Posts Tagged ‘Mecca’

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More Saudi contracts for bin Laden group

February 11, 2011

The bin Ladens are the masters of winning construction contracts at the holy sites of Islam.  A spirit of money, growth, and Islamism characterizes the family, and the bad apple didn’t fall far from the tree.  From ANSAmed (h/t GoV) on Feb. 3:

ROME — The contracts for the construction of four railway stations in Saudi Arabia were awarded yesterday to the Bin Laden group and the Saudi company Oger. The news was reported by sources in the Saudi Railway Board, quoted yesterday by newspaper Assharq Al Awsat.

The stations are part of the high-speed train project in the cities of Mecca, Medina, Jeddah and the Economic City of King Abdallah. The four stations will cost around nine billion Saudi riyal, the equivalent of 2.4 billion USD. The train project will link the holy city of Mecca to Medina, and Jeddah to the Economic City of King Abdallah, over a length of 450 km. The trains will move an estimated 20 million passengers per year.

The Bin Laden group will build the station of Mecca, the largest one, and the station of Medina, the smallest of the four.

Put your mind at ease.  We are told that the bin Laden group, the bin Laden family, and their Saudi royal friends have long since distanced themselves from Osama.  However, according to another source

Investigation by U.S. intelligence agencies and journalists of bin Laden family ties to Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden raised questions about the authenticity of the family’s claim of financial and emotional distance from the world’s most wanted terror leader. A number of experts like Vincent Cannistro, a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist, assert that while some members of the bin Laden family have disowned Osama bin Laden in a complete sense, other factions have not. Carmen bin Laden, a sister-in-law of Osama, told Der Spiegel that “Bin Ladens never disowned Osama; in this family, a brother remains a brother, no matter what he has done.

It would be unthinkable for public funds from a Saudi contract to enrich the bin Laden family and then be funneled to Osama.  Except that’s exactly the first thought that comes to most of our minds when we first read the article above.

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Hajj is cash cow for Saudis

December 8, 2009

This weekend Gulf News reported that the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca accounts for 7 percent of Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product.  That’s saying a lot considering Arabia’s massive, oil-enriched GDP.

So today’s post is not about jihad or terrorist financing.  Instead, its about the massive moneymaker that the hajj has become, particularly in terms of zakat payments to the Saudi government.

How does the hajj generate tax revenues for Saudi Arabia?  All the businesses and individuals that cater to the pilgrims (including airports, hotels, retailers, etc) are making income from the hajj.  Saudi Arabia, with its Islamic zakat tax, collects 2½ percent of individual Saudi wealth including anything that was generated from the hajj industry.  Here are the details:

According to a field study, the monetary value of activities related to the Haj and Umrah exceeds $30 billion (Dh110.2 billion).

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