

Will IIRO fill the humanitarian void in Bangladesh?  Let’s hope not.  Bangladesh is a poor nation with a surging jihadist population.  The presence of the IIRO indoctrinating poor refugees in the tenets of radical Wahhabi Islam would not bode well for the long-term stability of Bangladesh.

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Saudis whip up waqf whirlwind

January 19, 2010

The Saudi-based International Islamic Relief Organization, which has been linked to terrorism, is poised to launch six major waqf (Islamic endowment) projects to propagate Islam worldwide. Beneficiaries will include 370 mosques, 30 madrassas, and 720 imams.  From the Khaleej Times on Jan. 16:

JEDDAH — The International Islamic Relief Organisation-Saudi Arabia (IIROSA) is to launch six endowment (waqf) projects in Makkah at a cost of over SR470 million, with annual returns of about SR45 million that will be used to finance the organisation’s relief and development projects.

Adnan Khalil Basha, IIROSA secretary general, told a Press conference on Sunday that the organisation has already, through the help of a number of philanthropists, purchased the lands on which the endowments will be constructed.

He said the projects were approved by IIROSA’s general assembly during its fourth meeting early last year.

The projects are:

  1. Bayat Allah Waqf, which is an 11-storey housing and commercial building in Al Khalediyah district costing SR160 million. The proceeds of this project will be used to build 370 mosques in 18 different countries.
  2. The Orphans Waqf in Ajyad, which is a 30-storey hotel costing SR80 million. Its proceeds will be used to sponsor 265,000 orphans in 28 countries.
  3. The Educational Care Waqf in Al Misfalah, which will be a 22-storey tower costing SR60 million. Revenue from this endowment will be used to finance the activities of 30 educational institutions around the world.
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